A new City Connects Coordinator: Shannon Stamegna

Shannon StamegnaOnce 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

The Weekly Connect 5/10/21

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 Salem, City Connects staff are planning for summer

A new report from the national nonprofit Zero to Three says that inequality starts early, when children are infants and toddlers. 

In Massachusetts, 1.6 million adults are struggling to get enough to eat

The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on immigrant students and English learners

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 5/3/21

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:

Schools can use federal Covid relief funds to invest in integrated student support programs like City Connects.

To better target resources, educators should look at students’ academic and health metrics.

President Joe Biden plans to expand universal preschool.

New York City will conduct mental health screenings of all its students and have social workers in every school.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 4/26/21

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:

Gifted education programs provide little or no academic boost to students.

Schools must design effective plans for using federal Covid-relief funding.

The pandemic is making the transition to kindergarten harder

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 4/20/21

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:

Schools can help students navigate the mental health challenges caused by the pandemic.

Trans students need the support of educators, especially as legislators are filing bills that would limit the right of trans people. 

Addressing COVID-19 attendance barriers.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Tigers make the week better

City Connects Coordinator Shannon Underwood needed a way to boost students’ morale in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her students were back at Immaculate Conception Parish School in Revere, Mass., in person and full time. They were wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and sitting behind plexiglass shields that had been attached to each of their desks. Afterschool programs had been cancelled because of Covid. And work with the school’s community partners had been curtailed.

So Underwood implemented the idea of naming a “Tiger of the Week,” a student who demonstrated excellence through service to others. Students get a certificate and a small trophy. A tiger is the school’s mascot.

“I wanted to incentivize random acts of kindness,” Underwood says.

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The Weekly Connect 4/12/21

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:

Pre-k may boost students’ math scores as much as eight years later.

Eighty percent of K-12 educators have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As schools move through the pandemic, they should factor in the impact of adult stress on students

To read more, click on the following links.

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Making summer plans in Minnesota

Last month in Minneapolis, it was about 43 degrees, but the City Connects Coordinators there were still planning for summer.

In a summer fair held on Zoom, the coordinators met with community organizations to learn about programs that they can refer students to for academics, enrichment, and fun. This is especially important now, following the past year of pandemic-related social distancing and disruption.

Sharing information about these programs with families is a core part of the City Connects model. We know that to do well in school, students have to be well outside of school. That’s why we connect students to homework help and food assistance. It’s also why we connect them to arts and sports programs: enrichment outside of school, can help them thrive during school.

Community organizations are essential in this effort. We connect these organizations with kids. And the organizations provide creative activities with unique elements for all children and for children with special needs. Among the Minnesota summer options coordinators are sharing:

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