The Weekly Connect 5/26/20

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Parents are worried about their children losing social connections during COVID-19 school closures.

Because of COVID-19’s impact on its budget, California is slashing its preschool funding.

The rigor of remote learning varies by state.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Coordinators make plans for a challenging summer

Summer is usually when City Connects Coordinators make sure that students are enrolled in camp or summer school or other programs that will support their growth and development. 

But now, coordinators are planning around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Summer is a moving target this year,” Lynne Sullivan, City Connects’ Director of Implementation, says. School districts are trying to figure out what programs they can safely offer. Some camps are closing. And parents, especially those who have to go to work, are facing uncertainty. 

“One of the things that coordinators are trying to balance this summer is an emphasis on trying to make up for academic learning loss and address students’ need for social-emotional support,” Sullivan adds.

In City Connect schools across the country, this means connecting students to a mix of creative opportunities.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/18/20

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Pediatricians worry that pandemic recovery planning is overlooking children’s needs.

Without more federal funds, half of all child care centers could close permanently.

In the shadow of COVID-19, more students could suffer from housing insecurity and homelessness.

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Steering through the COVID-19 crisis in Springfield

Back in March, when the dangerous spread of the coronavirus forced schools to close, the Springfield Public School system focused on human needs.

“We know that our schools are much more than education centers for our families. They provide important support and we know that closure will impact on our families,” the Springfield, Mass., public school website explained. 

“Springfield’s first priority was the safety and well-being of all our students and families,” Julie Donovan, Springfield’s City Connects Program Manager says. That meant focusing on the essential basics of food and housing and on keeping kids virtually connected to school.

So Springfield’s 28 City Connects Coordinators got to work. They reached out to families who weren’t responding to teachers, and they helped children living in homeless shelters get laptops and Internet hotspots.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/11/20

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Deportations can hurt the achievement of Latinx students.

Schools struggle with reopening even when governors say it’s okay.

School counselors suggest ways to help students — and adults — through the trauma caused by COVID-19.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Helping teachers who work in COVID-19’s shadow


During this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we are honored to support our teachers and their important relationships with students and families. 

City Connects Coordinators have always played a critical role in supporting teachers — and they are continuing this work in the face of COVID-19. 

Teachers tell us they often feel the indirect emotional burden of students’ problems, from hunger, anxiety, and depression to homelessness and family stress.

Coordinators help by assessing students’ needs and addressing them with customized in-school and out-of-school resources. This frees teachers to feel supported and enables them to focus on teaching.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/4/20

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COVID-19-related school closures could lead to lower student achievement.

Massachusetts is the first state to pilot new ways to assess student achievement.

With schools closed, some districts struggle to provide students with free or low-cost meals.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Helping homeless families in the shadow of COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed Boston’s schools, City Connects Coordinators rushed to meet urgent needs, connecting families to food, health care, and online learning technology. 

Then they started addressing homelessness. 

“A large portion of our student body and their families are in homeless shelters or they’re in overcrowded situations, living with other family members,” Jacob Nyklicek, the City Connects Coordinator at Boston’s William E. Russell Elementary School says. 

So Nyklicek is providing these families with basics and, when he can, offering housing opportunities. 

On the housing front, Nyklicek connects families to a new program created by the Boston Housing Authority and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) that’s using vouchers to provide housing for 1,000 BPS families. He can also submit applications for families who can’t apply online themselves because they don’t have access to computers. 

“That’s one of the best phone calls you can make,” Nyklicek says, “calling someone who needs housing and saying, we have an opportunity for you, because housing is one of those issues that is so difficult to get help with.”  Continue reading