Understanding Why City Connects Works

City Connects

We’ve known that students who participate in City Connects during elementary school do well on middle school assessments of academic achievement. However, we know less about why that’s true.

What leads to the academic gains that City Connects provides?

New research is shedding light on this question by looking at the impact of three things: how elementary school academic skills, elementary school thriving skills, and the amount of time spent in City Connects affect academic achievement.

These research findings will be presented tomorrow at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness.

One of the research papers that will be presented asks whether an additional year of City Connects boosts students’ academic outcomes. This paper will be presented by Diego Luna Bazaldua, a post-doctoral researcher who is part of an independent evaluation team of faculty and researchers within the Center for Optimized Student Support at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

Luna Bazaldua says this research is “as close as you can get to a real experiment.” That’s important since researchers haven’t run randomized trials on City Connects because we deliver the intervention to every child in a school. Continue reading

Research at City Connects: 4 Things We Know; 4 Things We’d Like to Know

City Connects

Research is a crucial piece of what we do.

The City Connects evaluation team operates independently, analyzing data from City Connects programs and producing peer-reviewed studies.

So there’s a lot we know about boosting students’ success — and there’s more that we want to know.

Here’s a quick rundown: Continue reading

New Conversations – A Policy Brief

Students at the Saint Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, MA.

 

We think it’s a new moment — and it’s full of new conversations.

Science is increasingly talking about how and why connecting kids to the right services helps them succeed.

We explore this conversation in more depth in our new policy brief, “Principles of Effective Practice for Integrated Student Support.”

We’ve known for decades that what happens to children outside school can help or hurt how well they do inside school. What’s new is that we’re talking about the complexities science has found. We know, for example, that:

• Every child is unique and that children’s development happens across a range of domains — academic, social-emotional, and health — and in a range of settings that include home, school, and communities.

• Strengths and risks act together. As we say in the policy brief, “There is a delicate dialogue between risks and strengths, where a child’s protective resources such as positive relationships, talents or interests may or may not help to mitigate the impacts of risk factors like deprivation, abuse, or anxiety,” and

• Development occurs over time and it can be disrupted by chronic adversity and trauma, also known as toxic stress. Development can also be helped by effective interventions that help a child get back on track.

Continue reading