City Connects expands in Indianapolis, thanks to federal funding

We’re excited to announce that City Connects is growing in Indiana.

City Connects launched in the state in 2018, and we expanded there this past fall. Now we’re growing even more.

Last month, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener issued a press release announcing the launch of City Connects in Marion County, “an initiative that will invest $7.5 million in 12 public schools on the city’s Far Eastside over the next three years.”

Public radio station WFYI reports:

“Starting next year, around a dozen site coordinators will be hired and online service hubs set up to strengthen support services for the more than 3,700 students attending the selected schools.”

“Food insecurity, safe housing and employment have been struggles that have plagued the eastside of Indianapolis and impacted students’ education.”

WFYI adds that the program will be locally managed by the City Connects Technical Assistance Center at Marion University’s Center for Vibrant Schools. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

As Mayor Hogsett points out, “City Connects has a proven track record of success, and thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, we are able to realize a vision in which opportunities are limitless, no matter the out-of-school challenges students face.”

President Elsener adds, “Every school, every teacher, and every counselor require additional support to fully meet the needs of their students — it is not an undertaking intended to be done alone. Through the City Connects Technical Assistance Center at Marian University, our Site Coordinators provide one-on-one support and additional resources for educators to ensure the needs of each student are being addressed through a personalized plan.”

And Indiana Public School (IPS) Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson adds, “Through City Connects, our IPS students and several of our schools on the Far Eastside will have not just dedicated access to these resources, but a clear pathway to pursue their goals and their dreams, free of any limitations or barriers.”

Expanding evidence-based programs of integrated student support like City Connects is an essential tool for helping students succeed both during and after the pandemic. And the investment of ARPA’s Covid relief funding means these federal dollars will go to work in lasting ways because participating in City Connects has long-term benefits from higher standardized test scores to higher graduation rates.

“In Indiana, the City Connects Technical Assistance Center and our City Connects schools are setting an example that others can follow,” Mary Walsh, City Connects’ Executive Director, says.

“We want all schools to ask the same question: How do we get the right resources to the right child at the right time? We know that this can transform children’s opportunities to learn and thrive. That’s why we’re working to expand our network.

“One of the most important things the country can do is invest in its students’ success.”

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