Skip to main content

“City Connects results offer powerful support for what should be common sense: when we address the challenges poor students face both within and beyond schools, they flourish.” –Learning First Alliance “Public School Insights” blog


Leah Lindsay
Director of External Relations


July 3, 2014

Deserving of Celebration: Public Education Done Right

Huffington Post Education

"As we celebrate America's independence, and the bicentennial of Francis Scott Key's penning of the Star Spangled Banner, let's also celebrate examples of comprehensive approaches to education that are doing it right and seeing great results. In Boston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American revolution, City Connects celebrates its fifteenth year of providing comprehensive supports to students by leveraging community assets and connecting them to each students' unique needs."


June 24, 2014

Impacting Academic Achievement through Student Support

ASCD "The Whole Child" blog

City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh authors a blog post about the findings in the newly-published Impact of City Connects: Progress Report 2014. "Our longitudinal research demonstrates that for children who attended City Connects schools in grades K–5, the beneficial effects continue into middle and high school. We can definitively say that the City Connects system of student support makes a positive and long-term difference in the lives of children."


June 19, 2014

New Report Details Positive Outcomes for City Connects Students, Schools

A new report about the City Connects intervention demonstrates that addressing the out-of-school needs of students living in poverty has a significant and lasting impact on academic achievement. The report, The Impact of City Connects: Progress Report 2014, summarizes outcomes of the City Connects evaluation for academic year 2011-12 in 16 Boston and 5 Springfield, MA, public elementary/K-8 schools.


May 28, 2014

Big Sisters Recognizes Quincy School as Community Partner of the Year

The Big Sister Association of Greater Boston named the Josiah Quincy Elementary School as its 2014 Community Partner of the Year. The award recognizes the Quincy’s sustained commitment to Big Sister’s mission to serve girls and families through mentoring programs. The award was accepted by Catherine Riede and Nicole Young, the City Connects School Site Coordinators at the Quincy.


April 29, 2014

City Connects at the GradNation Summit

City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh was a panelist at the GradNation Summit in Washington, DC, today. To an audience of policymakers, practitioners, and educators, Walsh and co-panelists the recent Child Trends report, “Making the Grade: Assessing the Evidence for Integrated Student Supports.”


March 11, 2014

"Making the Grade" Child Trends Webinar on Student Support Now Posted

City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh participated in a webinar hosted by Child Trends related to its recent report, “Making the Grade: Assessing the Evidence for Integrated Student Supports.” Child Trends Senior Scholar Kristin Anderson Moore presented the report’s findings, which look at the existing evidence from programs providing supports to students, including City Connects. Joining Mary Walsh as respondents were Daniel Cardinali, President, Communities In Schools and Jane Quinn, Vice President for Community Schools at The Children’s Aid Society and Director of the National Center for Community Schools.


February 25, 2014

Child Trends Report on "Integrated Student Supports" Features City Connects

Closing educational achievement gaps is central to improving social mobility and increasing opportunity. Integrated student supports (ISS) is one promising approach for promoting academic success that is taking hold in communities across the country. But what are integrated student supports, and are they effective at improving educational outcomes? Child Trends did a comprehensive examination of the research and evidence base for ISS, including City Connects, and ISS's potential to help a range of disadvantaged, marginalized, or struggling students. City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh will participate in a March 6 webinar about the report.

February 24, 2014

The Experts Have Spoken: Integrated Student Supports Improve Educational Outcomes

Huffington Post Education

The release of a major new study from Child Trends is one of those rare occasions when the word "seminal" would seem to be completely appropriate. Titled "Integrated Student Supports: The Evidence," this report is the first rigorous, independent analysis of all the existing research in the field of integrated student supports (ISS). After evaluating 11 separate studies, nine very different providers, and three disparate models of ISS delivery, one of which is City Connects, researchers found measurable decreases in grade retention, dropout rates, and absenteeism, along with measurable increases in attendance rates and math scores.


February 3, 2014

Six Foundations Give Big to Reduce High School Dropout Rates

Inside Philanthropy

For the 2012-2013 school year, the high school dropout rate in Boston Public Schools was 4.5%. This is a 1.9% decrease from the previous year, totalling 391 fewer student dropouts. Actually, this is the lowest rate BPS has ever seen. To get that percentage even lower, the Boston-based Barr Foundation is giving big to City Connects' efforts in Boston Public Schools.


January 27, 2014

The Barr Foundation Awards City Connects $1.4M to Support Students in Boston Public Schools

The Barr Foundation has awarded City Connects $1.4 million over 3 years to continue implementing optimized student support in Boston Public Schools. The Barr Foundation has been a lead funder of City Connects since its inception and their ongoing support enables City Connects to continue offering student support to 18 Boston Public schools.


January 9, 2014

Article on School–University Partnerships Published by City Connects Executive Director

City Connects Executive Director Mary E. Walsh recently authored a paper, "School–University Partnerships: Reflections and Opportunities." Co-authored by Ph.D. candidate Sarah Backe, the article was published in an issue of the Peabody Journal of Education focused on the promise of universities in school reform


December 10, 2013

City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh Named to Boston Mayor-elect's Transition Committee on Education

Mary E. Walsh, Executive Director of City Connects, has been named to the Education Transition Committee for Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh, who will take office in January 2014.


November 4, 2013

City Connects Partners with the Children’s Aid Society to Deliver Student Support in
New York City

City Connects has partnered with The Children’s Aid Society of New York City to pilot the delivery of optimized student supports to the C. S. 61 Francisco Oller elementary school, a community school in the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx, beginning in January 2014.


October 22, 2013

Closing the opportunity gap with data, systems, and support

“Teachers cannot do the work of counselors and social workers,” educators told Mary Walsh when she inquired many years ago about how schools were addressing the out-of-school challenges of students living in poverty. Along with these educators, Walsh recognized that factors such as homelessness, inadequate health care, and community violence may seriously affect academic achievement. Over the past 15 years, Boston College Professor Mary Walsh has led the development of an organized approach to addressing these and other barriers that interfere with students’ ability to learn and succeed in school.


October 16, 2013

Two new grants allow expansion of City Connects' early childhood and evaluation efforts

City Connects has received two new grants this fall. A 3-year, $530,000 grant from the Better Way Foundation will extend City Connects’ recently adapted early childhood system of student support to all City Connects schools and evaluate its immediate and long-term impact on learning and development in the early childhood population. Additionally, a 2-year, $150,000 grant from the GHR Foundation will support a cost-benefit/social return on investment analysis of City Connects’ system of student support.


September 17, 2013

City Connects Expands in Boston with Grant from the Charles Hayden Foundation

City Connects has expanded into two additional Boston Public Schools for the 2013-14 academic year, made possibly by a grant from the Charles Hayden Foundation. This support enables City Connects to implement its model of optimized student support in the Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood and the Sarah Greenwood K-8 School in Dorchester.


July 7, 2013

Sinclair gets $100K to develop program to help students graduate

Dayton Daily News

Sinclair Community College has invested in a pilot a program that will connect students with the resources they need to overcome barriers in their lives and graduate. The college will also receive support from the Mathile Family Foundation in Dayton to adapt the City Connects program from a model that aids students in kindergarten through high school to one that helps adults pursuing higher education.


July 1, 2013

City Connects partners with Sinclair Community College

City Connects is partnering with Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH, to adapt the model of optimized student support to the community college setting.

June 10, 2013

Support All Students to Close the Achievement Gap

ASCD's "The Whole Child" blog

City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh authors a guest blog post about how schools can counter the effects of poverty on students. She advocates for a comprehensive, systematic approach to student support for each and every child in a school.