The Middle School Advisement Program provides what every adolescent needs: A personal champion.
Every staff member in the Middle School is assigned a small group of 10 to 12 advisees they shepherd through the year. Because the groups are small, the advisor’s level of involvement becomes intense. Advisors mentor their young charges to meet their developmental, social, emotional, physical and academic needs. Every child needs to know there is an adult at school who that child can associate with, one adult the child can go to. It doesn’t have to be the advisor but that’s a start. Every child should feel he, or she, can go to one adult for help.
Because the groups are so small, the advisors get to know the students well and the students become support groups at a time when friendships are changing and new students need to be assimilated. One of the goals is for a child to become a self-advocate. Students often do not understand that they can take control of their lives at school. The role of the advisor is to give them the tools to do take charge and help it happen.
Through regular sessions with their advisement groups, teachers focus on three key segments of the program:
- Character education: Teachers often present videos on difficult situations and then follow up with discussions and role playing. This forum offers positive responses to the typical stresses facing children of this age and gives them a catalog in their minds of ways they can respond.
- Study skills: The advisement period is used to help students become more organized. Advisors check schedules to make sure students are prepared for the work they need to do and help students get their lockers and homework folders in order.
- Academics: Advisors use electronic records to check on the progress of their students, make sure missing assignments and tests are made up, tutor or arrange for extra help if they cannot provide it, and advise parents about what kind of support students need at home.