The Weekly Connect 12.19.22

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

LGBTQ students face more hostility and less support in school.

Federal government expands access to STEMM: science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. 

Building social-emotional skills for English Learners

To read more, click on the following links.

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City Connects launches in Beverly

Megan Sudak

This fall, City Connects launched in the Beverly Public School system, and just a few months in, we’re seeing successes.

Beverly was fortunate. It already had student support teams in place. But once the pandemic hit, Beverly, like cities across the country and the world, saw students’ needs surge. Students struggled with anxiety, self confidence, and how to engage in age-appropriate ways even though the pandemic took away so many normal, in-person school days.

Faced with these challenges and given its focus on equity, Beverly wanted a way to address the needs of all its students. So school officials explored their options and went to visit the town next door, Salem, Mass., where City Connects is part of a citywide effort to improve student success.

Partnering with Salem

Beverly decided to launch City Connects in five elementary schools, its middle school, and the 10th grade in its high school.

Beverly also began a very productive civic friendship with Salem.

“Salem has been awesome,” Megan Sudak, Beverly’s City Connects Program Manager, says.

Continue reading “City Connects launches in Beverly”

The Weekly Connect 12/12/22

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Teens’ brains aged prematurely during the pandemic. 

Students in poverty need both intensive academic and social supports, according to a policy brief. 

As respiratory illnesses surge, schools can help keep students healthy.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 12/12/22”

To boost attendance, build a stronger school community

Myriam Villalobos has so much optimism and energy that she has turned chronic absenteeism into an opportunity for building a stronger school community. And last month, she was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Boston Public School system to do this work. 

“I am a teacher. I am a therapist. I am not a grant writer,” Villalobos, the City Connects Coordinator at Boston’s Maurice J. Tobin School says. “I have never asked for money, so I had to learn about the process, and I was fascinated by that.”

Her approach was to think globally about the big picture – and to do so with compassion. 

The Tobin had 66 students who missed more than 20 percent of school. Another 144 students missed 10 percent. Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing at least 10 percent of school. 

“Sometimes we are very critical about why parents decide to keep their children at home. But there are many social issues there. There’s inequality, transportation, and parents who don’t speak English and need their children to be translators. There are also parents who get sick and don’t have anyone they can ask to bring their children to school. 

Continue reading “To boost attendance, build a stronger school community”

The Weekly Connect 12.5.22

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Higher youth suicide rates linked to mental health staff shortages.

School budgets should not rely solely on local property taxes; they also need flexible state aid. 

Programs for gifted students need more support. 

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 12.5.22”

Grief and Loss in Minnesota: Helping students face painful transitions

For many students, the challenges of the pandemic have included coping with unexpected grief. 

“What we’re seeing, especially since COVID-19, are a lot of families going through separations and divorce, and families who are experiencing the loss of family members,” McKenzie Bergman says. She’s the City Connects Coordinator at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Richfield, Minn. 

Blessed Trinity is a small school, with 215 students, where the loss of a loved one and even a handful of divorces can ripple through the school community. 

“For so many of our families, everything is set up like a house of cards, just stacked perfectly. Pull out any one card, though, and it all falls apart. That’s what we’re seeing when families go through these changes.” 

For students, loss and grief can trigger larger challenges like depression, social withdrawal, and eating disorders. Grades and attendance can drop. Some students act out. A newly single parent may need support in finding a job. 

Bergman’s response as a coordinator is to help children and support families. A key first step, she says, is listening.

“Everyone’s an expert on their own lives,” Bergman explains. That’s why it’s crucial to help children find their voice as they grieve. “You really have to give students the opportunity to tell their story. You can’t help them if you don’t know what they’re experiencing.”

Continue reading “Grief and Loss in Minnesota: Helping students face painful transitions”

The Weekly Connect 11/29/22

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Play is crucial for middle schoolers. 

The U.S. Department of Education outlines the violence prevention options for a $1 billion grant program.

Starting career education in middle school pays off. 

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 11/29/22”

The Weekly Connect 11/21/22

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

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

School districts fail to count thousands of homeless students

Culture wars are pushing some teachers to leave the classroom.

More than 700 children were arrested in U.S. elementary schools during the 2017-2018 school year, according to one analysis.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 11/21/22”
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