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Director of Academic Transition and Student Success
Isa has the experience, education, and drive to make a difference in students’ lives. That’s crucial to the success of this exciting new program. We want all students at Latin to feel like this is their home, that they are seen and appreciated for who they are, and that they belong here. I look forward to working with him on this important initiative that is part of Latin Leads, our strategic plan.
– Chuck Baldecchi, Head of School
Have you met Isa Stokes? He’s new to Latin this year and our first Director of Academic Transition and Student Success. His job is working with students new to Latin and new to independent schools to ensure their transition to life at Latin is positive and successful. He also works with students new to Latin from other independent schools whose curriculum doesn’t exactly align with Latin’s. These students may need additional support in an academic area or social/emotional learning assistance. He covers it all, closely working with students—with even daily touchpoints—to ensure they get the comprehensive support they need to thrive here.
To understand Stokes’ passionate commitment to education, you must know his history. He grew up in inner-city Baltimore; he’s the first in his family to graduate from college, and he’s a committed lifelong learner currently working towards a Master’s degree in Talent & Organizational Development at the McColl School of Business at Queens University. As a youth, Stokes was selected to participate in a program for students to attend an independent school for high school—which led him to The Asheville School, a boarding school for grades 9–12 in Asheville, NC. The experience was life-changing. He saw first-hand the transformative potential of education, establishing a lifelong commitment to using his education for the betterment of others.
Stokes is Latin’s founding Director of Academic Transition and Student Success. As such, he is charged with designing a program structure to best support the successful transition and retention of students and their families. The structure must also support the many issues affecting comprehensive student well-being. Currently, he works with 22 students, meeting with them frequently, even daily. “I think of myself as a bridge between Latin, the students with whom I work, and their parents. I’m here to make the transition easier,” said Stokes. “Working with parents to continue the support at home is an important part of the process.”
How students are supported is wide-ranging and may include working on executive functioning skills, pacing, academic coaching, emotional support, and a bridge summer program in the future. “We work at a fast pace here at Latin,” said Stokes. “Many incoming students are not prepared for the pace.”
Students who aren’t new or in transition have also benefited from this new program, because, as he points out, “As a community we all are in transition, and the social emotional support is beneficial to all.”
A tool Stokes introduced is the Legend Planner (available on Amazon). Students use this to organize their Latin lives, set personal goals, articulate their dreams, focus energy on what’s most important, and achieve balance in their lives. The Legend Planner has been so successful that other areas of the school are introducing it to their students.
The highly collaborative position entails working with school leadership, colleagues, students, and their families to organize and implement missionaligned initiatives. Key internal partnerships include the Academic Leadership Team, Deans of Students, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As Stokes says, “Access alone is not enough. This work is an important part of Latin’s strategic plan. I’m grateful for the assistance and support of the many who work with me to ensure all of our students feel a sense of belonging at our amazing school.”
Read more about Isa Stokes