Enjoy the summer

The blog will return when it’s time to head back to school.

City Connects coordinators recognized from New York to Ohio for boosting student success

We are thrilled to celebrate the summer with a round up of awards from across the country highlighting the incredible work of City Connects’ coordinators, partners, and staff.

These awards are a reminder that getting the right resources to the right child at the right time can help students achieve academic success in school even when they face heartbreaking obstacles outside of school.

Will Osier, the coordinator at Boston’s Chittick Elementary School, won the Isabel G. Besecker Award from Boston Partners in Education for his hard work connecting students to Boston Partners’ mentors, a group of more than 500 adult volunteers who provide academic support. Continue reading

City Connects & August Scholars give students a summertime academic boost

“It used to take a whole lot of work on our end,” Justin Hajj says of finding the right students for August Scholars, a three-week summer program that combines academics, enrichment, and a personal approach that makes it easy for kids to achieve meaningful success.

The program is designed for children who can benefit from summertime academic support to avoid summer learning loss. In the morning, students focus on school work. Afternoons are devoted to fun: art, technology, and in recent years a drumming program. To measure impact, the program does pre- and post-program testing.

To recruit kids, August Scholars staff would visit schools and encourage parents to follow up. They would explain that the program was free. But often, that wasn’t enough, Hajj adds. He’s the Upper Division Head & Director of Advancement at The Learning Project Elementary School where August scholars is based. Continue reading

Health fair fun inspires families in Springfield

When Stephanie Sanabria, the City Connects coordinator at Springfield’s Early Childhood Education Center, looked at the needs of her students and their families, one topic that jumped out was health care.

“We have many students who have various diagnosis, and their families are also facing a number of health-related issues,” Sanabria said.

Sanabria’s response: Set up a health fair.

Amy Heberle, a Post-Doctoral fellow who works with City Connects’ evaluation team at the Boston College Lynch School of Education, explains: Continue reading

City Connects and Rosie’s Place: forging new ways to reach families

City Connects works hard to get the right service to the right child at the right time — and we also help our community partners make new models of service delivery successful.

One example is the highly respected, Boston-based organization Rosie’s Place.

Back in 1974, when Rosie’s Place opened its doors, it was the first women-only shelter in the United States. Rosie’s provided beds, compassion, and assistance to women who came through its doors.

Today, Rosie’s strategy has grown to include citywide outreach. Thanks to the Rosie’s Place Community Collaborative, Rosie’s staffers work everywhere. They go to homes and work in courthouses and at the Franklin Field public housing development in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. Continue reading

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