City Connects in District Administration Magazine

District AdministrationThe City Connects approach to student support was written up this week in District Administration magazine. From the article:

Boston Public Schools is seeing the results of City Connects—an intervention, prevention and enrichment program that, for a decade, has worked with teachers to pair students with community-based services to help students better engage and thrive in school.

Read the full article here!

For more information:

  • Follow District Administration magazine on Twitter @DA_magazine

Bullying and the School Nurse

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, which discussed the link between family violence and bullying, a new paper in the journal Pediatrics shows that both bullies and their victims make more frequent trips to the school nurse than their peers. These visits were not just related to injuries sustained as a result of bullying and indicate that the school nurse may be an effective place to identify cases of bullying. The  study, conducted by Eric Vernberg of the University of Kansas, followed 600 students in grades 3 through 5 at six schools for a year.

For more information:

  • Read the full study in Pediatrics here
  • Read Reuters Health coverage here

New Report Shows Relationship Between Family Violence & Bullying in Massachusetts Schools

Bullying and family violence may be related, according to a new report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Source: Boston Globe

The report analyzed the 2009 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, an anonymous survey given to randomly chosen schools every two years. In 2009, the first year that bullying was included in the questionnaire, 138 public middle schools and high schools participated in the survey.

The results show a striking correlation between family violence and bullying. Compared with students who were neither bullies nor bullying victims, both middle and high school bully-victims reported much higher instances of being physically hurt by a family member (23.2% versus 5.1% for middle school; 20.4% versus 4.7% for high school) or witnessing violence in their family (22.8% versus 6.6% for middle school; 30.6% versus 7.2% for high school).

Key findings from the report include:

  • More middle school students (26.8%) than high school students (15.6%) were categorized as victims of bullying, with a greater percentage of males (9.9% for middle school and 12.1% for high school) than females (5% for middle school and 4.8% for high school) categorized as bullies.
  • Compared with students who were neither bullies nor bullying victims, both middle and high school bully-victims were more than three times as likely to report seriously considering suicide (24.9% versus 4.5% for middle school; 22.5% versus 6.2% for high school) or intentionally injuring themselves (40.9% versus 8.4% for middle school; 28.5% versus 8.6% for high school).
  • Sizable percentages of both bullies and bully-victims acknowledged recent use of alcohol (32.7% and 22.7%, respectively, for middle school students; 63.2% and 56.3%, respectively, for high school) and recent use of drugs (32.0% and 19.9%, respectively, for middle school; 47.2% and 41.0%, respectively, for high school).

For more information:

Globe Continues Series on Boston Public Schools’ Lottery

The Boston Globe has published the second article in its “Getting In” series about the Boston Public Schools’ lottery, “Relief, dismay, even guilt greet student placements.” In this installment, parents learn of their child’s school placement. Some parents were thrilled, while others weren’t so lucky in getting their first choice.

The series follows 13 families through the Boston Public Schools’ lottery for school assignment. The first article, “Taking a Chance, Making a Choice,” introduced a South End family who is considering moving to the suburbs if the lottery doesn’t work out in their favor.

Emerson Students Meet the Globetrotters

GlobetrottersThe Harlem Globetrotters were in town last weekend and put on a show for fifth graders from Roxbury’s Emerson Elementary at the new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dorchester’s Upham’s Corner neighborhood. Pictured at right are the Globetrotters giving some basketball tips to Emerson principal Dr. Vivian Swoboda and Major Robert Kountz of the Salvation Army. The Kroc Center, which has fitness, aquatic, health, and worship space in addition to a brand-new gymnasium, officially opens April 1.

For more information:

  • Follow the Globetotters on Twitter @Globies
  • Read the Boston Globe coverage of the Globetrotter’s visit (with a great photo of the students!)
  • Watch NECN’s story about the visit

60 Minutes Shines Light on Child Poverty

Last night, 60 Minutes reported on the sharp increase of children living in poverty with a story titled, “Homeless Children: The Hard Times Generation.” Census data showed that 47.8 million Americans–15.7% of the U.S. population–lived in poverty in 2009 [see our related post, “Revised Census Numbers Show More Americans Living in Poverty”].

We know that there is a widening income gap between high-income and middle-class families, and we also know that poverty can suppress a child’s potential to excel. As we have seen in our experiences, poverty creates stress for children and can impede their ability to thrive in school. As the children in story explain, it’s hard to study at home when the electricity has been turned off.

From the story:

The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.

City Connects 2010 Annual Report Published

City Connects Annual Report 2010

We are happy to announce the publication of our 2010 Annual Report, The Impact of City Connects. Again this year, our report presents strong evidence of the positive effects of City Connects for students and their families, for teachers and staff who work in our schools, and for our community partners.

Among the findings this year:

  • Improved Academic Outcomes: Our evaluation confirms again the significant benefits of City Connects for academic outcomes as measured both by report card scores and by  MCAS scores extending into middle school, after students have left City Connects. A cutting-edge approach to statistical analysis is detailed in the report.
  • Decreased Retention: City Connects students experience lower rates of retention in grade than those in comparison schools.
  • Satisfied Principals: 100% of principals surveyed reported satisfaction with City Connects as a whole, and 100% would recommend City Connects to a principal in another school.
  • Satisfied Teachers: 97% of teachers would recommend City Connects to a teacher in another school. In open-ended survey responses, teachers told us that the increased knowledge of students’ non-academic lives that they gain through City Connects allows them to tailor instruction and employ new strategies to engage students in learning.
  • Satisfied Partners: Community agencies continue to report high levels of satisfaction with partnership quality and effectiveness with City Connects schools; for example, 95% are satisfied with their primary contact at City Connects schools (vs. 67% at non-City Connects schools).

We are grateful to all of our school district and community partners for their commitment to addressing the out-of-school factors that impact students’ lives. The report is evidence of the success of our collaboration.

City Connects Joins Opportunity Nation Coalition

City Connects is proud to announce that we’ve signed on to join the OpportunityNation coalition! OpportunityNation is a national coalition of business leaders, nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, and grassroots organizations working to advance a nonpartisan/bipartisan agenda to enhance opportunity and economic mobility in America. Right now, the coalition comprises more than 80 organizations; see the list of everyone here. We look forward to participating in the dialogue and being a champion for the role of education in opportunity.

For more information:

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