Administration and staff at Chaminade Julienne testified before members of the Ohio Senate Feb. 26 about the effectiveness of the school’s dynamic student support program, known as City Connects.
The Tuesday evening hearing -- organized by Senate Education Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Senate Public Safety, Local Government & Veterans Affairs Chair Frank LaRose (R-Copley) -- was the second of two Statehouse sessions focused on addressing school safety.
In front of a special joint Senate committee, John Marshall, principal, and Jama Badinghaus, student support coordinator, presented the City Connects at CJ program as a model of support that promotes healthy childhood development and curbs tendencies that can lead to bullying. Educators from several Ohio public school districts also addressed the committee.
“Hearing testimony from the three superintendents who spoke before us truly affirmed everything we’ve been doing at CJ for the last three years in terms of providing student support,” Marshall said. “The City Connects program has encouraged faculty and staff to get to know more about each one of our kids personally. By doing so, we’ve been able to identify issues before they can impact a student’s ability to learn.”
City Connects at CJ is designed to maximize academic growth by tapping into existing resources that will meet a child’s social and emotional needs. This process begins with holistic individual student reviews. Based on a student’s strengths, weaknesses and needs, a tailored set of services is provided with opportunities for follow-up. The model demands input from students, parents, teachers, and counselors, and seeks out collaboration with community agencies and partners where possible.
“Counselors can be very proactive with the services they suggest because the program is driven by the data that's collected from all parties involved,” said Badinghaus, who doubles as a counselor in the guidance office.
City Connects is based on a model developed by the American School Counseling Association. The program was initiated by Boston College in 2001 and aimed at serving grades K-8. With support from a local private foundation, Boston College expanded programming to Ohio at two Dayton Catholic schools: Our Lady of the Rosary began offering City Connects’ optimized student support system during the 2008-09 school year, and CJ was chosen to pilot the program at the high school level beginning in the 2010-11 school year.
The next step, said Badinghaus, is to adapt the program again to work in a college setting.
"This February, we hosted a planning team from Sinclair Community College for a dialogue with CJ faculty and staff about building a City Connects model at the post-secondary level,” Badinghaus said.
“Our collective goal is to help this whole program move forward in Dayton.”