From the archives: City Connects in Ireland

While the blog is on summer vacation, we’re sharing past posts about the many ways City Connects helps students thrive. 

This week’s roundup looks at how City Connects has expanded into Ireland. 

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Ireland launches City Connects
City Connects Blog, June 11 2020

Often City Connects grows because of, well, connections. That’s what happened when Una Shannon came from Ireland to Boston College to be a postdoctoral fellow. Shannon learned about City Connects and shared our work with Eugene Wall, the president of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, as well as sharing it with ministers from the Irish National Government.

The result: Irish educators are planning to launch a City Connects pilot program this fall in 10 Dublin schools. 

“It strikes me that any ‘school person’ who hears about City Connects tends to have an ‘aha’ moment,” Shannon says. She’s a former teacher who earned her bachelor’s degree from Mary Immaculate College. “It just makes sense to support the whole child, to have a strengths-based perspective, and to have a systemic, systematic, and sustained approach to student support that’s in rhythm with school life.” 

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City Connects in Ireland: an update
City Connects Blog, December 16, 2021

In the middle of the pandemic and amidst school closures, City Connects launched a pilot program in Dublin in the fall of 2020. Today the program is running in ten schools in Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC), a district that was created to spark social and economic regeneration in an area that is addressing the familiar urban challenges of poverty, crime, and untapped potential. 

Earlier this month, at an event in Dublin’s Larkin Community College where NEIC released its 2021 Progress Report, City Connects won warm recognition for its work in Ireland from the country’s Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. 

 Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheál Martin attended the event and said of the work being done in the district, “The ability to create innovation and innovative programs to augment work already underway in this area is key to progress.”

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Talking about City Connects, in Ireland
City Connects Blog, February 10, 2022

Now that City Connects is running in 10 schools in the North East Inner City (NEIC), district in Dublin, Ireland, we’re proud to see our evidence-based model of integrated student support being adapted to the local culture and shared with the public.

One example is a new video designed to help parents learn about City Connects and how it supports students, which is posted above. The video features Program Manager Gerard Cullen and some of Dublin’s Coordinators, and it provides a front seat view of our work in Dublin.

As Cullen explains in the video, “One of our key beliefs is that every child has strengths, and our job is to find out what that strength is, build on it, while also addressing any needs the child might have, so they can succeed in school. And City Connects is not just for the child with trauma or not just for the child experiencing difficulties, either at school or at home. City Connects is for every child attending one of our partner schools.”

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Strengthening ties between City Connects and Ireland — as Irish schools prepare to welcome Ukrainian refugees 
City Connects Blog, March 25, 2022

As Ireland prepares to welcome Ukrainian refugees and increases its investments in student support, City Connects staff met last week with Irish Minister of Education Norma Foley to share details about our partnership with schools in Dublin. 

Mary Walsh, City Connects Executive Director, and her team explained more about City Connects, sharing how its unique features make it effective and how the program is being implemented in Ireland.

We are particularly proud that Foley and her team were also able to visit Boston’s John Winthrop Elementary School, a City Connects school where coordinators have built strong relationships and helped students facing homelessness and the challenges of the pandemic.

“We were just so thrilled to get the opportunity to see the work on the ground today,” Foley said during a discussion about City Connects held at Boston College later in the day. “It was a wonderful example of what it should be and how it actually is operational.”

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