I can't really explain it, but I think the school has a certain kind of magic. We haven't started yet, but I just got home from our freshmen orientation. We invite some of our advisory kids to come back to meet the new freshmen (our advisories are multi-grade) and show them around the building, etc. I think this year we had more returning students than freshmen. On top of that, we must have had at least a dozen kids that graduated in June! The small learning community has become a kind of family. Kids that I know would be disengaged in large schools came back and said how much they missed school this summer. I'll be teaching one section of seniors that I taught as freshmen and sophomores. I am as invested in the decisions that these students make with regard to college as I am with my own children. There is something to be said for teams of teachers dedicated to a specific group of kids.