The Weekly Connect 6/18/18

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

English learners have made progress in reading and math, a study shows.

• Ohio officials consider eliminating letter grades on report cards.

• Using storytelling and literature to help students deal with their emotions.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

Confidence, competence, and care: building social-emotional skills in Minneapolis

When C.J. McGowan became the City Connects Coordinator at Ascension Catholic School, she saw students who had many needs — and also many strengths.

“I saw a Catholic school in the north side of Minneapolis, which is the toughest side of the city, probably of the whole Twin Cities in terms of crime and poverty,” McGowan said recalling her early days at Ascension.

“There were a handful of kids who had gone through trauma. The trauma of immigrating. The trauma of being poor and not being able to afford food on a regular basis. There were academic needs and some intense behavioral health needs. And yet, there were a ton of resilient kids doing their best and doing pretty well.”

She knew that — in addition to addressing students’ comprehensive needs — building on strengths and generating feelings of competence and confidence could change the way these students saw themselves as learners and could help them thrive. So that is what she did. Continue reading

Leaping over language barriers at the Kenny School

“We’ve been talking a lot about how our parent council is great, but not reflective of our school population,” Danielle Morrissey says. She’s the City Connects Coordinator at the Thomas J. Kenny elementary school in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

“We were trying to strategize around how to bring in other families that aren’t involved in parent council — and about what the barriers might be, and language came up a lot.”

Language diversity is part of the fabric at the Kenny, where 35 percent of the school’s population speaks a language other than English. So Emily Bryan, the school’s principal, decided to reach out to more families by holding coffee hours in different languages. Morrissey helped organize and facilitate them. Continue reading

A backpack and hope: third graders in Brockton help homeless students

While we are proud of the work that City Connects coordinators do to help homeless students, we are even more proud of the work that third graders at Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton, Mass., are doing to help their peers.

The third graders packed backpacks full of school supplies for other Brockton children who are in the third and fourth grade and are homeless.

“Remember miracles can happen. Dream big. Work hard,” one Trinity Catholic third grader wrote in a note to a child who will receive a backpack. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/28/18

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

How being read to affects children’s brains.

The socioeconomic differences that impact summer learning loss.

Group therapy helps fifth graders build resilience.

Schools in Indiana work to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

High school graduation rates by state.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

City Connects students in Salem give back to their community

Our approach of connecting students to the right services at the right time also creates opportunities for students to give back to their communities.

That’s what happened in Salem, Mass., when Brad Maloon the City Connects coordinator at the Collins Middle School worked with his colleagues to put together a team of students and staff who participated in the May 12th, 5K Walk for HAWC.

HAWC is a Salem-based nonprofit that provides free services to victims of domestic abuse and partner violence. Continue reading

Community partner breakfast in Minnesota: eat, play, connect

City Connects is growing in Minnesota. But the program isn’t just getting bigger — serving over 2,000 students across 10 schools with 13,284 services — it’s also getting better connected.

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The heart of City Connects’ model is connecting children to services. But again and again, we’ve seen that this also means forging connections among adults. That might mean connecting an immigrant parent to a health provider or having a funder hear from a principal.

To illustrate and capitalize on the power of these connections, Minnesota Program Manager Laurie Acker organized a community partner breakfast where she skipped the usual PowerPoint presentation and instead asked all the attendees to play a version of the classic kids’ game, Connect Four, a name that also acknowledges City Connects’ fourth anniversary in Minnesota. Continue reading

City Connects helps a community school in the Bronx Shine A Light

Community School 211, a pre-K to eighth grade school in the Bronx run by the Children’s Aid Society, has woven City Connects into a successful strategy for improving students’ attendance — and won an award for its efforts.

The school has seen its chronic absenteeism rate drop by almost 8 percent and its average daily attendance rate go from 92.9 percent last year to 94.1 percent this year. Chronic absenteeism is often defined as missing 10 percent of school days — or more– in a year. Missing this much school puts students at risk of having poor academic outcomes and dropping out.

Last month, C.S. 211 won a Shine a Light award from New York City’s Department of Education for their attendance improvement efforts. This is the result of four years of continuous improvement to ensure that students are in school every day. It’s exciting recognition of the vision, teamwork, and systematic effort it takes to boost attendance and help students fulfill their academic potential. Continue reading