The Weekly Connect 5/15/17

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:

Three studies provide insights that states could use to curb absenteeism.

Bullying has a harmful, lasting impact.

School advocacy groups are worried about how the House’s Health Care bill could impact Medicaid.

Increasing graduation rates for English Language Learners.

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

The power of existing community resources

Pictured left to right: Dave Plantier, President & CEO of MassMutual FCU and CCUA Social Responsibility Committee member; Shavon Powell, Bed for Every Child recipient; Stephanie Sanabria, City Connects Coordinator – Springfield Public Schools; and Lynn Liquornik, VP of Lending at MassMutual FCU and Pioneer Valley Chapter President.

At City Connects, our coordinators implement our innovative model: a system that brings the right services to the right child at the right time.

On a normal day, this can mean working with our community partners to connect children to tutoring, dental and health services, after-school programs, and counseling.

But on some days, coordinators spring into action when there’s an emergency.

That’s what happened recently when the Powell family had to deal with an apartment fire. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/8/17

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:

A federal budget deal includes small funding increases for special education.

Researchers say that decades of studies point to one conclusion: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.

Low-income minority students lag in high school graduation rates, and

Research suggests that bullying is declining in most schools.

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

The Weekly Connect 5/1/17

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:

The Springfield Public School system – a City Connects district – has seen substantial drops in the number of suspensions and school-based student arrests.

President Trump has ordered a study to determine whether the federal government has overstepped its legal authority in K-12 schools.

Performance in preschool math is a predictor of success in K-12 academic achievement.

More national medical associations are endorsing later school-start times for teenagers.

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

The Weekly Connect 4/24/17

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:

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) asks states to come up with per-pupil spending figures, but the law provides no guidelines, so state officials will have to sort through the many costs of school operations.

Today’s first graders are better readers than the first graders of a decade ago, according to an Ohio State University study.

The Boston nonprofit Economic Mobility Pathways, or EMPath, (formerly the Crittenton Women’s Union) uses the science of how poverty affects the brain to shape how it delivers social services to clients.

Kids are more likely to intervene when they see bullying occur if their parents have told them to, instead of telling them not to get involved.

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

The Weekly Connect 2/13/17

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:

Betsy DeVos is the new U.S. Secretary of Education… and John King, who just stepped down as education secretary, is going to lead the Education Trust, a national nonprofit that promotes high educational achievement for all students.

A strong, positive school climate can protect middle school students from the upheavals of adolescence and help them do better in math and reading.

Research shows that New York’s work with community schools is paying off.

More preschools are providing health education as the links between health and learning receive more attention.

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

Big Sisters Recognizes Quincy School as Community Partner of the Year

Mentoring has an overwhelmingly positive impact on children, reducing rates of high school dropout and increasing enrollment in post-secondary education. City Connects School Site Coordinators regularly refer students to community organizations that provide mentoring opportunities. One of our key mentoring partners is the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, which serves more than 2,600 girls throughout Greater Boston.

Catherine Riede, Nicole Young, and Judy tk (L to R)
Left to right: City Connects School Site Coordinators Catherine Riede and Nicole Young with Judy Ellman, Manger of School-based Mentoring for Big Sisters of Greater Boston (photo courtesy of Big Sisters of Greater Boston)

At their annual meeting on May 12, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston named the Josiah Quincy Elementary School as its 2014 Community Partner of the Year. The award recognizes the Quincy’s sustained commitment to Big Sister’s mission to serve girls and families through mentoring programs. The award was accepted by Catherine Riede and Nicole Young, the City Connects School Site Coordinators at the Quincy. Catherine and Nicole serve as the primary contacts for Big Sister at the Quincy, one of Big Sister’s longest-standing and largest partners. The pair were also recognized for their instrumental role in supporting, strengthening, and promoting Big Sisters within the school.

“Our partners at Josiah Quincy have been advocates for Big Sister and have truly welcomed us into their community,” said Deb Re, Chief Executive Officer at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. “They have not only demonstrated a real interest in getting to know the nearly 60 matches who meet at their school, but also have hosted lunch groups, invited Big Sisters to speak at their career day, and distributed information about Big Sister in their newsletter to parents. We are so grateful for their committed partnership, and look forward to continuing to grow the number of girls we serve at Josiah Quincy in the coming years.”

Congratulations to the Quincy, and thank you to Big Sisters for the important work you do!

For more information:

Recap: 2013 Boston Community Partner Breakfast

City Connects breakfast
More than 100 community partners attended the annual City Connects gathering

Yesterday, more than 100 members of the Boston community joined City Connects as we convened our annual gathering of Boston community partners to discuss “Supporting Immigrant Students and Families.”

On our panel, Vera Johnson, Director of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Newcomer Counseling and Assessment Center, shared her experience working with families new to Boston and its public schools. After finding that parents and caregivers kept returning to her office when they had questions about schools, Johnson created a position dedicated to supporting families beyond their students’ initial enrollment into school: Parent Liaisons. Speaking a variety of languages, Parent Liaisons educate families, encourage participation in school events, and provide assistance maneuvering the BPS system. Johnson’s office, in response to the needs of new families, also began offering English classes for adults. She reports seeing parents grow into “savvy” members of school communities.

City Connects panelists
Panelists (l to r) Vera Johnson, Suzanne Lee, and Raghida Jeranian

Panelist Suzanne Lee, a community activist and former BPS school administrator, shared her first experience with school after immigrating from Hong Kong. Lee was a top student in grade 6 when she left Hong Kong but upon arriving in Boston, was told she should be in grade 4; her lack of English skills led to the assumption that she “didn’t know anything.” She learned how to rely on herself and  ultimately earned a college scholarship and spent her career working in education and community activism. While teaching English to garment workers in Boston, she said she realized why her mother–once a garment worker herself–worked so hard: she was looking for an opportunity to get ahead, and her hopes and dreams were with her children. As a teacher and principal, Lee learned that it takes more than good teaching and learning for children to succeed. “All children can succeed if we meet their needs,” she said. “The first rule is to listen.”

We also heard from City Connects’ own Raghida Jeranian, a Program Manager who supervises School Site Coordinators in Boston. She relayed the story of a Coordinator who welcomed a Somali student and her family midway through the school year. To help with the student’s transition, the Coordinator  set up a lunch group where the student could make friends with others new to the school and secured a space in an after-school program with a focus on homework help (the student’s parents didn’t speak English and were not able to help with homework). The Coordinator learned from the student that the family could not afford furniture in their apartment. Sensitive to the family’s privacy and pride, the Coordinator reached out to let them know of the services she could connect them to outside of school, like free adult English classes and donations. Thanks to their burgeoning relationship, the mother felt comfortable requesting help furnishing their apartment and the Coordinator was able to secure donations. This family shared with others how the Coordinator was able to assist them and they, in turn, felt more comfortable contacting the Coordinator and becoming more engaged with the school community.

Thanks to all of our partners who joined us yesterday, and thank you for your ongoing collaboration! Together, we are ensuring that students to come to school ready to learn and thrive.

For more information: