Partnering with City Connects makes a difference for students, schools, and families. For community agencies, involvement with City Connects means serving students better.
"City Connects helps me do my job. If there is something going on, I have support in the classroom, and the beautiful thing about all of it is that if I have support, then I can support the students. And there are a lot of teachers who don’t have support."
In the 2012-13 anonymous survey of teachers at City Connects schools, 98% percent of the 175 teachers responding in Boston and 91% of the 106 teachers responding in Springfield answered “yes” to the question “Are you satisfied with City Connects?” Additionally, 97% of Boston and 91% of Springfield respondents would recommend City Connects to a teacher in another school.
In addition to these basic satisfaction questions, the survey asked teachers to report their satisfaction with the support School Site Coordinators (SSCs) provide to teachers, the school as a whole, and students. The table above shows the percentage of teachers satisfied with the supports the School Site Coordinator provides in each area.
The table shows high levels of satisfaction across all types of support. The slightly lower percentages in Springfield are due in part to the fact that middle school teachers, new to City Connects in 2012-13, reported slightly lower levels of satisfaction than elementary teachers, who were in their second year of implementing the model. For example, although the table reports 85% satisfaction with support to teachers for Springfield overall, the percentage rises to 88% when only elementary school teachers’ responses are analyzed. This pattern is consistent with that seen in implementation
over time in Boston.
One of the most important components of School Site Coordinators’ work with teachers is the Whole Class Review process. This process gives School Site Coordinators the information they need to tailor services for students. City Connects has learned that the Whole Class Review process enhances most teachers’ non-academic knowledge of their students, which in turn informs their work in the classroom. In 2012-13, the majority of teachers agreed that the Whole Class Review process enhanced their awareness of their class as a whole and students as individuals; see the table below.
The results in the table above suggest that teachers find the Whole Class Review process led to new knowledge and awareness, both of individual students and of the dynamics of their class as a whole. Findings from this section of the survey begin to shed light on the complexity of how the City Connects intervention affects the work of schools, showing that the majority of teachers not only report higher levels of awareness of the context of students’ lives, but also an increase in empathy for students.
These quantitative findings are echoed and expanded upon in open response survey items. Teachers were asked, “What would you say to a colleague is the most important benefit to City Connects?” A majority of responses cited benefits to students, and many of the comments revealed that the close collaboration with teachers that leads to greater understanding of students as individuals was viewed as integral to these benefits. Example comments include:
“Our City Connects coordinator is … not only resourceful and proactive because she establishes and strengthens relationships with community partners, but she simply knows and cares about the students. Talking with her about individuals is always helpful to understanding how students think, get motivated, and ultimately learn.” —Boston teacher
“The connection they make with the students and their families and the information they pass on to the teachers. Their willingness to listen and consider our concerns. They provide a place where students feel safe and valued.” —Springfield teacher
“It is wonderful to have someone who knows about behavior plans available for support. I have learned about making them more realistic for children, and more in line with promoting success.” —Boston teacher
“The school has gained a watchful eye toward the emotional and academic needs of all students, and also an experienced [professional] that can function between the worlds of school counselor and teacher.” —Springfield teacher
“City Connects helps us access services within the community. When students have specific needs City Connects almost always has a resource to help…” —Boston teacher
Teachers reported they recognize the services City Connects arranges are appropriate to the individual student. The survey asked teachers whether they agreed (yes/no) with the statement, “The support and enrichment services most students receive are a good fit for their needs.” Agreement was high: in Boston, 93%, and in Springfield, 90%.
At the same time, the teacher findings and comments above reveal that for teachers, the way these specific matches are established between students and particular supports matters. In the CCNX model, the connections are made teacher by teacher and student by student. Through this process, teachers gain insights into their students and their classes that deepen their empathy and help inform their strategies for reaching individual students.
Citation: The Impact of City Connects: Progress Report 2014, p. 41-44.