“We are getting services to kids faster and more intentionally than we were before,” Program Manager Jennifer Bronson says of how City Connects is working in Hamilton County, Tenn., home to a socio-economically diverse group of students in Chattanooga and surrounding suburban and rural areas. “We are being deliberate.”
This is a story of how City Connects, which launched in eight county schools last September, is generating data and information that help schools understand students’ needs and meet them.
Because of a community effort calledChattanooga 2.0, the region was already looking at workforce and education challenges. This led to joiningBy All Means, a program run by the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) that helps close educational achievement gaps.Continue reading →
When City Connects Program Manager Laurie Acker meets with the coordinators she supervises in Minnesota, she routinely asks them a question:
“What services do you need that you don’t have a community partner for yet?”
One common answer is food. Some students come to school hungry, go home hungry, and dread long weekends because their families are grappling with food insecurity. Others hoard the food they receive at lunch.
Community partners help address this kind of problem. They are an essential part of the City Connects model of getting the right services to the right students at the right time, and Acker has worked hardto build these connections.
So when Acker heard about the need for food resources, she reached out toThe Sheridan Story, a local nonprofit that fights childhood hunger, and, in 2014, Sheridan Story volunteers began providing food for the weekend at two City Connects schools.Continue reading →
City Connects Coordinator Ashlei Alvarez does not enjoy running. When she was in school, she was the cross-country runner who hid in the bathroom.
But every Friday morning, Alvarez goes running around the Boston Common with 30 fourth- and fifth-graders, two parents, and a number of staff members from the Josiah Quincy School where Alvarez works.
“My first year here I noticed that we didn’t have a lot of extracurricular, sports-based programs,” Alvarez says. So when a teacher at her school told her aboutSole Train: Boston Runs Together, a running program “that’s about deconstructing the impossible,” Alvarez and Kelly Garcelon, a kindergarten teacher who does like running, brought the program into their school.
Alvarez expected five students to sign up. Instead, 30 did. “We were shocked,” Alvarez says.Continue reading →