Photo by Julie Dermansky

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded a four-year, $2.5- million evaluation grant to City Connects, the award-winning student support intervention program within Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

The three-part study will be conducted in 41 schools in urban districts in Massachusetts and Connecticut, encompassing more than 20,000 K-8 students.

“From the beginning, we have been committed to ongoing research to examine the efficacy of our work,” said City Connects’ Executive Director Mary E. Walsh, the Lynch School’s Daniel E. Kearns Professor of Urban Education and Innovative Leadership. “We are grateful to IES for the opportunity to analyze student performance in multiple ways, and ultimately, to strengthen our case that City Connects plays a crucial role in positive outcomes for students.”  

The Institute of Education Sciences' overarching priority is research that contributes to improved academic achievement for all students, particularly for those whose education prospects are hindered by inadequate education services and conditions associated with poverty, race/ethnicity, limited English proficiency, disability, and family circumstance.

City Connects has provided systematic, research-based support to students in high poverty, urban elementary schools since 2001. The program addresses out-of-school factors that can affect students’ ability to succeed and thrive academically.  In practice, City Connects offers a defined protocol for a counselor or school social worker to collaborate with every teacher to support every student with accompanying tools to track the work, understand student progress, and demonstrate effectiveness.

“City Connects is a national model for integrating comprehensive in- and out-of-school student support, which exemplifies the 'formative,' whole person approach to education we take at the Lynch School,” said Stanton E.F. Wortham, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J. Dean of the Lynch School of Education. “The IES-funded research will significantly deepen our understanding of the program’s effectiveness, and create a prototype for replication nationally.”

The Lynch School of Education endeavors to improve the human condition through undergraduate and graduate education and applied psychology through excellence and ethics in teaching, research, and service.

The Institute of Education Sciences is the independent, non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education.  Its mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

—University Communications