City Connects and its Impact on Teachers

We know that City Connects helps students, but recently published research also looks at its impact on teachers — and on how they teach.

The article — “The impact of comprehensive student support on teachers: Knowledge of the whole child, classroom practice, and Teacher Support” — appears in the journal Teaching and Teacher Education.

As the article explains, teachers know that children living in poverty often face a long list of challenges, including hunger, homelessness, family chaos, and obesity.

Citing Charles E. Bach’s “Healthier Students are Better Learners,” the article notes, “No matter how well teachers are prepared to teach, no matter what accountability measures are put in place, no matter what governing structures are established for schools, educational progress will be profoundly limited if students are not motivated and able to learn.” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 4/17/17

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 America has released a paper on how states can use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to support early learning.

Research released by economists found that after low-income college students graduate, they earn wages that are similar to those of their higher-income peers.

Obese teens’ chances of having high blood pressure vary by race.

To read more, click on the following links.  Continue reading

How City Connects Keeps Learning

Graduate student researchers Despina Petsagourakis and Agnes Chung

City Connects is constantly learning. We learn from the experiences of our City Connects coordinators and the national array of schools and communities in which we work. And because City Connects is based in Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, we are also learning from different scientific fields about how we can make City Connects better. Once we have this knowledge, we go out and share it.

This cycle of learning was on display last week when Agnes Chung and Romita Mitra – both graduate students at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education – went to a Harvard Graduate School of Education conference to share two research posters about City Connects. The theme of the conference was “Spanning the Divide: Building Bridges through Research.” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 4/10/17

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:

Are kindergarteners ready for school? An assessment tool can help determine this, but these assessments should not be used to judge accountability.

Having one black teacher in an elementary school can improve outcomes for low-income black students.

Colorado schools are going to be judged in part by how many of their students are chronically absent.

Children in New York City are healthier since the start of Pre-K for All.

To read more, click on the following links.  Continue reading

Seven Things We Know from the Developmental Sciences

Because science tells us more and more about how children’s brains work, we’ve gotten better at providing children with the services and opportunities they need to thrive.

Our Center at the Boston College Lynch School of Education published a brief on the scientific foundation of our work called, “Principles of Effective Practice for Integrated Student Support,” which explains:

“Developmental science illuminates risks to child development and learning, as well as opportunities for meaningful intervention.”

“This research provides insight into why experiences like poverty and trauma can inhibit learning, and what can be done to counteract their effects.” These insights come from the sciences of psychology, human development, cognitive science, and neurobiology.

What do we know, so far? Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 4/3/17

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:

• Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) has called for investing billions of dollars in “disconnected” youth – those who are not in school and not working – to help them get high school diplomas and workforce counseling and training.

• Less advantaged students tend to benefit from their teachers’ encouragement.

• How stereotypes can hurt Asian students.

Exposure to lead can affect children for decades.

To read more, click on the following links.  Continue reading

New Report Shares What We are Learning

Since 2001, City Connects has offered a way for schools to address the out-of-school factors that affect children’s learning inside school. The right set of school-based and community resources can help children cope with these outside challenges so that they can learn and thrive.

Over time, City Connects has built a record of success. In city after city, City Connects helps schools improve students’ attendance, effort, and grades. City Connects narrows achievement gaps and reduces high school dropout rates.

This work has become even more important as more children across the country face more challenges. Nationally, 52 percent of children in our public schools are eligible for Free or Reduced-price Lunch, a measure of low-income status that overlaps with known barriers to learning.

What we are learning through City Connects can help us to serve growing numbers of students. We help address children’s comprehensive needs so they are ready to learn and engage in school. Continue reading

Building a Safe and Supportive Community at Boston’s Edison School

“We represent over 40 different countries and over the past two years, I have run the annual multicultural event, which has been a cool thing at the end of the year to celebrate diversity in our school,” Shelby Riley explained in a recent interview.

Riley is the one of the City Connects site coordinators in Boston’s Thomas Edison K-8 School, where nearly 60 percent of the Edison’s students come from disadvantaged homes, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and 49 percent are English Language Learners.

“With all that’s going on in our world, our families are very much affected by it,” Riley adds. “We had a lot of kids in fear of being deported.”

After brainstorming with Edison’s principal, Samantha Varano, Riley worked with a team of teachers to organize a multicultural event. It was based on a similar event done by one of the Edison’s community partners, EF (Education First).

Rather than feeding into fear, “we wanted to do more of the positive, the celebrating, and letting kids be proud.” Continue reading