Across City Connects schools, community partnerships have a profound impact on children lives. One example is flourishing in Springfield, Mass.
Last year, as we’ve blogged, after a local family’s home caught on fire, Stephanie Sanabria — the City Connects coordinator at Springfield’s Early Childhood Education Center — worked with a team of community partners to secure a bed for the family’s daughter. A few months later, more beds were delivered to Springfield for more children. Behind the deliveries is an initiative called A Bed for Every Child run by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. The Pioneer Valley Chapter of credit unions helped out with fundraising.
As Julie Donovan, City Connects Program Manager in Springfield, explains, “this initiative is critical for our families. Our students need a good bed to lay in every night, so that they can get the proper sleep — the proper rest to achieve their full potential — and come to school ready to learn.”
Because of local tragedies as well as hurricanes that hit Florida and Puerto Rico, the need for beds has grown. As Sanabria, who has been nicknamed the Bed lady, recently told us, referrals for families often come through word of mouth, especially now that many Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees are receiving housing.Continue reading →
Our mission is to build a network of support and care for the students that we serve — but this is only possible thanks to the hard work of our coordinators. They are the ones who, everyday, forge strong relationships with teachers and school staff, students and parents, and community partners to effectively provide individualized supports for students depending on their particular situation and circumstances.
Coordinators greet students at the bus stop. They catch up with parents in the hallway. They talk to teachers, school nurses, and principals. They are friendly. They are approachable.
And they do the core, City Connects work of conducting whole class reviews — assessing the strengths and needs of every student in every school. They connect students to services in school; and coordinators connect students to dozens of community partners outside school who provide everything from dental care and mental health counseling to summer camps and after-school programs.Continue reading →
City Connects’ first year of work in Salem, Mass., is already getting national attention. A recent article in Education Week looked at Salem’s citywide effort to promote students’ success, in partnership with By AllMeans, an initiative led by the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A key part of this effort is Salem’s work with City Connects.
Last September, City Connects launched in all eight of Salem’s K-8 schools. This is the first example of citywide implementation of City Connects, and at this one year mark, we want to share three takeaways. Students benefit from:
having access to citywide opportunities
relying on stronger connections between their families, schools, and communities; and