Theory Behind City Connects

For all children, life outside of school affects what happens in school. For children living in poverty, life outside of school may include hunger, a stay in a homeless shelter, or medical needs that are difficult to meet. Low-income families may have less time and fewer resources to invest in homework help or extracurricular activities for their children. Chronic financial stress may cause a parent to have lower-quality interactions with his or her child.

Research shows that poverty has harmful consequences for children’s achievement and other domains of development including health, family, and social-emotional outcomes. These domains interact, with consequences for one multiplying across the others. Effective student support must pay attention to each of these areas in the interactions students encounter in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods, tailoring any intervention to the particular risks and strengths of individual children and to the ways risks and strengths change and interact over time.

Schools are a place where teachers, school staff, families, and community partners can come together to support each student. However, in many places, schools lack a system for providing this support that can serve all students (not just those at most risk) and that can connect students to a comprehensive set of services and enrichments. City Connects offers a defined practice for a counselor or school social worker to collaborate with every teacher to support every student. Our tools permit schools to track this work, understand student progress, and demonstrate effectiveness.