The Weekly Connect 12/13/21

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Early childhood math instruction has long-term benefits. 

Federal funding for homeless students is being bogged down by red tape and a lack of urgency among some state officials. 

The country needs a plan to address the learning loss of students with disabilities.

To read more, click on the following links.

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Mobilizing generosity: connecting kids to clothes in Salem

In 2016, the Clothing Connection started giving clothes to children in one of Salem’s public schools. The small nonprofit focused on the kids at the Carlton Innovation School, providing basics such as sweatshirts, socks, and sneakers so they could participate in gym class. 

Today, the Clothing Connection is a City Connects community partner working in multiple schools, and it’s a great example of City Connects’ practice of helping students by mobilizing existing resources.These resources are often health services, spots in day camps, and, yes, clothes. But the story of the Clothing Connection is also a story about mobilizing a community’s generosity.

“When you send your children to school in a district, you get a more complete and complex view of the needs in that district,” Susanna Baird says. She’s a co-founder of the Clothing Connection and the mother of two Salem students. 

“Having a pair of sneakers means that you can go to gym and recess. I don’t know about anybody else’s kids, but when my kids were little, gym and recess were pretty important to making it through the rest of the day, probably more so in the winter, when you come home and you can’t run around outside that much. Many kids don’t have the winter gear they need to go outside.” 

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The Weekly Connect 12/6/21

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Researchers find more first graders are behind in reading because of the pandemic.

Most states are investing American Rescue Plan funds in education

Minnesota schools are focusing on students’ growing mental health needs

To read more, click on the following links.

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Responding to a crisis with integrated student support – a research article

research articleIn the middle of the pandemic, schools with systems of integrated student support (ISS) had an advantage. They were able to pivot to meet the rapidly changing needs of students and families.

A newly released research article — “Leveraging Integrated Student Support to Identify and Address COVID-19-Related Needs for Students, Families, and Teachers” — explains how one evidence-based ISS system, City Connects, has helped schools meet students’ needs. 

A key theme: systemic support matters. 

The research draws on several sources: surveys of City Connects Coordinators conducted in the spring of 2020 in 94 schools across six states; a database of the student services these coordinators provided; and on coordinators’ estimates of the three most common challenges schools faced when they were closed.

Published by AERA Open, the article was written by Courtney Pollack, former Senior Researcher on City Connects Data and Evaluation Team, and now a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a researcher at MIT; Maria Theodorakakis, Senior Manager of Clinical Practice and Research; and Mary Walsh, City Connects’ Executive Director.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 11/29/21

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Educators are worried about standardized test scores that are lower than they were before the pandemic. 

More than 20 school districts extend the Thanksgiving break by adding mental health days

English learners in New Jersey are being “ignored.”

To read more, click on the following links.

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Happy Thanksgiving: City Connects in Southbridge, Mass.

One of the things we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving are schools that have just started implementing City Connects this school year.

This includes all six public schools in Southbridge, Mass., which cover pre-K through 12th grade and a therapeutic day program.

We’re also grateful for the six coordinators in these schools who geared up for Thanksgiving!

Three community partners – House of Destiny Church, Lifesong Church, and Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church – provided Thanksgiving holiday baskets.

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The Weekly Connect 11/22/21

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Transgender students need adult support in school. 

Schools use federal Covid relief funds to focus more on students’ mental health

One driver of the digital divide: families can’t afford broadband service

To read more, click on the following links.

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Schools are on the front lines of the nation’s mental health crisis: integrated student support is a key strategy

A new opinion piece for the education website K-12 Dive discusses how schools are doing more to address students’ comprehensive needs in the middle of the pandemic. The article highlights the positive role of evidence-based, integrated student support approaches, including City Connects.

In the article, author Joan Wasser Gish — Director of Systemic Impact at Boston College’s Center for Optimized Student Support, the home of City Connects — writes that educators have been expecting the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic.

Wasser Gish writes:

“Budget decisions made long before children and youth returned to in-person, full-time school anticipated that children undergoing a year and a half of isolation, deprivation, stress — and in many cases, trauma and grief — would return to school with a range of social, emotional and mental health needs.”

School districts in different cities are taking different approaches.

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