When most adults reflect back on their middle school days, they’re plagued with the memory of an awkward adolescence! A typical middle school student will grapple with increasing responsibilities, challenging coursework, sustaining friendships, exploring their own individuality and dreams for the future. The challenges of adolescence are the same at Glasgow Middle School, but with over 1900 students it’s even harder to find yourself and your tribe. Girls particularly find it difficult to navigate relationships with their peers, especially when facing a conflict. They wanted an outlet to connect with each other and express themselves. That’s how Awesome Blossoms came about! Through [...]
One of the things that makes Arlington unique is just how resource-rich it is. There are different organizations active in the county that cover needs from food and clothing to job placement and legal aid. Despite the abundance of assistance, those in need very rarely hear about all the support available to them. To bridge this gap Communities in Schools held its first annual Resource Fair at Wakefield High School! CIS invited more than 200 families from the area to attend the fair along with 15 service providers to spread information about their different programs. Many of the organizations present (including the [...]
Last month, seniors across the country partook in the celebration of their high school accomplishments through their graduation ceremony. Arlington Community HS graduates were no different as they celebrated-- what was for many—an arduous and hard-earned road to the finish line. Royal blue caps and gowns, swaying tassels and the constant glimmer of camera flashes capture only a small glimpse into the world of graduation for our students. Walking across that stage set a precedent, as many students were the very first in their families to receive a High School diploma. The gratitude expressed by graduates to CIS NOVA and the ACHS [...]
Communities in Schools has partnered with the Arlington Soccer Association's Read Madrid program to bring after school soccer to Barcroft the past three years. This year, third and fourth graders developed soccer skills in addition to strong relationships with their teammates, coaches, and CIS Site Coordinator while working to reach goals on and off the field. CIS believes pairing students with caring adults sets them up to achieve in school and in life. We are grateful to the Arlington Soccer Association for their dependable coaching and leadership of students in the soccer program!
The Barcroft Mentoring program led by Communities in Schools wrapped up with a final event the last week of school. CIS believes that when students are paired with a caring adult in a one-on-one relationship, positive change occurs. This truth became reality over the course of the year for 25 students at Bacroft who were paired with 25 teachers, staff, and community volunteers as mentors. Each pair met weekly for half an hour or more of one-on-one time, and all pairs gathered monthly for exciting events. The final celebration included decorating a gift of a framed photo of each mentor-mentee pair, enjoying [...]
Have you ever heard your favorite children's story read in another language? Barcroft Elementary first graders got the opportunity to hear the story One by Kathryn Otoshi in English, Spanish, and Arabic during reading time recently. Communities in Schools strives to meet the needs and celebrate the unique characteristics of every student and their families, including those whose native language may not be English. Exposure to a variety of languages gives students a chance to experience what some of their classmates may hear when they are at home. What a fun way to learn about one another!
Two of Barcroft's CIS of NOVA volunteers received much-deserved recognition and a raffled gift last week at Bacroft's annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea. Cristian and Sydney help out each week by distributing bags of food to students in conjunction with CIS's partnership with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Over 20% of Barcroft families participate in this program, which gives families supplemental groceries for the weekend for each child in the program. We couldn't do the work without the help of AFAC and our volunteers. Thank you!
Barcroft Elementary's 5th grade class visited Howard University on April 4th. The goal for the trip was to expose students to college and excite them for their future college and career options. Students spent a beautiful morning on campus completing a scavenger hunt, during which they learned about significant alumni for whom many of the buildings are named at this historically black university. In addition to this rich lesson in culture and history, students got a "taste" of college life in the dining hall at lunch, much to everyone's enjoyment. We appreciate our great hosts at Howard University!
“Starting at a new middle school I thought everyone would help me get through it, but that’s not what happened. My journey was like a roller coaster ride going up and down, with many unexpected challenges. I didn’t know much English and I struggled to speak well. Some days it crushed me, but I knew I couldn’t let it affect me - I was here for a reason. I eventually met Ms. Rula at CIS and she believed in me. With her help I kept studying, learning new things and doing things I never thought possible. And now, I’m the proud president [...]
Although the importance of Family Engagement is quickly gaining recognition across schools, it still means a lot of different things to different people- from principals, to teachers & staff, to parents and the community. Everyone agrees that closer collaboration with families impacts student success and achievement, but a shared responsibility and common practice is yet to develop. Yes, traditional school-wide family engagement events are plentiful - from Parent Teacher Conferences, to Open houses, Back-to-school nights and other one-and-done activities. The challenge with most of these events, is they do little to foster meaningful relationships and real connections between parents and the school [...]