Advisory Should Strive to Increase Interaction Between Students

For over a decade, Advisory has strived to bridge the gap between eighth grade and freshman year. But although the goals of creating a sense of community and facilitating the transition between middle school and high school are worthy, Advisory falls short of reaching its full potential.The school should increase upperclassman involvement in Advisory, as well as put a greater emphasis on teaching students about the plethora of opportunities they have to get involved.

Advisory already gives students a good foundation on what Advisory teacher Tom Budd described as the “nuts and bolts,” such as how to use the SIS system. Many students find sessions that take place early in the year helpful. In later weeks, though, Advisory loses steam, and freshmen who would rather be in Tutorial feel that their time has been wasted with activities like worksheets on cyberbullying.

Advisory teachers could make more valuable use of their time by giving freshmen more in-depth information on the opportunities available to them. For example, the College/Career Center and peer tutoring can offer students lots of advice, but many students leave Advisory without knowing how to access them. Students are often unaware of resources like the Health Van.

Principal Wynne Satterwhite said the school already has plans to incorporate “menus” of activities for Advisory teachers to choose from. These would allow teachers to specialize their Advisory classes based on the students’ needs. However, the school could go further to help freshmen find their own personal niches at school. Extracurriculars and sports are vital parts of student life, and topics that Advisory should cover in more depth.

While Club Day allows freshmen to see all the clubs on campus, Advisory has the potential to give specific advice to individual students based on their interests. Currently, there are two upperclassmen assigned to each Advisory class. Beyond their experience and ability to relate to freshmen, having recently been freshmen themselves, upperclassmen who participate in extracurriculars could also encourage Advisory students to get involved. And because upperclassmen are familiar with campus activities, they can make specific recommendations to freshmen based on their interests.

This in itself could help foster the school community Advisory aims for. If students had more open discussions and question and answer sessions, they would get to know each other and the upperclassmen better. Freshmen would have an easier time integrating into the school if they had at least one upperclassmen they felt comfortable talking to.

Furthermore, if classes sometimes split off into smaller groups with upperclassmen leading discussions, freshmen would feel more at ease mingling with a smaller group of their classmates.