By Dean McGuire Reed City Middle School Principal \u201cBoth research and common sense tell us many of the problems among today\u2019s students\u00a0are rooted in the fundamental desire of individuals to belong to a group a group where they are\u00a0depended on, respected, and supported.\u201d (Oregon Department of Education, May 2000) \u201cIn a society of increasingly fractured family units, many students have to face their academic,\u00a0social and emotional problems on their own. Advisory groups create extended families, where\u00a0students can consistently find peer support and caring, responsible adults.\u201d (Dale,1995) Research tells us our students need more than reading, writing and arithmetic. At Reed\u00a0City Middle School, our team has created \u201cfamily groups\u201d and every student is a member of a\u00a0school family. Each teacher or counselor at the middle school has approximately 17 students in\u00a0his or her family group. These \u201cfamily groups\u201d have three main purposes: First, it provides each\u00a0student with a sense of belonging. It would be great if every student belonged to an\u00a0extracurricular team or group, but that isn\u2019t the case. We are trying to create that special \u201cgroup\u201d\u00a0for all students. In addition to students belonging to a group, family groups give all students an\u00a0adult advocate. Students are in the same family group, with the same adult, from sixth through\u00a0eighth grade. Our adult family leaders are able to build strong relationships with our\u00a0student body. Lastly, it gives our students a voice. Our students are able to share ideas,\u00a0concerns and help develop plans to improve the way we conduct our business at RCMS. Currently, our family groups meet for 45 minutes 12 times per month. Students eat lunch with\u00a0their family groups and discuss a variety of topics. Those topics include: bullying, random acts\u00a0of kindness, leadership, goal setting, making good choices\/decisions and community service.\u00a0We also use our family groups for track and field day, winter Olympics, community service and\u00a0positive behavior competitions. With all the challenges facing today\u2019s middle school students, we feel it is very important for\u00a0our students to belong to a group where they have a voice and are supported by a caring adult.