Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab report shares City Connects’ success

We’re proud that City Connects’ work in Salem, Mass., and in Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Tenn., is featured in a new report from the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

The report – “Sustaining Cross-Sector Systems of Opportunity for Children: Interim Lessons from the By All Means Consortium” – follows up on an earlier report about the work of the By Any Means necessary (BAM) communities, a network set up in 2016 to “create collaborative, cross-sector solutions to address the multifaceted needs of children.” 

Action at the city and state level is exciting because it shows how powerful local leaders can be in addressing the barriers that students face outside of school – from tooth aches to homelessness – so that they can thrive academically in school. 

Two of the Education Redesign Lab’s BAM members, Salem and Chattanooga-Hamilton County, are doing this work using City Connects.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 10/21/19

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

Kindergarten readiness can predict future school performance.

California delays school start times so students can get more sleep.

How to improve Individualized Education Program meetings.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading

City Connects is getting ready for school

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. 

In Salem, Mass., for example, coordinators are already:  Continue reading

Scaling — and investing — in relationships that boost students’ success

The old recipe for school success was to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.

But Julia Freeland Fisher has added a fourth ingredient: relationships.

To close opportunity gaps, Fisher, the Director of Education Research at the Clayton Christensen Institute, says schools have to close relationship gaps in families’ social networks. That’s the premise of her book, “Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations that Expand Students’ Networks.”

One barrier to accomplishing this work: people think it can’t be done.

In a recent article posted on 74 Million’s website, Fisher points to New York Times Columnist David Brooks, who wrote an op-ed earlier this year praising the work of “weavers,” people who “want to live in right relation with others and to serve the community good.” Continue reading

A new teacher writes about City Connects

Elizabeth McKernan

By the time Elizabeth McKernan graduated from Boston College in 2018, she had been a student teacher at Brighton High School, Milton High School, and Waltham High School.

In her senior year, she was already taking graduate school classes at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development and working on her master’s degree, and she was determined to have an impact on students.

“That’s always been my perspective on teaching: If I can make one student’s life a little bit better then I’m doing it right,” she says.

Last month, McKernan made her mark in educational policy with an opinion piece in CommonWealth magazine — “Customized student support can level the playing field” — that begins:

“As a new high school teacher, I paid attention when educators, mayors, and Patriots players gathered before the Joint Committee on Education last month to testify on behalf of high needs students in Massachusetts. Continue reading

Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab cites City Connects’ for developing plans that promote students’ personal success

For decades, schools have relied on a “one-size fits all paradigm” that fails to meet “the particular, complex, and varied needs of children and youth living in poverty.”

That’s an observation from a new report from the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. The report says schools should abandon this approach to poverty and instead devise personalized “success plans” that meet individual students’ needs.

One example of how to do this, the report notes, is City Connects.

The report,Success Plans: Promising Tools for Customizing Student Supports and Opportunities”, says that these plans will “capture in- and out-of-school strengths and needs of children and youth; connect to the infrastructure that can match them with tailored services and opportunities; and seamlessly coordinate education and community resources to increase access to equitable opportunities.” Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 4/8/19

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

These are some of the things we’ve been reading about:

Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab cites City Connects as a student support model that more districts could use.

A report finds that state funding for higher-poverty districts is largely inadequate.

A South Bend, Ind., school pilots a weekend meals program.

To read more, click on the following links. Continue reading

City Connects produces a solid return on investment

Thanks to years of research, we know that City Connects’ model of providing integrated student support helps improve students’ attendance, grades, and test scores.

And thanks to recent research we know that City Connects yields an impressive return on investment (ROI). As we’ve blogged, Henry Levin and A. Brooks Bowden, of the Columbia University Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education, did a benefit-cost analysis of City Connects, and found strikingly positive results. For every $1 invested in City Connects there’s a $3 ROI. This calculation includes the cost of City Connects and the cost of the services – such as food, clothing, health care, and afterschool programs – that children and families receive.

Released in 2015, this study, also found that comparing the cost of City Connects alone to the benefits it generates yields an $11 return on every $1 invested. Continue reading