City Connects is in the news. An article in EdSurge and a brief in Education Dive tell stories of how we get the right services to the right child at the right time.
EdSurge’s article – “Meet the Support Network Addressing Out-Of-School Challenges for Every Student” — focuses on Boston’s Medell Elementary School where a kindergartener was missing a lot of school. The child’s teacher reached out to Madeline Gillespie, the school’s City Connects Coordinator, and Gillespie took action.
As EdSurge explains:
“Gillespie spoke with the girl’s mother and learned they were living in a shelter and had no way to get to school. It was less than a mile away, so the family wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for free transportation. But shelters are a special exception—students are eligible to ride on a school bus. Equipped with this information, Gillespie helped set up regular pickups and drop offs, and just like that, attendance improved.”
Building relationships is also essential:
“Naturally, a big part of the job is building relationships with families. Where some families quickly learn to ask for help from a coordinator, others are more reticent. Maybe, after months of conversation and familiarity, a parent might finally feel comfortable enough to approach Gillespie about a precarious housing situation on the verge of coming to an end or a charity or assistance program they’ve heard about, but don’t know how to apply to.”
And these interventions produce results:
“…students in schools that used City Connects had higher report card grades than comparable peers. Additional research by Walsh reveals notable gains for English language learners and immigrant students, and overall lower rates of chronic absenteeism associated with the program. She has also linked exposure to the program in elementary school with higher standardized test scores in middle school, when compared with peers who have not been exposed to City Connects.”
Education Dive’s brief – “Nonprofits key to helping districts bridge poverty-related achievement gaps” – links to the EdSurge article and looks at City Connects and other organizations that provide integrated student support:
“Programs that connect low-income students and their families to community services can be vital links that help bridge poverty-related achievement gaps.”
For more general education news, check out past editions of The Weekly Connect.