Years from now, people may fall into the habit of asking each other: What were you doing right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and how did it change your life?
Here at City Connects, we’ve already been asking these questions — aboutour students and aboutour work. We are also asking how we can be even more effective as the country addresses long-standing racial inequities.
And now, as we move into the fall, in a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid schools and classrooms, we are determined to get the right services to the right child at the right time.
In our progress reports, which are published every other year, we reflect on the past and assess the present. But this year, we’ve also taken the time to express our gratitude for all the hard work that has gotten us through the pandemic.Continue reading “A City Connects Progress Report”
It’s September and going back to school – in-person or on Zoom – is an obstacle course of trying to keep students safe, keep them learning, and keep them connected to their school communities and to essential services and supports, as City Connects does.
“The earth is moving under everyone right now,” Mary Walsh, the Executive Director of City Connects says. “But what we’ve seen is the value of having the City Connects system. It creates a record for every child, so we know the kids, and we know what their strengths and needs are.”
Back in March, when the pandemic hit, City Connects moved its system of integrated student support online. City Connects’ Coordinators ran groups, sat in on classes, and reached out to families.
During late spring and summer, City Connects staff took stock and began preparing for the fall. Now, the City Connects system is stronger and more responsive to the pandemic’s demands and to the needs of students and families.
Here are some of the things City Connects has been learning and doing.
Often City Connects grows because of, well, connections. That’s what happened when Una Shannon came from Ireland to Boston College to be a postdoctoral fellow. Shannon learned about City Connects and shared our work with Eugene Wall, the president ofMary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, as well as sharing it with ministers from the Irish National Government.
The result: Irish educators are planning to launch a City Connects pilot program this fall in 10 Dublin schools.
“It strikes me that any ‘school person’ who hears about City Connects tends to have an ‘aha’ moment,” Shannon says. She’s a former teacher who earned her bachelor’s degree from Mary Immaculate College. “It just makes sense to support the whole child, to have a strengths-based perspective, and to have a systemic, systematic, and sustained approach to student support that’s in rhythm with school life.”Continue reading “Ireland launches City Connects”
City Connects Coordinators across the country are working hard to make this a great year for students and their families.
We are excited to welcome two additional states, Tennessee and New York, to the City Connects network.
Over the summer, City Connects attended the 2019 American School Counselors Association Annual Conference in Boston, where we met school counselors, social workers, mental health professionals, and were able to talk about City Connects with many of the conference attendees. We are also hoping to be present at the 2020 National School Social Work Conference being held in March of 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, for its Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, Ohio added $675 million to implement and support effective “wraparound” services for students across the state. This legislation named City Connects as an acceptable use of funds based on the success of our ten-year partnership with schools in Dayton. Finally, City Connects is partnering with Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills and its Department of Children and Youth Affairs to plan the implementation of the City Connects in some of the most economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods in Dublin.
Here at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, home to City Connects, we’ve wrapped up our August Institute, a professional development program that introduces new coordinators to the City Connects model.
And nationally, in the coming weeks, coordinators will be working with teachers, staff, and families to create personalized plans for every student, connecting children to the right services at the right time.