The City Connects conference, Optimized Student Support: Best Practices for Schools & Community Agencies, drew representatives from 22 school districts, 5 government agencies, and more than 35 community-based agencies to Boston College on Friday, Nov. 5. Our speakers delivered a day packed with information about student support–check back soon for our their slides and video of the conference presentations. Thank you to all of our attendees for making the day a success!
Registration is now open for City Connects’ first-ever conference, Optimized Student Support: Best Practices for Schools & Community Agencies, held at Boston College on Friday, November 5.
With the support of the New Balance Foundation, the conference will provide a forum for presentations, discussions, questions, and networking as we address critical ways to optimize support for students and ensure all children come to school ready to learn and thrive.
Recent dialogue has acknowledged the importance of this core function of schools and has raised some challenging questions. Can schools provide quality instruction and at the same time offer comprehensive student support? How can we best address students’ strengths as well as needs? What characterizes effective partnerships with community agencies? How can we ensure breadth across academic, social-emotional, health, and family domains?
We believe that the promising and exciting work of recent years points the way not only to optimizing student support in schools and districts, but to innovative ways of demonstrating that it is essential to student achievement and thriving. We look forward to sharing evidence-based best practices among educators, administrators, researchers, community agency leaders, and student support professionals.
Registration is free but space is limited.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the applicants for the “Investing in Innovation,” or i3, grants who achieved high ratings but were not funded. We were pleased to learn that City Connects was the next-highest-rated proposal (after the awardees) in our category of validation grants for growing programs with evidence of success–see a list of proposals and their scores here. Of the 1,700 applicants, 49 were awarded grants, 15 of those in the validation category.
In an announcement, the Department of Education said it is planning to convene a summit for the promising applicants who were highly rated but not funded “in order to continue to support innovation and evidence based practice . . . and highlight these high quality programs at a forum at which potential funding partners may support efforts that the department is unable to directly support at this time.”
The administration has requested an additional $500 million in funding to continue the i3 program in FY 2011.
For more information:
Dr. Mary Walsh, City Connects’ executive director and the Kearns Professor of Urban Education & Innovative Leadership at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, was featured in a Q&A on EdReformer today. EdReformer is an online community of advocates, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors seeking to improve student learning worldwide.
For more information:
City Connects was featured in today’s Public Education Network Newsblast:
“In a profile of the Boston program City Connects on his Public School Insights blog, Claus von Zastrow writes that a rigorous study by Boston College, which runs the program, “tells a pretty stunning story.” City Connects (CCNX) exists in 12 Boston elementary schools, and works to link each child to a “tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services located in the community.” The beneficial impact of CCNX on student growth in academic achievement (across grades 1 to 5) was on average approximately three times the harmful impact of poverty. By the end of grade 5, achievement differences between CCNX and comparison students indicated that CCNX intervention moves students at the 50th percentile up to or near the 75th percentile, and students at the 25th percentile up to or near the 50th. For multiple outcomes, the treatment effects were largest for students at greatest risk for academic failure. After grade 5, the lasting positive effects of CCNX intervention can be seen in middle-school state standardized test scores, ranging from approximately 50 percent to 130 percent as large as negative effects of poverty. Von Zastrow conducts an interview with two of the program’s leaders, who explain that at root, the program ensures that already existing services actually reach students previously under-served. Implementing the program by putting a support person and the model into schools costs a little less than $500 per student per year.”
Learn more about our results on our website.
For the seventh year running, the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force is gathering 800 fourth through sixth graders from Boston public schools at a Youth Summit at Boston College. The summit culminates the substance abuse unit in the City Connects-New Balance Foundation health and wellness program, which is conducted by CCNX health coordinators.
The Youth Summit, developed in partnership with the Task Force, CCNX, and the Boston Police Department, aims to arm students with the necessary information and skills that will empower them to make positive choices about drugs and alcohol. The students will hear first-hand about the perils of substance abuse from other youth in recovery and engage in interactive activities to learn more about the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
According to the Health of Massachusetts report from the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services, alcohol abuse in children and teens is a strong predictor for addiction problems in adulthood. The prevalence rates of alcohol use, binge drinking, and illicit drug use are all higher in Massachusetts than the national average. Learning positive choices early is essential; the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that children who began drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol at some point in their lives.