Building the future of education in Massachusetts

“Looking back to look ahead” is the theme of a newly released annual report – The Condition of Education in the Commonwealth — that points in part to the power of City Connects as a long-standing practice that can strengthen the future of education in Massachusetts by helping “schools build systems of integrated student support.”

Released by the Rennie Center for Education and Research & Policy, the report first came out in 2013.

Now, in 2023, the report says, “our focus on reviewing statewide data and highlighting promising strategies remains critical: despite numerous changes in policy and practice over the past 10 years, we continue to see many of the same trends in student outcomes that were present prior to 2013. Too few students are achieving proficiency in reading, math, and science. Persistent opportunity gaps affect access to affordable early childhood education, advanced coursework, college and career pathways, and other resources.”

The problem is “…our current system is not designed to ensure success for each and every student. Looking to the future, we must work collectively to transform our education system into one that offers equity and excellence for all.”

The pandemic has made the work of transforming education even harder.

Continue reading “Building the future of education in Massachusetts”

The Weekly Connect 1/30/23

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:

K-12 opportunity gaps fuel differences in who goes to college.

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona calls on educators to “raise the bar” on student achievement.

More schools are bringing in therapy dogs to help students cope. 

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 1/30/23”

By the numbers: City Connects in Dublin, Ireland

City Connects is in its third year of operations in Ireland, where it’s running in Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC), an area with high concentrations of students who live in poverty.

Since then, the program has brought new services, supports, and enrichment programs to students. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at what has been accomplished, drawn from NEIC’s 2022 Progress Report

Continue reading “By the numbers: City Connects in Dublin, Ireland”

The Weekly Connect 1.23.23

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:

Telemedicine services can help keep kids stay in class. 

Support grows for universal pre-K programs

Greenville, S.C., is introducing students to career education in elementary school

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 1.23.23”

The Weekly Connect 1/17/23

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:

The trauma of preschool suspensions and expulsions is long-lasting.

Supreme Court asks President Biden about the legal status of charter schools.

America’s public schools are losing students

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 1/17/23”

The Weekly Connect 1/9/23

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 can’t access mental health services

Federal funding for K-12 schools increases by 5.6 percent.

The ratio of students to school counselor is improving, but schools still face challenges hiring counselors.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 1/9/23”

City Connects Coordinator Jelena Soots sees kids the way she wanted to be seen

“I’ve been a teacher for a long time, but I’ve never helped kids at this level,” Jelena Soots says. She’s the City Connects Coordinator at GEO Next Generation High School in Indianapolis, Ind. 

“I was drawn to City Connects because my family and I are immigrants. And in the forefront of my mind is, What would have helped me as a child? What if we had this option back then? That’s how I shifted into the mindset of thinking about what kids need based on who they are.” 

Soots and her family immigrated from Croatia in the 1990s when the country was at war. They lived in a refugee camp in Germany and applied to refugee programs run by churches. They were chosen by a church in Indiana.

“At our school, we have a lot of students from different countries, so talking about my experience with them is an icebreaker,” Soots says. “And even though I’ve been here for a long time, I sometimes struggle with how to identify with American culture and how to identify with my Croatian culture, and with the mix of both.

“So I try to be understanding with our students who are in those formative years of puberty and early adulthood and have to navigate the norms they see at home and the norms they see in school and everything in the middle.”

Soots is also full of energy and optimism. One example is her no brakes strategy for finding community partners. 

Continue reading “City Connects Coordinator Jelena Soots sees kids the way she wanted to be seen”

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.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 12.19.22”
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