City Connects makes connections. We connect students and their families to tailored sets of resources. We connect schools to an array of community partners. And we connect what we are learning about integrating school and community resources to larger, national conversations.
Our work is a leading example of how schools can help students overcome hardships by providing “integrated student support” that weaves services and enrichments into the fabric of schools.
City Connects works with community partners to provide a wide array of services. Often this means helping students get necessities such as dental careor beds. But sometimes our community partners also provide inspiring role models.
That’s the case withStrong Women, Strong Girls, a nonprofit organization based in Boston and Pittsburgh. The organization provides school girls with college-age mentors, and the mentors can themselves be mentored by career women.
The college mentors visit the schools once a week to meet with a group of girls.
“Each mentoring session, we highlight one strong woman,” Madison Banker explains. Banker is a college mentor, part of a group of students from Northeastern University who meet with Boston students. Mentors come from a number of colleges including Tufts University, Harvard University, Boston College, and Simmons College Continue reading →
School climate ismaking headlines – and peaking the interest of researchers and policymakers. So earlier this month, we caught up with Anastasia Raczek and asked her to explain what school climate is and how it relates to City Connects’ work.
“School climate means lots of different things to different people. But we’re beginning to get more specific about it, and we do know a lot about what it seems to lead to,” Raczek said. As the Associate Director of Evaluation & Research, she helps lead an independent team that works to evaluate and improve City Connects. The team is based in the Center for Optimized Student Support, part of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.
In December, Raczek spoke at an event on school climate that was organized by the Rennie Center and co-hosted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MassINC, Boston University, and Boston College. Conference participants discussed the connection between school climate and student success. A related policy brief is posted here. Continue reading →
We know that many first-generation immigrant children who are new to the country face challenges, Dearing explained during the webinar, which was hosted by the Foundation for Child Development. Poverty presents “multi-pronged risks for immigrant children at nearly every level of context in which their lives are embedded.. whether we’re talking about neighborhoods or the schools or the families or the homes in which they are living.” Many of these students can also struggle in school because they are also English Language Learners. Continue reading →
We are happy to announce thatResults for America, a national nonprofit, has added Mary Walsh and City Connects to its Moneyball for Government Team, a list of leaders and organizations that are using data to solve problems.
Sports fans know that “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” is a book by Michael Lewis. It tells the stories of how the Oakland A’s, a baseball team with a limited budget, gave up on conventional wisdom and started using a statistical approach to evaluate and recruit players. Data, in other words, helped the A’s become a better team and win games.
In the same vein, Results for America uses its “Moneyball for Government” designation to encourage “governments at all levels to increase their use of evidence and data when investing limited taxpayer dollars. By playing Moneyball, we can improve outcomes for young people, their families and communities.”Continue reading →
“Finally, finally, finally, the whole child is back on the agenda and that’s very, very exciting for all of us in this room,” Mary Walsh said last week at City Connects’ annual Community Partner Breakfast.
Educators and community leaders attended the breakfast, which was held at Suffolk University Law School. The theme was “Supporting the Whole Child.”
The keynote speaker was Liz Walker, a former television news anchor and currently the Senior Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church. She was followed by a panel discussion that featured four school and community partners who work with City Connects.
For Walsh, the breakfast was a chance to rally the troops – the teachers,the City Connects coordinators, and the community partners who provide an array of services — and explain how their work is helping Boston’s students.Continue reading →
“We’ve been doing continuous improvement work for one and a half years,” Jessica Petrie explains. Petrie is the Continuous Improvement Specialist at City Connects.
Continuous improvement is the demanding work that boils down to two questions: How is City Connects doing? And, how can it be better?
“We are constantly learning,” says City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh. “Continuously improving the practice allows us to identify challenges, and turn them into opportunities so that we can better serve our students, our teachers, our schools.”
For City Connects, the first continuous improvement project started organically when the implementation team noticed that some schools weren’t meeting benchmarks for individual student reviews or ISRs. Continue reading →
The event’s central question: What do we know about how can schools “nurture students’ intellectual progress” and address “the substantial non-school stressors that often interfere with learning?”
As it turns out, we know quite a bit. Research continues to show that addressing children’s out-of-school problems helps them succeed in school.
The conversation considered a variety of programs that help students “from community schools to Integrated Student Support models” – and how these programs meet students’ academic, emotional, and physical needs? Continue reading →