Creative community solutions keep students engaged in school

Photo courtesy of KARE11


When City Connects Coordinators in Minnesota saw that students engaged in virtual learning were missing from school, the coordinators dug in to find out why.
 

“There were several reasons,” Laurie Acker, the City Connects Program Manager in Minnesota, says. “Some students didn’t have access to the Internet, or they had spotty access because a number of people in their homes were trying to use computers.” Other students lived in homes that were crowded or distracting. 

“The other thing we saw was that for a number of families there wasn’t any parental assistance at home, so some students were trying to do school by themselves without help. Younger students didn’t always know how to use the computer. And middle school students weren’t always motivated to use it.” 

Fortunately, Valerie Quintana saw a solution: use office buildings that have been emptied out by the pandemic to create study spaces for school children. 

Quintana is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Real Minneapolis, a nonprofit organization that “responds to the immediate and fluid needs of historically under-represented individuals by thoughtfully listening.”  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 3/8/21

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:

A year into the pandemic, fewer young students are on target for learning to read.

Miguel Cardona is confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Education.

How one Washington, D.C., school convinced parents to let children return to their classrooms.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Managing the pandemic in preschool

“Preschool shouldn’t be like this,” Erika Griffin says of the Early Learning Center in Salem, Mass., where children have their own desks and their own bins of toys that only they can play with – all to protect them from spreading COVID-19. 

“When the kids need a break from sitting at their desks, the teachers put Hula Hoops on the ground six feet apart and each child sits in their hoop so they can play on the floor, just to give them a break from sitting at their desks. At the end of every day, those toys are sanitized. We work hard to come up with small, creative solutions, and the kids have been great with that.” 

Erika Griffin

Griffin is both a City Connects Coordinator and a school adjustment counselor at the Early Learning Center, and she’s used to children sitting at large tables, socializing, and sharing toys. 

But what Griffin’s work shows is that even during a global pandemic, City Connects continues to work in early education settings. 

As we’ve blogged, the core of the City Connects practice remains the same, whether it’s implemented in preschools, elementary schools, high schools, or colleges. Coordinators conduct whole class reviews with teachers and in consultation with families to assess the strengths and needs of each and every child.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 3/1/21

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:

The timing of when food stamps are issued can affect test scores.

Governor Charlie Baker calls on Massachusetts elementary schools to be open five days a week by April.

A Philadelphia Catholic School successfully navigates the pandemic.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 2/22/21

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:

Students in virtual classrooms report more symptoms of stress than students attending class in person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases new guidelines for schools.

How physical education classes have changed during the pandemic.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 2/16/21

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:

In-school Covid testing reduces infections by up to 50%.

A Michigan bill would require all the state’s schools to have a school counselor.

The pandemic has forced school counselors to take on more challenging student needs.

To read more, click on the following links.

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A new policy brief: to help address the pandemic, federal leaders can promote integrated student support

As the country manages the health and economic burdens created by the pandemic, federal officials have an opportunity to help children and families.

A new publication, “Building Systems of Integrated Student Support: A Policy Brief for Federal Leaders,” explains how.

The need is substantial.

“From wealthy suburbs to poor inner cities and rural areas, businesses are struggling, and food lines are long,” the brief explains. And while the “funds flowing through the stimulus packages seem big on paper in Washington,” the funds can feel paltry once they arrive in communities, particularly “in the context of historic and pandemic-driven increases in child poverty, hunger, trauma, academic learning loss, and limited opportunities.”

Joan Wasser Gish, the brief’s author, sees an opportunity in the crisis. 

“This is a moment for bipartisan action to address the complex needs of children and families uncovered and exacerbated by the pandemic,” Wasser Gish says. She is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Optimized Student Support at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. “Federal leaders make decisions that set the context for how states, communities, and schools can respond to the children and families they serve. This brief provides research-informed recommendations for action.”  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 2/8/21

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:

Students with historically higher absentee rates have struggled most during the pandemic.

California schools are considering an extension of the school year.

Despite efforts to close the digital divide, 12 million students remain “underconnected” to broadband Internet services.

To read more, click on the following links.

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