So after reflecting on last week’s Leadership Conference, and listening to student concerns at our most recent 8th Grade Leadership Team meeting, it has become obvious that the state of our Advisory Program needs to be addressed. Let me start by saying that I am in total support of an effective advisory model, and in theory I believe that advisories can truly enhance the trust, communication and community of a school. Listening to recent student, parent, and teacher feedback however, suggests that it might be time to re-focus, and that an overhaul may be in order.
After reading a dozen or so articles, and checking out a few interesting websites that celebrate effective school advisory programs around the globe, it appears that successful advisory models support five key areas of student need……………
- The promotion of Student-Teacher relationships
- Student self esteem and self confidence beliefs
- The opportunity for social exchange and peer recognition
- The link between parents and the school
- The mediation between academic and social concerns of students
It also suggests that a quality design for an effective advisory model looks something like this………..
- careful organizing, planning, preparing, implementing, and monitoring.
- guidance department and administration support.
- teacher, parent, and student input and active involvement.
- teachers/advisors trained and committed to teaching young adolescents.
- relevant, ongoing professional development opportunities.
- regularly scheduled meeting times.
- Length of advisory meetings–20 to 40 minutes, uninterrupted.
- Number of students assigned to advisory groups–10 to 20 students.
Now as we all know, we are doing a few of these things very well at our school, and I believe that our students are better because of the program that we currently have in place, but if we want to go from good to great, we need to always look for areas that can be improved…………..and our Advisory Program is a good example. Greg and I have had preliminary conversations about what a re-vamped program might look like, and we’ve come up with some creative ways to implement a quality design for next year. What we need now is your help, your input, and your experience so we can all take ownership of the new model. There will be an Advisory Overhaul Meeting on Tuesday, March 8th for those of you interested in joining an Advisory Committee, which will meet regularly with a true focus on bringing our advisory program to life. I hope to see many of you there, and of course I will send out more information in the upcoming days. My request to you all this week is to think about our current model and try to identify what works well and what needs to be improved. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…………
Advisory can be more than a program. It can be expanded to develop quality teacher-student relationships and to become an integral part of the curriculum, as in schools that use advisory time to review portfolios with students and assess progress individually and holistically.
– National Middle School Association
Article #1 – Advisory Groups Help Turn Around a Washington High School Advisory Groups Help Turn Around a Washington High School
Article #2 – Running a Secondary Advisory Program Running a Secondary Advisory Program
Article #3 – What’s Needed to Get Advisory Groups Working Well What¹s Needed to Get Advisory Groups Working Well
Advisory Website with Research Articles – http://educationnorthwest.org/news/1497