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City Connects

City Connects

City Connects Logo SmallWhen you’re hungry, you can’t learn. When you’re homeless, you can’t do homework. When you’re worried, or sad, or angry – you can’t concentrate. Out-of-school challenges diminish a child’s ability to learn and shine, especially in high-poverty urban school districts. City Connects takes a systemic, cost-effective, multi-year approach to address the out-of-school factors that limit student learning. This practice makes a significant impact on students – now and for years to come – including better academic performance, improved attendance, and higher graduation rates. Schools that partner with City Connects receive a wide-range of tools and resources and will have a full-time coordinator who works one-on-one with students, families, and educators.

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What is City Connects?

What can your school gain from City Connects?

In-School Support - A full-time site coordinator becomes embedded within the fabric of the school and student-support team, collaborating with teachers in every classroom to review the strengths and challenges of every student every year.

Tailored Support For Every Child - Site coordinators create an individualized support plan for every student by leveraging a comprehensive range of crisis intervention, prevention, and enrichment services that already exist inside and outside the classroom.

Data-Driven Results - Site coordinators track and evaluate results in real-time to ensure every student receives the appropriate support at the right time. School leaders also have access to our system called MyConnects, which houses individualized student-support plans and focused reports.

City Connects Right Supports Chart

City Connects Student Support Chart

Site coordinators work with every student to determine the level of support needed: crisis intervention, prevention, or enrichment services. Ongoing evaluations ensure the student continues to receive the right support with adjustments made to each plan as needed.

City Connects Elementary School Chart

City Connects Two Bar Charts*Results after three years of implementing City Connects*

Who are we, and how can we support your school?

The City Connects Midwest Technical Assistance Center is part of the Marian University Center for Vibrant Schools and serves as a one-stop shop for schools during the launch and ongoing implementation of the City Connects practice. The TAC is composed of skilled staff who are experts in the practice and have extensive experience working with students, educators, and schools. Our team can assist with:

  • The implementation and delivery of the City Connects practice;
  • The hiring, training, professional development, and ongoing coaching of a school’s site coordinator;
  • Problem solving student challenges alongside site coordinators and school leadership; and
  • Technical support with the MyConnects database system.

Meet the City Connects Midwest Team

Jillian Lain

Jillian Lain, MA
Director, City Connects Midwest
(219) 510-3474
Huntington Hall, 012

Margaret Smith

Margaret Smith '14, MSW
Assistant Director of Internal Affairs, City Connects Midwest
(317) 822-6822
Huntington Hall, 012

Megan Bettelon, MSW, LSW
Program Manager, City Connects Ohio 
(937) 674-7038


Abe Manlove title=

Abraham (Abe) Manlove, M.Ed., MS
Program Manager, City Connects
(316) 680-8361
Huntington Hall, 012

Akua Miller, MSW
Program Manager, City Connects
(317) 822-6827
Huntington Hall, 012



Jessica Murphy

Jessica Murphy, MSEd
Program Manager, City Connects Indianapolis
(317) 822-6825
Huntington Hall, 012

Matt Sheldon

Mathew Sheldon
Technology Specialist, City Connects Midwest
(317) 955-6794
Huntington Hall, 012


Gretchen Zientek, MS Ed
Program Manager, City Connects
(316) 822-6774
Huntington Hall, 012

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