Over time, the student body at Our Lady of the Rosary School changed. The Dayton, Ohio, Catholic, K-8 elementary school was serving more Latino students who are recent immigrants.
It was a shift other urban Catholic schools were seeing. And educators knew they had to adapt. Mary Walsh, City Connects’ Executive Director, was seeing the same population changes as well as the need for schools to keep up with students’ needs.
“Urban Catholic schools can and should provide a safe educational environment that is tailored to the cultural and linguistic needs and strengths of immigrant students and their families,” the report adds. Continue reading →
Students in City Connects schools tend to be stronger readers, according to a number of studies on City Connects’ impact that show similar, positive results. Here’s some of what the research has found:
• City Connects students receive better report card scores in reading
• Former City Connects students outperform peers from comparison schools on statewide tests in English Language Arts
• English language learners (ELL) experienced significantly larger benefits than non-ELL students.
• Students who experienced an additional year of City Connects performed better on statewide reading tests than students who missed out on that year.
• Immigrant students who experienced City Connects significantly outperformed immigrant students who never experienced the intervention on both reading achievement test scores.
• For Catholic school students who take the standardized Stanford 10 Achievement Test, the reading achievement growth rate over time was significantly higher for students in City Connects compared to their comparison school peers.
Adapting City Connects for preschool classrooms took careful thought.
“We had to ask how we could be true to our framework and adapt it for early childhood,” Patrice DiNatale, City Connects’ director of new practice, says, “We spent considerable amounts of time talking to early childhood experts.”
In 2009, City Connects received funding from the Better Way Foundation to implement its model in early childhood programs in Catholic schools.
In 2012, City Connects was set up at Catholic Charities’ Nazareth Child Care Center, a freestanding early child care center in Jamaica Plain. Currently, City Connects is in early education settings in five states, a total of 38 public school classrooms and 19 Catholic school classrooms. Continue reading →
“We wanted to keep the frameworks of City Connects, the core components,” Patrice DiNatale explains. She’s the director of new practice for City Connects. “How do we do that in a high school where they see six, seven teachers?”
City Connects’ core practice remained the same: assess the strengths and needs of every student at the high school and connect to them to services and enrichment opportunities. Site coordinators connect to students and talk to them — and they talk formally and informally with teachers. It’s a matter of getting a feel for a school, of knowing who might need a kind word and who needs a long talk or something to eat. Continue reading →
Juliano explains, “…we are now in the fourth year developing a network of providers and programs designed to make our schools stronger: to help our challenged students succeed and our traditional students get more out of their education — all the while fostering the kind of community cohesion that has always been part of the Catholic Central experience.”
Catholic Central prides itself on being able to help a range of students.
“As our community has become more diverse in recent years, Catholic Central has expanded its mission and admissions by making a faith-centered education available to a more diverse group of students,” Juliano writes.Continue reading →
As 2014 draws to a close, we extend our sincere wishes for a happy holiday! Looking back at 2014, we have many things to celebrate and have collected some highlights to share as 2015 approaches.
The impact of City Connects depends in large part on the many exceptional school, community, and philanthropic partners with whom we are honored to work. Together, we ensure that children receive the tailored services and enrichment opportunities they need to be able to learn and thrive in school.
Over the past year, these partnerships have supported our expansion. We’re currently providing optimized student support to 20,000 students in 62 sites across 3 states!
National Network Growth: 2014-15
This fall, City Connects launched in several new sites across New York City, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
The City Connects Evaluation Team, based at Boston College, has had a busy year. The most exciting development was the publication of a paper featuring some of our early findings in the the highly-regarded American Educational Research Journal. Several additional publications were released this year, including:
In 2015, with support from the I. A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, the Evaluation Team will be examining long-term City Connects student outcomes and taking a deeper dive into teachers’ perceptions of City Connects.
City Connects in the News
City Connects was featured in several news outlets this year, including:
Deserving of Celebration: Public Education Done Right July 3, 2014: “As we celebrate America’s independence … let’s also celebrate examples of comprehensive approaches to education that are doing it right and seeing great results. In Boston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American revolution, City Connects celebrates its fifteenth year of providing comprehensive supports to students by leveraging community assets and connecting them to each students’ unique needs.”
Impacting Academic Achievement through Student Support
June 24, 2014: “Our longitudinal research demonstrates that for children who attended City Connects schools in grades K–5, the beneficial effects continue into middle and high school. We can definitively say that the City Connects system of student support makes a positive and long-term difference in the lives of children.”
Learning Payoff Found for City Connects Program September 30, 2014: “City Connects helps schools organize and align services for students, including the ‘great middle’-students who are neither excelling enough to be tapped for gifted programs nor struggling enough to be identified for special education.”
Helping students with needs that extend outside the classroom November 24, 2014: “City Connects is based on the simple idea that a child distracted by pain, fear, or deprivation can’t possibly do as well in school as a child without those challenges. So City Connects tries to resolve as many of those issues as possible.”
Across both schools, in academic year 2011-2012, City Connects partnered with 75 community agencies. Between school- and community-based services, School Site Coordinators arranged for more than 2,300 services and enrichment opportunities for students!
City Connects is in its third year of a collaboration with Chaminade Julienne to adapt and pilot the City Connects model of student support at the high school level. This adaptation remains true to the City Connects core components while promoting a cutting-edge approach for college readiness and success; initial results are encouraging.
Satisfaction survey results show that 88% of teachers (K-12) report that they are satisfied with City Connects and 92% would recommend City Connects to a colleague.
2012 brought some exciting new findings at the elementary level in the area of social competency. Female students perceive a higher level of competency on reading and less victimization this year as compared to last year. Students in upper grades indicated a trend of less bullying than in past years.
Looking forward to 2013:
City Connects has been invited to expand to a K-12 Catholic school campus in Springfield, Ohio, and will be starting a planning phase beginning in January 2013.
Another exciting pilot effort: City Connects will be collaborating with a community college in Dayton to adapt the City Connects model of optimized student support at the community college level.
Across Boston Public Schools, in the 2011-12 school year, City Connects partnered with 250 community agencies to arrange more than 30,000 services and enrichment activities for students.
2012 brought some exciting new findings on the long-term benefits of City Connects for students after they have a City Connects elementary school, including significantly lower rates of chronic absenteeism in middle school and significantly lower rates of school dropout after the age of 16.
Results of our 2012 teacher survey in Boston were exceptionally positive, with 95% of teachers reporting satisfaction with City Connects and 95% reporting that they would recommend City Connects to a teacher in another school.
City Connects’ New Balance Foundation Health & Wellness curriculum continues to show positive results for children across all four units: nutrition, physical activity, social/emotional wellbeing, and healthy choices.
In the 2011-12 school year, CCCS linked students to more than 11,000 services and enrichment activities provided by 100 community agencies.
This year, CCCS partnered with a freestanding Early Childcare center for the first time, Catholic Charities’ Nazareth Child Care Center in Jamaica Plain. An Early Childhood adaptation of City Connects is being piloted at this center.
Analysis of CCCS’s work with Early Childhood populations (ages 3-7) suggests that students in Early Childhood programs in City Connects schools show significantly more growth in school readiness over a 3-year period than students in comparison schools.
Check back tomorrow for more “Year in Review” updates!