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.
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 →
Last school year, Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield, Mass., had a custodian’s closet that was nothing special.
This year that space has been transformed – painted, carpeted and decorated – and turned intoCatie’s Closet, a cheerful place where students can get donated clothes and toiletries.
It’s a powerful example of a City Connects’ community partner that places its resources inside schools where students have easy access.
Now, when a student at Lincoln needs clothes, City Connects Coordinator Allison Emhoff can go into the closet and get winter coats, sweaters, pajamas, backpacks, or the school uniforms that students at Lincoln wear. The closet doesn’t have shoes, but Emhoff can put in a special request for them. Students can also get personal products like deodorant or toothpaste. And it’s all convenient because the closet is just down the hall. Continue reading →
Amy Heberle worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at City Connects during the 2017-2018 academic year. She is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
Recently, we caught up with Amy and asked her to tell us about her time at City Connects.
Why did you decide to become a psychologist?
I wish I had a great, thoughtful answer for this! The truth is that I sort of stumbled into it. I became interested in psychology in high school. I was curious about how people cope with mental illness and with stressful life experiences, and I had a vague idea that I wanted to be a therapist. I grew up with a bunch of younger nieces and nephews, and I loved helping to care for them and watching them develop, so I became particularly interested in child psychology. However, somewhere along the way I heard that you had to get a graduate degree to practice psychology, and I pretty much ruled it out as an option. There was no way I could have paid for grad school.Continue reading →