Reflecting on the past and forging a brighter future

For the new year, we are reflecting on where we’ve been and looking forward to what’s ahead. Writing in our current newsletter, Mary Walsh, the Executive Director of City Connects, says:

“From all of us at City Connects, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy new year. 2021 has been another challenging year in schools for students, for families, and for staff.”

“Despite many pandemic-related challenges, Coordinators are moving mountains to support children and families. We are implementing in an ever-expanding set of schools. City Connects is currently delivering supports, services, and enrichment opportunities to tens of thousands of students in the United States and in Ireland, and the U.S. Department of Education has featured City Connects in a number of its publications.”

This growth has happened in Massachusetts and in Indiana. City Connects has been praised in Ireland; and the Department of Education points to us as an example of an evidence-based model of integrated student support.

“Our Research and Evaluation team continues their work studying the evidence base for City Connects,” Walsh adds. This work has produced a number of publications, including an article published by the American Educational Research Association that highlights how we responded to the pandemic. Another article in the journal Improving Schools reports that school counselors and social workers who implemented City Connects had “high levels of satisfaction” using the model and saw “their work as impactful.” And Boston College’s Center for Optimized Student Support, where City Connects is based, released a policy brief on the effects of the pandemic in City Connects schools.

City Connects has also been featured in the media, including an article in The Economist about how Covid-19 is sparking education reforms; an opinion piece in The Boston Herald about working through the pandemic that was written by a City Connects Coordinator; an article published by the Brookings Institute on transformational integrated student supports; and an opinion piece on the role of integrated supports in addressing the mental health crisis in K-12 Dive, an education industry publication. 

We are also grateful to all our community partners, from philanthropies to community organizations to individual volunteers who help mobilize existing community resources to help students.

As Walsh explains, we are looking ahead “to a brighter 2022.” 

“Together, we are addressing the out-of-school factors that too often present barriers to children and families. We are grateful to all of you, and wish you a very happy year ahead.”

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