City Connects: Student support helps low-income children thrive

City Connects: Student support helps low-income children thrive


City Connects is an evidence-based and a
school based approach to addressing the out-of-school needs of low-income
children. Challenges that significantly impede their ability to learn and thrive.
We do that by identifying the strengths and needs of a particular child, one
child at a time and every child, and then accessing the resources in the community
to complement the needs and strengths of the child. In order for kids to be
successful in school, they need lots of different things. The kid might need a
backpack, a winter coat. She might need counseling, a Family Service Center, and
those are all the kinds of things that your City Connects coordinator can
connect you to. One advantage of City Connects is that it takes a multi prong
approach to solving a multi pronged problem. The disadvantage and also the
advantages that we see among families in poverty are not the same from
family to family and child to child, so children are coming to the door, and they
have many cognitive and learning strengths. They can maximize those
cognitive strengths. We’ve got kids who are coming in with significant amounts
of trauma or significant amounts of food insecurity or housing insecurity and
those things can play out in a kid’s school day. What they come into the
building with is what their teachers are going to address, what I’m going to
address, what the principal is going to address. We have people who are tied to
this neighborhood, both who are the families and who are the teachers, and it
really is a community school. It’s not just academic success. They provide a
different support, and a lot of times if you hear people’s stories, sometimes it’s
hard for us to comprehend what happened at home. It was started back in the late
90s. We did it by relying on developmental science and we worked very
closely with practitioners in the community. We were able, in a sense,
to create a system that built the proverbial village around the child. From
the outset, City Connects was very concerned with collecting data to be
able to evaluate the impact of the program, and even more importantly, to
provide information that can be used to refine the program and improve it so that it could be more effective and more efficient. We see pretty dramatic impacts
on academic achievement. Their dropout rate in high school was half when we compared them to a group that was equivalent. Teachers have long known that these out
of school needs make a difference, and they’ve done amazingly well in some
cases of getting resources for children, but that’s not their job. When they have
somebody in the building that can help them do that, they become very engaged. If we can scaffold the right supports around the right child and use existing
services and enrichment opportunities, then we’ve figured out a system to build
the village.

1 Comment

  1. Obianuju Orjioke says:

    Love this

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