Anna Hamilton: from graduate assistant to City Connects staff member

 As a college student at Tulane University, Anna Hamilton was trying to decide whether she wanted to study education or psychology.

“I was very interested in working with children in some capacity and early on as an undergraduate, I got involved in psychological research working in a lab where I studied prejudice and stigma,” Hamilton recalls.

Outside the lab, Hamilton worked with children, leading social-emotional skills groups at an elementary school. She also worked as an intern at a family resource center, providing trauma-informed care for children and families who were involved with Louisiana’s Department of Child and Family Services.

For Hamilton, working with children won out, and she enrolled in Boston College to earn a master’s degree in mental health counseling.

“I thought I was leaving the research world behind,” she says.

But in 2016, a few weeks after she started her master’s program, Hamilton started working as a graduate assistant at City Connects and stepped back into the research world.

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The Weekly Connect 1/18/22

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+ teens and young adults say debates and state legislation on restricting transgender youth participation in school sports, among other related issues, have been hard on their mental health. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is boosting funding for school meals because of inflation and supply chain issues. 

More than 167,000 children in the U.S. have lost parents or caregivers to Covid, which is roughly 1 in every 450 young people under age 18.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 1/10/22

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:

Texting parents about their children’s attendance can reduce absenteeism. 

Omicron hinders schools’ post-holiday reopening plans. 

Michigan schools hiring hundreds of mental health staff members

To read more, click on the following links.

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A happy holiday story

Taylor Herring is a new City Connects Coordinator at Boston’s Ellis Mendell School, but she’s already into the full swing of the holiday season.

For Thanksgiving she worked with the United Way to secure food baskets for families in need. And the family council at her school raised funds to buy Stop and Shop gift cards that also helped families put food on their Thanksgiving tables. 

“We’re a small school. We have about 270 kids. But we were able to help around 70 families,” Herring explains. “Our principal noted that because of Covid there has been an increase in the number of families who needed resources.”

Now that Christmas is coming, Herring is in the midst of managing a toy drive.

“We created an Amazon wish list that we publicized, and we also had awesome donors who gave a lump sum of money, so we were able to fulfill the wish list and get Target gift cards that families can use to buy toys or necessities. They can also use the gift cards for other siblings in the household.”

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The Weekly Connect 12/20/21

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:

Black and Latino students are more likely to have inexperienced teachers

The Los Angeles Unified School District delays the start of its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Art classes serve as an oasis for students in Washington, D.C., schools who are grappling with the effects of the pandemic. 

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 12/13/21

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:

Early childhood math instruction has long-term benefits. 

Federal funding for homeless students is being bogged down by red tape and a lack of urgency among some state officials. 

The country needs a plan to address the learning loss of students with disabilities.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 12/6/21

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:

Researchers find more first graders are behind in reading because of the pandemic.

Most states are investing American Rescue Plan funds in education

Minnesota schools are focusing on students’ growing mental health needs

To read more, click on the following links.

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Responding to a crisis with integrated student support – a research article

research articleIn the middle of the pandemic, schools with systems of integrated student support (ISS) had an advantage. They were able to pivot to meet the rapidly changing needs of students and families.

A newly released research article — “Leveraging Integrated Student Support to Identify and Address COVID-19-Related Needs for Students, Families, and Teachers” — explains how one evidence-based ISS system, City Connects, has helped schools meet students’ needs. 

A key theme: systemic support matters. 

The research draws on several sources: surveys of City Connects Coordinators conducted in the spring of 2020 in 94 schools across six states; a database of the student services these coordinators provided; and on coordinators’ estimates of the three most common challenges schools faced when they were closed.

Published by AERA Open, the article was written by Courtney Pollack, former Senior Researcher on City Connects Data and Evaluation Team, and now a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a researcher at MIT; Maria Theodorakakis, Senior Manager of Clinical Practice and Research; and Mary Walsh, City Connects’ Executive Director.  Continue reading