A new school founded by NBA Superstar LeBron James provides integrated student support

LeBron James. Source: I Promise School Twitter feed.

 

We’re happy and a little amazed to welcome a superstar to the world of integrated student support: LeBron James.

This summer, James, the world-famous National Basketball Association player, launched the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. It’s a collaboration between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron Public Schools.

A key component of the school is providing students with services to mitigate the effects of poverty.

As an EdSurge article explains, “Social media lit up praising the litany of services the school will offer to students and families alike: among them, free uniforms, bicycles and helmets, transportation, breakfast, lunch and snacks… It will also serve families with supports like a food pantry and GED programs and job placement service for parents.”  Continue reading

A Video Tells Our Story

We’re excited about our new video. It’s an overview of how City Connects gets the right services to the right child at the right time.

In the video, Julia MacEwan, a City Connects site coordinator, says:

“In order for kids to be successful in school, they need lots of different things. A kid might need a backpack, a winter coat. She might need counseling, a family service center. And those are all the kinds of things that your City Connects coordinator can connect you to.”

Eric Dearing — a professor of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology in Boston College’s Lynch School of Education — explains:

“One advantage of City Connects is that it takes a multi-pronged approach to solving a multi-pronged problem. The disadvantage – and also the advantages – that we see among families in poverty are not the same from family to family and child to child.”

And Mary Walsh, City Connects’ executive director, adds:

“We did it by relying on developmental science, and we worked very closely with practitioners in the community. We were able, in a sense, to create a system that built the proverbial village around a child.”

Please take a look.

Now Playing: New “Mini-documentary” about City Connects

We are pleased to debut a new “mini-documentary” about City Connects. You’ll hear first-hand from school administrators, community partners, and our staff about how City Connects’ system of addressing students’ unique strengths and needs positively impacts schools and student achievement.

The video features thre City Connects schools in Boston (the Eliot K-8, Dever-McCormack, and Quincy Elementary) as well as our partners Big Brothers Big Sister of Mass. Bay, UMass-Boston, and the Red Oak After-school Program of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center.

If you are interested in learning more or partnering with City Connects–as a district, school, or community partner–we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email.

Another 60 Minutes Piece on Children in Poverty

To follow up on a story aired last March about the sharp increases in child poverty, 60 Minutes last night continued its “Hard Times Generation” theme with a piece about homeless families living in cars in Seminole County, Florida.

Recently revised Census numbers show the child poverty rate hovering around 17 to 21%. Research shows that even housing insecurity–a step before homelessness–puts children at risk for poor health and developmental delays. A program in Seminole County schools, Families in Transition, is trying to help homeless children and their families by working with 50 partners in the community. Beth Davalos, a social worker with Families in Transition, said:

“The longevity of homelessness continues to rise, so people are running out of resources. The unemployment runs out. Their savings run out. The family that lent them money does not have it anymore ’cause they’re looking at economic hardship. And before you know it they find themselves living in their car because they ran out of all options.”

Watch the full 60 Minutes piece here:

Video: “Lending a hand to refugees in America”

This video, which aired on CBS Sunday Morning, shows how out-of-school factors impact a particular population: refugee families. The story is about Luma Muflah, who started soccer league for refugee children living in Clarkston, Georgia, calling them the “Fugees.” When they started asking Luma for help with their homework, she soon realized that the children were facing a host of other non-school factors that made school a challenge. She launched the Fugees Academy, a school for refugee children, which she hopes to expand to a 19-acre comprehensive and permanent school facility, called the Fugees Village.

For more information:

Community Partners Health & Wellness Breakfast: Video Posted

Over on our YouTube channel, we’ve posted video of the speakers’ presentations from our May 11 community breakfast, where the topic was “Creating Dynamic School Partnerships to Increase Health & Wellness of Students.” The 5 videos include:

  • Dr. Mary Walsh, executive director of City Connects, discussing  the critical roles health and fitness play in student success, as well as City Connects data about health and wellness services students receive.
  • Dr. Linda Grant, medical director, Boston Public Schools,  discussing prevention, intervention, and management strategies that schools can and are using to support children.
  • Jill Carter, executive director of health & wellness, Boston Public Schools, discussing initiatives in her department to support health and wellness across all schools in the district.
  • Simon Ho, principal, Josiah Quincy Elementary School, discussing how he implements a comprehensive and coordinated health and wellness program for students at the Quincy.
  • Patrice DiNatale, director of new practice at City Connects, discussing how City Connects integrates health as a core component of student support.

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.

Eliot School on the Today Show

The pre-k program at Boston’s Eliot K-8 School, a City Connects school, was featured on the Today Show this morning during their special Education Nation coverage. Principal Traci Walker Griffith invited Matt Lauer into the school to see how preparing children for the routines and rituals of being a student sets them up for success in kindergarten. Watch the clip here.

For more information: