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Welcoming Practices

Creating Schools that Support Students and Families in Transition

Ron Avi Astor, Linda Jacobson, Stephanie L. Wrabel, Rami Benbenishty, and Diana Pineda

Publication Date - October 2017

ISBN: 9780190845513

152 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

At a time when schools are increasing attention on students' social and emotional development, this book gives educators practical strategies for supporting a specific segment of their population-highly mobile students.


Students change schools for a variety of reasons, and some students change more often than others -- a reality that can leave them feeling emotionally disconnected and often academically at risk. Welcoming Practices summarizes the research on school transition and makes a case for why schools need to do a better job of welcoming new children and families and following up with them over time.

Arriving at a moment in history in which schools are increasing attention on students' social and emotional development, this book captures the innovative practices that some institutions are using to connect with new students and provides practical strategies that all schools can use to make both students and parents feel a part of the school and community. The book discusses how to use technology to improve families' experiences in their new schools, provides strategies appropriate at the school and district levels, and gives schools suggestions for practices that are best suited for younger students as well as for those at middle and high school levels.


  • Features a thorough review of the research on student mobility.
  • Considers the power of technology in improving school transitions.
  • Shares helpful strategies appropriate for welcoming younger students and older students.
  • Shares strategies for following up with new students and families.
  • Includes lessons from the business community and discusses the role of community partners.

About the Author(s)

Ron Avi Astor, PhD, MA, MSW, is Stein-Wood Professor of School Behavioral Health at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in the University of Southern California. His work examines the role of the physical, social-organizational, and cultural contexts in schools related to school violence (e.g., sexual harassment, bullying, school fights, emotional abuse, weapon use, and teacher/child violence), and has documented the ecological influences of the family, community, school, and culture on different forms of school violence. Currently, Dr. Astor is applying knowledge gained from these prior studies to improve climate in military-connected schools.

Linda Jacobson is an award-winning education writer and editor whose coverage spans the early-childhood years through the transition into college or a career. In addition to reporting, she has worked with researchers, think tanks and nonprofit organizations to translate complex education topics for average readers. Her experience also includes organizing professional development conferences for journalists and advising writers on covering education issues.

Stephani Wrabel, PhD, MEd, is an Associate Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests include student mobility and schools serving highly mobile enrollments, the design and effects of federal and state accountability policy, military-connected students and schools, and the quality, accuracy, and use of data to inform policy and practice.

Rami Benbenishty, PhD, MSW, is Professor at the Louis & Gabi Weisfeld School of Social work in Bar Ilan University. His main area of academic focus is the safety, welfare, and well-being of children in community normative settings (such as schools) and in out-of-home placements (such as foster homes) and residential care. Dr. Benbenishty is an advocate for children's rights in Israel and around the globe.

Diana Pineda, MSW, MHA, is the Project Director for Welcoming Practices. Previously, Pineda was the project manager for Building Capacity in Military-Connected Schools based in San Diego. Pineda had worked with the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families as a project manager for a study that educated and empowered veterans and families through the use of technology. She is co-author of several health research articles and co-author of the Pupil Personnel Guide for Supporting Students from Military Families. Pineda is also an adjunct lecturer at USC and consults as a Problem Solving Therapy (PST) trainer. She earned a psychology degree from the University of California, Irvine, and Master's degrees in social work and health administration from USC.


Winner of the 2019 SSWAA Book Award

"[Improving] the welcoming practices within the school environmentwould benefit everyone, including social workers, school staff,school families, and especially students." -- School Social Work Journal

"The book [is] only 89 pages, yet it contains many strategies and ideas for educational leaders who are willing to facilitate the transition period of their new students. Additionally the ook adds to our understanding of the critical role of educational leaders and teachers in effective integration of new students into their school and evokes new lines of research and thought in [the] educational administration field." -- Journal of Educational Administration and History

Table of Contents

    Why Welcome?
    Chapter 1: What Do We Know About Student Transition?
    Chapter 2: Mobility in Student Data Systems
    Chapter 3: The Voices of Students and Parents
    Chapter 4: Making Virtual Connections
    Chapter 5: Connecting in Person
    Chapter 6: Welcoming Younger Students
    Chapter 7: Welcoming Older Students
    Chapter 8: Lessons from Business
    Chapter 9: The Role of Staff and Community Partners
    Chapter 10: The Importance of Following Up
    Chapter 11: Preparing for the Next Move
    Appendix A: Resources
    Appendix B: WelConnect App
    Appendix C: Sample Surveys for Welcoming Newcomers
    Appendix D: Research