Last October, Jannet Sanchez started working as a City Connects Coordinator at Boston’s Maurice J. Tobin School.
Her first step? Learn about her new school quickly by building strong relationships with teachers.
Classes had been going on for a month, but only remotely because of the pandemic, so Sanchez couldn’t have the face-to-face interactions with students that help coordinators get to know their schools.
Relationships with teachers filled this gap. Teachers shared feedback on how students were doing, supplementing what Sanchez could see when she did classroom observations on Zoom.
To conduct whole class reviews, Sanchez met with teachers in teams so she could hear multiple perspectives on each student.
“We communicated a lot about the best services for kids. And some teachers asked me to set up social skills groups,” Sanchez says. “One teacher asked us to come up with a girls leadership group because there were some mean girl dynamics. Another teacher asked for an art club, so I set that up. It was me and the art teacher encouraging girls to draw and socialize.”
The teacher/coordinator relationship is crucial — whether there is or isn’t a pandemic — because it’s a two-way street. Coordinators learn from teachers’ about students strengths and needs. And teachers learn more from coordinators about all the City Connects domains — academic, social/emotional, physical health, and family — of students’ lives.
Once upon a time, Shannon Stamegna thought she might go to law school. But after she started looking at educational programs, she found the social work program at Salem State University.
“The description of the program and of learning to help others just matched my personality,” she says. “I also loved the idea of working with families and connecting them to community services.”
“I think there are times when parents think it’s best to figure things out themselves, when really they would be so much better off asking for help and getting connected to community organizations that are excited to provide support.”
Stamegna worked in community health as a licensed clinical social worker. But because of the pandemic she had been working at home, still helping people but at a distance.
Then she heard about a job opening at City Connects. So two months ago, she jumped into a new challenge and a year-old pandemic and became the City Connects Coordinator at St. Pius V School in Lynn, Mass.Continue reading →