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
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.
As anEdSurge 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 →
As we expand into more schools, we continue to see growing benefits for children, the schools themselves, and their larger communities.
At the heart of our work is helping students navigate the challenges of poverty. As the report explains:
“The impact of poverty outside of school contributes to inequality in educational outcomes,” indeed, researchers have found that poverty is “the single most critical factor to address in education reform.”
Schools can’t do this work alone. They need “a systemic approach to addressing out-of-school disadvantage,” and that’s what City Connects provides. Every City Connects school has acoordinator who conductswhole class reviews and builds trust and relationships. Coordinators then draw on these data and the relationships to connect all of their schools’ students to a customized set of support services and enrichment programs that are provided by both schools and a range of community partners, from YMCAs to colleges.
A post by Mary Walsh, Executive Director of City Connects and the Daniel Kearns Professor of Urban Education and Innovative Leadership at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
Welcome to the new academic year. We think it’s full of promise.
Across the country, there’s growing awareness about the importance of providing integrated student support — school-based coordination of the services and enrichment programs that help children learn and thrive.
National organizations such as Child Trends are advancing this work. And state and federal laws are asking schools to provide more integrated support, providing funding to do so, and looking for efforts that are evidence-based. In other words, the demand for programs like City Connects is growing.
City Connects’ systematic approach to providing support and enrichment is making a positive difference in the lives of children and families. Because we proactively ask what students need, we are gradually eliminating the stigma of asking for help when tragedy or trauma strike. Our coordinators are creating positive relationships with families, making it easier to reach out when support is needed.Continue reading →