City Connects is based on a powerful principle: Help students thrive in school, particularly in high-poverty areas, by addressing the out-of-school barriers that students face.
We do this by looking at four domains: academics, social-emotional well being, physical health, and family.
One key outcome of this work is that students do better academically. As our 2022 Progress Report explains, research findings show that:
“At the elementary level, students enrolled in schools implementing City Connects experience better academic outcomes than their peers, including improved effort, better grades, better attendance, and improved performance on state tests. In middle and high school, students who previously experienced City Connects in elementary school outperform comparison peers on indicators of educational success and life chances, including positive impact on retention in grade, chronic absenteeism, and high school dropout.”
We see this academic success in many City Connects schools. One example is Avondale Meadows Middle School in Indianapolis, Ind..
“I just try to figure out where the needs are,” Chatarra Moreland, a City Connects Coordinator at Avondale Meadows, said last week in a Fox 59 news story. “I put resources in place for the family to try to eliminate needs or barriers they may have to receiving a great education at Avondale.”
The Fox 59 story adds:
“City Connects also engages students in new activities like robotics, which is quite the passion for Jayme Morris.
“ ‘I like to learn how to put things together and talk with different people I don’t usually talk with,’ Morris said. ‘So that kind of got me out of my comfort zone.’
“For her mom, it is a clear chance for a brighter future”
Another example is Ana, a third grade girl featured in the 2022 Progress Report. A whole class review found that, “With respect to academics, math and writing were areas of strength for Ana at the start of the school year. Reading was identified as an area of need, and at times, Ana demonstrated low frustration tolerance in class when she was confronted with an academic challenge.”
“Ana’s City Connects Coordinator initially referred her to a mentoring program, but the waitlist was extensive after the start of the pandemic. As an alternative, she was referred to a virtual after-school tutoring program, which could simultaneously support Ana’s academic needs and foster appropriate social connections with peers and adults. Over time, it became clear that the tutoring program successfully served this dual purpose for Ana.”
“By the end of the school year, Ana’s academic performance had improved across subject areas and she was taking a great deal of pride in her school work. She is now eager to talk about her strong grades with school staff as well as her after-school tutors – and she is receiving positive attention as a result. Ana is also eager to embrace academic challenges rather than becoming frustrated.”
Behind these stories is the City Connects holistic recipe of building strong relationships with students, families, and community partners to provide a customized set of services, supports, and enrichment opportunities to help students thrive in school and in life.