We often talk about the power of connection and how Communities in Schools works to build connections with individual students to support their success. But it’s also powerful to see how connections within our organization can facilitate student success. In reviewing the list of new students who were enrolled in the International Academy on the first day at Hammond Middle School, I noticed a new student, Edwin, was coming to us from Barcroft Elementary School, another CIS of NOVA site here in Northern Virginia.

I immediately contacted my colleague at Barcroft and was able to set up a conference call between the Site Coordinator and School Counselor at Barcroft and myself and the School Counselor at Hammond. Before Edwin even set foot in the building we were able to have a team in place to welcome him and identify classes that would challenge him and continue to  tap in to his interests in art and sports and help him to continue to grow in learning English and finding community at his new school. We were able to make connections between the resources Edwin and his family received in Arlington and put names to faces for who would help with those same resources here in Alexandria, making the jump from an old school to a new school and from elementary school to middle school just a little less scary, and a little more familiar.

As we put the finishing touches on this first week of a brand new school year, I am excited to see familiar faces returning to our classrooms and equally thrilled for all the new faces coming through our doors. We have a big new year ahead of us and I can’t wait to share all the incredible things that Edwin, and the rest of his classmates here at Hammond, accomplish in these next 180 days.