Confidence, competence, and care: building social-emotional skills in Minneapolis

When C.J. McGowan became the City Connects Coordinator at Ascension Catholic School, she saw students who had many needs — and also many strengths.

“I saw a Catholic school in the north side of Minneapolis, which is the toughest side of the city, probably of the whole Twin Cities in terms of crime and poverty,” McGowan said recalling her early days at Ascension.

“There were a handful of kids who had gone through trauma. The trauma of immigrating. The trauma of being poor and not being able to afford food on a regular basis. There were academic needs and some intense behavioral health needs. And yet, there were a ton of resilient kids doing their best and doing pretty well.”

She knew that — in addition to addressing students’ comprehensive needs — building on strengths and generating feelings of competence and confidence could change the way these students saw themselves as learners and could help them thrive. So that is what she did. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/11/18

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:

Is there a 30-million-word gap between richer and poorer kids — or not?

The Federal School Safety Commission hears public feedback on school violence.

More high schools have low graduation rates, even though the overall high school graduation rate is up.

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

Leaping over language barriers at the Kenny School

“We’ve been talking a lot about how our parent council is great, but not reflective of our school population,” Danielle Morrissey says. She’s the City Connects Coordinator at the Thomas J. Kenny elementary school in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

“We were trying to strategize around how to bring in other families that aren’t involved in parent council — and about what the barriers might be, and language came up a lot.”

Language diversity is part of the fabric at the Kenny, where 35 percent of the school’s population speaks a language other than English. So Emily Bryan, the school’s principal, decided to reach out to more families by holding coffee hours in different languages. Morrissey helped organize and facilitate them. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 6/4/18

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:

School counselors are helping kids succeed — and facing cuts.

Teens are cyberbullying themselves: expressing self-hatred and depression.

Some states are lowering the goals for English Language Learners.

Fighting toxic stress in children.

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

A backpack and hope: third graders in Brockton help homeless students

While we are proud of the work that City Connects coordinators do to help homeless students, we are even more proud of the work that third graders at Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton, Mass., are doing to help their peers.

The third graders packed backpacks full of school supplies for other Brockton children who are in the third and fourth grade and are homeless.

“Remember miracles can happen. Dream big. Work hard,” one Trinity Catholic third grader wrote in a note to a child who will receive a backpack. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/28/18

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:

How being read to affects children’s brains.

The socioeconomic differences that impact summer learning loss.

Group therapy helps fifth graders build resilience.

Schools in Indiana work to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

High school graduation rates by state.

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

City Connects students in Salem give back to their community

Our approach of connecting students to the right services at the right time also creates opportunities for students to give back to their communities.

That’s what happened in Salem, Mass., when Brad Maloon the City Connects coordinator at the Collins Middle School worked with his colleagues to put together a team of students and staff who participated in the May 12th, 5K Walk for HAWC.

HAWC is a Salem-based nonprofit that provides free services to victims of domestic abuse and partner violence. Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 5/21/18

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:

Teachers want help finding evidence-based practices for addressing students’ behavioral challenges.

Young children’s self-control is influenced by their knowledge of how their peers are acting.

States need more data on preschool-age Dual Language Learners. 

As the population of students grows, the number of school librarians is falling.

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