Enjoy the summer

The blog will return when it’s time to head back to school.

City Connects coordinators recognized from New York to Ohio for boosting student success

We are thrilled to celebrate the summer with a round up of awards from across the country highlighting the incredible work of City Connects’ coordinators, partners, and staff.

These awards are a reminder that getting the right resources to the right child at the right time can help students achieve academic success in school even when they face heartbreaking obstacles outside of school.

Will Osier, the coordinator at Boston’s Chittick Elementary School, won the Isabel G. Besecker Award from Boston Partners in Education for his hard work connecting students to Boston Partners’ mentors, a group of more than 500 adult volunteers who provide academic support. Continue reading

City Connects & August Scholars give students a summertime academic boost

“It used to take a whole lot of work on our end,” Justin Hajj says of finding the right students for August Scholars, a three-week summer program that combines academics, enrichment, and a personal approach that makes it easy for kids to achieve meaningful success.

The program is designed for children who can benefit from summertime academic support to avoid summer learning loss. In the morning, students focus on school work. Afternoons are devoted to fun: art, technology, and in recent years a drumming program. To measure impact, the program does pre- and post-program testing.

To recruit kids, August Scholars staff would visit schools and encourage parents to follow up. They would explain that the program was free. But often, that wasn’t enough, Hajj adds. He’s the Upper Division Head & Director of Advancement at The Learning Project Elementary School where August scholars is based. Continue reading

Health fair fun inspires families in Springfield

When Stephanie Sanabria, the City Connects coordinator at Springfield’s Early Childhood Education Center, looked at the needs of her students and their families, one topic that jumped out was health care.

“We have many students who have various diagnosis, and their families are also facing a number of health-related issues,” Sanabria said.

Sanabria’s response: Set up a health fair.

Amy Heberle, a Post-Doctoral fellow who works with City Connects’ evaluation team at the Boston College Lynch School of Education, explains: Continue reading

City Connects and Rosie’s Place: forging new ways to reach families

City Connects works hard to get the right service to the right child at the right time — and we also help our community partners make new models of service delivery successful.

One example is the highly respected, Boston-based organization Rosie’s Place.

Back in 1974, when Rosie’s Place opened its doors, it was the first women-only shelter in the United States. Rosie’s provided beds, compassion, and assistance to women who came through its doors.

Today, Rosie’s strategy has grown to include citywide outreach. Thanks to the Rosie’s Place Community Collaborative, Rosie’s staffers work everywhere. They go to homes and work in courthouses and at the Franklin Field public housing development in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. Continue reading

Leaping over language barriers at the Kenny School

“We’ve been talking a lot about how our parent council is great, but not reflective of our school population,” Danielle Morrissey says. She’s the City Connects Coordinator at the Thomas J. Kenny elementary school in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

“We were trying to strategize around how to bring in other families that aren’t involved in parent council — and about what the barriers might be, and language came up a lot.”

Language diversity is part of the fabric at the Kenny, where 35 percent of the school’s population speaks a language other than English. So Emily Bryan, the school’s principal, decided to reach out to more families by holding coffee hours in different languages. Morrissey helped organize and facilitate them. Continue reading

City Connects students in Salem give back to their community

Our approach of connecting students to the right services at the right time also creates opportunities for students to give back to their communities.

That’s what happened in Salem, Mass., when Brad Maloon the City Connects coordinator at the Collins Middle School worked with his colleagues to put together a team of students and staff who participated in the May 12th, 5K Walk for HAWC.

HAWC is a Salem-based nonprofit that provides free services to victims of domestic abuse and partner violence. Continue reading

Community partner breakfast in Minnesota: eat, play, connect

City Connects is growing in Minnesota. But the program isn’t just getting bigger — serving over 2,000 students across 10 schools with 13,284 services — it’s also getting better connected.

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The heart of City Connects’ model is connecting children to services. But again and again, we’ve seen that this also means forging connections among adults. That might mean connecting an immigrant parent to a health provider or having a funder hear from a principal.

To illustrate and capitalize on the power of these connections, Minnesota Program Manager Laurie Acker organized a community partner breakfast where she skipped the usual PowerPoint presentation and instead asked all the attendees to play a version of the classic kids’ game, Connect Four, a name that also acknowledges City Connects’ fourth anniversary in Minnesota. Continue reading