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We’re proud to share one of our videos on how City Connects works. Principals, community partners, and City Connects staff all help tell the story of meeting students nonacademic needs to help them thrive in school.

“We’ve been able to transition from a school in crisis to a stable school focusing on literacy thanks to the support from City Connects.”
– Mike Sabin, Former Principal, the John W. McCormack Middle School in Boston

“Just in the last two months, we provided a new pair of shoes to each of our children and a new winter coat. For impoverished families, it’s a big deal.”
– Robert Kordenbrock, Red Oak After School Program, Boston-Chinatown Neighborhood Center Continue reading

City Connects in Springfield: results and the importance of integrated student supports

We’re excited to share a new article in CommonWealth magazine that tells the story of how Springfield is using City Connects to help its school children thrive.

The article — “‘Wraparound’ services helping kids succeed: Expansion of City Connects program to Springfield” – was co-authored by Daniel J. Warwick, Superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools, and Mary Walsh, the Executive Director of City Connects.

“When Children walk into their schools,” the article begins, “they make everyone feel what they feel. Teachers, principals, even superintendents can all feel the burdens students carry, especially those who struggle with poverty and despair. Some children talk about their challenges. Others don’t. Either way, educators and administrators feel the weight of the hunger, homelessness, mental health challenges, incarceration of parents, and other hardships that many children bear. We have to feel it, because being connected to children is the only way that we can successfully do our jobs. Continue reading

How City Connects Keeps Learning

Graduate student researchers Despina Petsagourakis and Agnes Chung

City Connects is constantly learning. We learn from the experiences of our City Connects coordinators and the national array of schools and communities in which we work. And because City Connects is based in Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, we are also learning from different scientific fields about how we can make City Connects better. Once we have this knowledge, we go out and share it.

This cycle of learning was on display last week when Agnes Chung and Romita Mitra – both graduate students at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education – went to a Harvard Graduate School of Education conference to share two research posters about City Connects. The theme of the conference was “Spanning the Divide: Building Bridges through Research.” Continue reading

Seven Things We Know from the Developmental Sciences

Because science tells us more and more about how children’s brains work, we’ve gotten better at providing children with the services and opportunities they need to thrive.

Our Center at the Boston College Lynch School of Education published a brief on the scientific foundation of our work called, “Principles of Effective Practice for Integrated Student Support,” which explains:

“Developmental science illuminates risks to child development and learning, as well as opportunities for meaningful intervention.”

“This research provides insight into why experiences like poverty and trauma can inhibit learning, and what can be done to counteract their effects.” These insights come from the sciences of psychology, human development, cognitive science, and neurobiology.

What do we know, so far? Continue reading

The Clayton Christensen Institute Highlights Education Trends

City Connects Saint John Paul II: Columbia Campus

What will educational innovation look like in 2017?

In a recent blog post, the Clayton Christensen Institute – “a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation” — shares its insights on key trends.

One trend: “Wraparound services will get a boost—hopefully for the sake of learning.”

“New metrics, like school climate or social and emotional progress, are likely to generate demand for interventions that attend to nonacademic factors of students’ experiences.” Continue reading

The Power of Communities to Provide Health Care

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While many schools provide full or part-time nurses as well as other health services, their efforts — and budgets — often can’t keep up with the need. Increasing numbers of children are growing up in disadvantaged circumstances, and as a result, more children have health problems that interfere with their ability to learn.

“Children who are poor have higher rates of hospital admissions, disability days, and death rates. They have inadequate access to preventive, curative, and emergency care and are affected more frequently by poor nutrition,” Dr. David Wood wrote in 2003 in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Continue reading