A love fest for students at Solid Ground’s Sand Point Housing campus broke out Tuesday, August 29 at the annual Back-to-School Meet & Greet. Hundreds of residents came to meet or reconnect with principals, counselors and staff from public schools throughout northeast Seattle.
“It’s a chance to introduce parents to the school,” commented Charlisse Hammond, as she helped guests to pizza and other goodies. Charlisse, who stepped in to oversee children’s programming at Sand Point this summer while Solid Ground Children’s Services Manager Kristin Klansnic was on leave, expanded the event this year to include schools beyond the core three of Sand Point Elementary School, Eckstein Middle School and Roosevelt High School.
In addition, Literacy Source came to talk about their support for people learning English or working on passing their citizenship test. Seattle Children’s Prevention Wins program provided information on a range of services that address childhood and adolescent issues.
Eckstein Middle School Principal Treena Sterk tried to explain how important it is for the schools to make these connections, but kept getting interrupted by students who wanted to give her a hug, say hi, catch her up on their summer, or hear about their favorite teacher.
“It’s all about making a positive connection before school,” Sterk said. “We’ve talked to more than 10 kids [of the 40 or so who will attend Eckstein this year] about their schedules, or the plan for our for 8th grader field trip to Camp Orkila. We were able to sit down with families and say ‘I really want you to go. No you don’t have to pay, but we need parents’ signatures.’”
Eckstein so values the evening, they sent a full team of eight administrators and counselors. During the school year, Eckstein counselors will have office hours on our campus. “Just know that on Tuesdays one of us will be here,” Sterk noted.
Of course, the evening is an investment in more than just a healthy start to the school year. It’s also about building long-term supportive relationships.
“I’ve been coming [to the Sand Point campus] now for three years,” Sterk said. “And now younger kids know me. They used to run around and grab my leg. Now, I know them. It is really important just to meet. I would like to meet more parents, but also the younger siblings.”
One mom stopped by to discuss her youngest daughter, who would transfer to Eckstein next school year. Sterk invited them to call and drop by any time for a tour. School tours and sitting down with families early help the school make sure nothing gets lost.
“There is a lot of energy, a lot love for these kids,” said Sterk. “There is a lot of wanting to help. … We are really invested in how we make school work for these students.”