Often City Connects grows because of, well, connections. That’s what happened when Una Shannon came from Ireland to Boston College to be a postdoctoral fellow. Shannon learned about City Connects and shared our work with Eugene Wall, the president of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, as well as sharing it with ministers from the Irish National Government.
The result: Irish educators are planning to launch a City Connects pilot program this fall in 10 Dublin schools.
“It strikes me that any ‘school person’ who hears about City Connects tends to have an ‘aha’ moment,” Shannon says. She’s a former teacher who earned her bachelor’s degree from Mary Immaculate College. “It just makes sense to support the whole child, to have a strengths-based perspective, and to have a systemic, systematic, and sustained approach to student support that’s in rhythm with school life.”
It’s budget season in Ohio, and last week, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and other state officials, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, visited Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton to see City Connects in action.
Husted is encouraging his state to increase its investment in students’ success.
“We believe that this is a replicable model that can be used in public schools and other schools across the state,” Husted tellsWHIO Television. “And we want the new money that’s being put into the budget to serve these students to go to programs like this.”
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 theI 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.