The Weekly Connect 6/24/19

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

New research suggests that some teachers improve students’ attendance.

Boston’s School Committee votes to eliminate middle schools.

The suicide rate among adolescents is at its highest point since 2000.

Michigan’s teachers are not as diverse as the state’s students.

To read more, click on the following links.

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One secret to City Connects’ success: fidelity

One factor that makes City Connects so powerful is its fidelity system.

This is the work of ensuring that the City Connects model is implemented consistently in all the schools across the five states where our Coordinators provide integrated student support.

“When City Connects began to expand into new cities and states, we identified the need to be able to measure whether City Connects looked the same across all our sites,” says Jessica Petrie, the Continuous Improvement Specialist at City Connects.

Based on the research of the late Carol T. Mowbray, a professor of psychology and social work at the University of Michigan, the City Connects team drew on the City Connects practice manual to devise a fidelity system that was rolled out to the field four years ago.

The system looks at seven core components of the City Connects practice: Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/17/19

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

State leaders in Ohio see City Connects as a model that could be expanded.

A simple change to address absenteeism.

Holding parents accountable for their children’s bullying.

In the United States, 3 million students do not have Internet service at home.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Sharing what we know at the ASCA Annual Conference

City Connects is going to the ASCA Annual Conference, which is being held in Boston from June 29 to July 2, 2019. ASCA is the American School Counselor Association.

City Connects will have a booth at the event, and we hope readers of this blog will come see us.

In addition, Lianzhe Zheng, a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, will speak at a session called “Positive School Climate for Immigrant Students” which will cover how the challenges that these students face are associated with mental and physical health problems that can hurt their academic performance.

“At the Lynch School, sharing what we know is an essential part of our work. And City Connects is excited to have a booth at this year’s ASCA Conference in Boston” said Ryan Hand, City Connects’ Communications Manager. “We are looking forward to spreading the word about our evidence-based practice for school counselors, and we invite any attendees of the conference to drop by!”

Community partnerships — outside and inside of school

Three years ago, Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) Middle School, in Dayton, Ohio, formed a community partnership with Westminster Presbyterian Church.

“This has proven to be one of our strongest partnerships, so far,” Brittany Lewis, the school’s City Connects Coordinator, says.

Twice a year, Westminster sponsors Done in a Day, an opportunity for church members and friends to “to spend a Saturday working with other agencies and non-profit ministries in our community,” the church’s website explains.

Volunteers organized DECA’s Student Resource Closets, where students can go to get needed items. Volunteers washed clothes with the washer and dryer that Westminster donated, and they organized the clothes by size and gender.

“We are overjoyed by this partnership with Westminster,” Lewis says.

Because of the tornado that recently hit Dayton, DECA is also drawing on the resources of its own community to help families at school. The school launched a day of service to provide food to families. This included launching a dry food pantry at DECA Middle Schools’ sister school, DECA Prep, a K-4 elementary school.

“Coordinators secure resources ahead of time and in the nick of time,” Mary Walsh, City Connect’s executive director, says. “That’s what makes them so effective.”

The Weekly Connect 6/3/19

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab looks at personalized success plans and how Salem, Mass., has been working with City Connects to implement these plans for students.

Sports help adolescents overcome childhood trauma.

States are addressing the needs of youth in foster care.

U.S. children are better off today than they were in 2000.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

Summer: services, opportunities, and fun


Summer opportunities fair at Dayton Early College Academy

As the school year draws to a close, City Connects Coordinators across the country are helping students
prepare for summer, connecting them to services and opportunities that will help them succeed when school isn’t in session.

For, Asha Quattrocchi, a City Connects Coordinator at the Cold Spring School in Indianapolis, Ind., this means sharing information and making connections.

Quattrocchi went with two other coordinators to a summer camp fair. They gathered information on camps that offer arts, dance, sports, STEM, and academics programs. Quattrocchi brought this information back to her school and shared it at family night, a monthly event.

She followed up with parents to see if they’d chosen a camp and to ask if they needed any help signing their children up.

“The biggest obstacle is transportation,” Quattrocchi explains. To address this, she’s helping parents to connect with each other so they can carpool. Another challenge is cost, so Quattrocchi is connecting families with organizations that offer scholarships and asking other organizations if they can lower their fees. Continue reading

The power and untapped potential of providing integrated student support

“To the children whom our school system and our society have failed for far too long.”

That’s the sobering dedication that co-authors Elaine Weiss and Paul Reville chose for their new book, “Broader, Bolder, Better: How Schools and Communities Help Students Overcome the Disadvantages of Poverty.”

In this book, Weiss and Reville call on schools and communities to stop failing by creating “systems of integrated student supports (ISS) for all children.”

The two authors say it is crucial to create ISS systems that support the whole child — like City Connects and others in the field — because of the nation’s history of mediocre policy achievements.

“Decades of education reform efforts have yielded modest if any improvements in most places where poverty is present,” they write. “To be sure, there are outliers, schools and individuals defying the odds, but on average, we still have an iron-clad correlation between socioeconomic status and education achievement and attainment.” Continue reading