To cope with the effects of the coronavirus on students and families in Minnesota, City Connects Coordinators started with the basics: making sure families had access to food, housing, and emergency child care.
Coordinators made phone calls and sent out surveys to assess needs. They worked with restaurants that were donating free lunches. They worked withSheridan Story, a local nonprofit organization, that sends food home in backpacks.
“At this point, all our families can access food,” Laurie Acker, Minnesota’s City Connects Program Manager, says.
But that was just step one.
Step two was becoming Internet-ready. Coordinators made sure that students had Internet access and laptops. That meant connecting families to free municipal WiFi or helping them sign up for low-cost plans so their children could participate in distance learning. One coordinator also set up a website with resources for families. Coordinators are also organizing social emotional skills groups online and creating related videos. And they are running Student Support Team meetings (where individual students’ needs are reviewed) online.Continue reading →
The event is “Ohio’s premier continuing education program — delivering practical solutions to help school district governance teams improve student learning and achievement.”
We attended the conference’s trade show and shared the work we’ve been doing in Ohio, where City Connects has been implemented atthe K-8, thehigh school, andthe college levels.
As we’ve blogged, City Connects was recently written into Ohio’s state budget as one model that schools can use to provide students withintegrated student support – the opportunities and services they need outside of school so that they can thrive in school.
“We’re proud and excited to share our work with Ohio educators,” Mary Walsh, City Connects’ Executive Director says. “And we hope that as more teachers and administrators learn about what we do, they will look to enlist us as trusted partners. We know that poverty can make it difficult for children to do well in school. But we also know how to address these challenges so that students and teachers can focus on the kind of learning that leads to long-term academic success.”
Ohio has made crucial budget progress that includes City Connects.
Last May,when we blogged about Ohio, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted had visited Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton to see City Connects in action.
“We believe that this is a replicable model that can be used in public schools and other schools across the state,” Husted toldWHIO Television. “And we want the new money that’s being put into the budget to serve these students to go to programs like this.”
At the time, Ohio’s Legislature was considering investing $550 million to provide “wraparound services” in the state’s schools, and City Connects provided a local example of how investment in evidence-based approaches positively impacts Ohio students.Continue reading →
Fifth grade teacher Julie Roberts has worked at Catholic Central Elementary School in Springfield, Ohio, for more than 20 years. We recently asked her about how City Connects works in her school. Here’s what she said.
“To have someone who can reach out to find resources for kids who need extra help or enrichment opportunities is extremely helpful, because that’s not something that as teachers we’re used to doing very often.”
Enrichment is important because, “It can really help a student bloom if they find something that they’re good at that they haven’t been exposed to before.”
“At first, before we actually did the whole class review, I thought oh my gosh, how am I going to spend all morning on each student? But getting to talk about each student really opened my eyes to things I might not have been aware of, like personal or family challenges.Continue reading →
It’s a new school year, so City Connects Coordinators are reinforcing existing relationships and building new ones.
At Catholic Central Elementary School, in Springfield, Ohio, where City Connects’ Coordinator Josh Richardt works, he tells students in pre-k through fifth grade, “I am so glad you’re in school today.”
There is also a sign hanging in the hallway that says, “You belong here.”
These messages weave students, especially new ones, firmly into the school’s fabric. And they build on a key finding from the developmental sciences: Relationships matter.Continue reading →
It’s budget season in Ohio, and last week, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and other state officials, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, visited Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton to see City Connects in action.
Husted is encouraging his state to increase its investment in students’ success.
“We believe that this is a replicable model that can be used in public schools and other schools across the state,” Husted tellsWHIO Television. “And we want the new money that’s being put into the budget to serve these students to go to programs like this.”
“The visit comes as legislators are considering a new $550 million allocation in the state budget to provide similar ‘wraparound services’ to Ohio schools,”the Dayton Daily News reports. “That budget has already passed the Ohio House, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted advocated for the plan Friday.”Continue reading →