FOCUS with Starr Commonwealth's Chief Clinical Officer Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Connections Assessments

One of the strongest protective factors to foster resilience in children is to feel a strong connection to at least one caring adult in any part of their life – home, extended family, school, community, etc. As students return to school, the feeling that there is at least one accessible and trusted adult for them in their building will improve their desire to come to school and lower anxiety while they are there.  Conducting a “Connections Assessment” is a simple activity to ensure every student has a connection to one or more adults in your building. Circulate a document that identifies each student by name or photo to each adult in your building. Ask adults to indicate each student to whom they feel connected. Then, distinguish the students who have little to no connections from those who have many. For students in need, link them to at least two adults in your building who will make intentional bids to connect with them every day. These meaningful interactions do not have to take a lot of time but are powerful when repeated over time. Connections happen through non-verbal gestures such as smiles and waves or by saying hello and asking a question or two. The goal is for students to have at least one adult who notices them every day.

Not sure where to start? Download our simple “Who Am I?” worksheet for kids to teach you more about themselves.

Download the Who Am I worksheet

By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, oversees all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma-informed, resilience-focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including Starr’s SITCAP© model programs.

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact or call 800-837-5591.