Just before the start of the school year, administrators and educators at International Community School (ICS) took a bus tour of the Clarkston area to get a first-hand view of where the school’s students live. Along the way, they viewed at least a dozen neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Teachers and administrators then met students and their families for a celebration party at Milam Park. During the celebration, they played soccer and ate with students and families. The purpose of the tour and the celebration was to build relationships with the community and for educators to get a better understanding of their students’ home lives.
ICS Builds Bridges With Families
“We took the teachers on a tour of Clarkston because it is very important that our parents, and students know we care enough to learn about their lives outside of school,” said Community Engagement Liaison and fourth grade teacher Beth White. “When teachers’ are familiar with where a child comes from both physically in terms of where they live, and mentally the teacher can connect with the student on a deeper level. When students see that teachers’ took the time to visit their neighborhoods, students feel safe and connected. This connection carries over to the classroom setting and allows for mutual understanding and respect.”
School leaders say what makes International Community School unique is its student population: half of the school’s students are immigrants and refugees. The other half of ICS’ student body is comprised of students born in the United States.
As the school year kicks off, ICS Principal Chad Velde-Cabrera is excited about the school’s academic progress. On the most recent Georgia Milestones assesments, Velde-Cabrera said the school’s fifth graders performed above the state average in Mathematics. He also said the school’s fourth and fifth graders showed tremendous growth from the prior year.