An advisory program facilitates these kinds of relationships and provides the structure that creates "connectedness" in a middle school. Connectedness is a characteristic of school cultures in which students have meaningful relationships with adults within the school, are engaged in the school, and feel a sense of belonging to the school. School connectedness is linked to higher grades, higher test scores, and lower dropout rates, regardless of students' socioeconomic status (Blum & Libbey, 2004; Jackson & Davis, 2000; Klem & Connell, 2004; Mac Iver & Epstein, 1991; McNeely & Falci, 2004; National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2006). Moreover, schools intentionally organized to promote personalization and the development of communities of learners better prepare adolescents for later success as adults (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989). It is particularly urgent for middle school educators to improve school connectedness, because the roots of alienation take hold during early adolescence.