While Coordinators bring the power of City Connects to students, it is academic researchers at Boston College who share the story of City Connects at conferences, so that others can learn from what we do.
“An advantage of City Connects being located at a university is access to researchers who can evaluate the program’s impact,” Anastasia Raczek says of City Connects, which is a part of the Center for Optimized Student Support. Raczek is the Associate Director of Research & Evaluation of the center, which is at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
This spring, researchers have shared five presentations about City Connects at education research conferences in the United States and Canada.
The research was conducted by both Boston College professors and graduate students.
“Graduate education is a vital part of our mission, and we’re excited about the research our students have done and shared at these conferences,” Raczek says. “Because they come from different departments – education, measurement and statistics, developmental psychology, counseling psychology, and curriculum studies — they bring a diverse range of professional viewpoints.”Continue reading →
One of City Connects’ longstanding community partners is Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that collects new and nearly new clothes and distributes them to children in need. The organization has worked with City Connects for more than nine years.
In the fall of 2017, Cradles to Crayons reached out to City Connects and asked us to help out with a pilot program that they had in mind. Cradles to Crayons wanted to achieve a higher level of services by creating a new, seasonal delivery schedule for its KidsPacks – the bags full of clothes, coats, shoes, boots, books, and school supplies. The organization wanted to launch the program in City Connects schools, building on our existing relationship.
The pilot started at the beginning of this school year. In close coordination with our Coordinators, it serves more than 100 students across five Boston public schools. Students receive a back-to-school backpack with school supplies in September — and three more deliveries during the year containing clothing for fall, winter, and spring.
The goal of having these predictable deliveries is to create a system that’s better able to anticipate families’ needs and reach more students.Continue reading →
“Gillespie spoke with the girl’s mother and learned they were living in a shelter and had no way to get to school. It was less than a mile away, so the family wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for free transportation. But shelters are a special exception—students are eligible to ride on a school bus. Equipped with this information, Gillespie helped set up regular pickups and drop offs, and just like that, attendance improved.”Continue reading →
Jordan Lawson thought he was going to be a clinical psychologist.
But after learning more about the field, he discovered psychometrics – and the idea of using statistics for social good.
“Statistics is interesting in and of itself, but sometimes, people, myself included, can lose sight of the fact that it’s just a tool that could be used for good,” Lawson says.
Now he’s at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development where he is a doctoral student in the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment Department and a research associate who is helping to address one of City Connects’ data analysis challenges. Continue reading →
As Professor James Comer of Yale University’s Child Study Center said duringa 1995 lecture, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”
That’s why City Connects Coordinators are so important. They get to know their schools, and they build relationships that help students learn, and that help families thrive. From thewhole class reviews to casual chats in the hallway, coordinators are always connecting.
They get to know every child and work together with teachers and other school staff to gather the knowledge of those who know the student best.
As Jaymie Silverman, the coordinator at the John Winthrop Elementary School in Boston explains: “Relationship building is the foundation of all of this work.”Continue reading →
In schools across the country, students face barriers that make it tough for them to thrive in school, to do well academically, socially, and emotionally. One student could be hungry. Another might need a winter coat. A third may have witnessed violence on the street or at home. A fourth might need a tutor. A fifth might be struggling to learn English.
The list goes on, and no one school can meet all these needs on its own.
Walsh is the Director of the Center for Optimized Student Support, (COSS) part of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, which co-hosted the conference with the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy. The COSS also houses City Connects.
That comprehensive approach, Walsh explained, means meeting the needs of the whole child by providing integrated student support, whichCOSS defines as “a comprehensive, coordinated and school-based effort to connect students to specific district supports, enrichments and services.”Continue reading →