RYE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

Advisory Program 2014

Middle School Rationale:

Middle School students go through the most dramatic, physical social/emotional and intellectual changes of any school aged child.  During these three years students will forge lasting relationships with peers and adults, become more independent and begin to form their own identities. Middle schools are designed to meet these changing needs in a variety of ways.  

In an effort to better communicate with parents, provide a personalized education for our students and to provide support for each other in maximizing our students’ school experience; the advisor/advisee program has been established.

Purpose:

The Advisory Program at RJH creates small communities of 7 to 11 students that will have the same teacher/advisor for the entire school year.  The advisor serves as an important support and advocate for this group of students.    

Method:

Every subject area teacher is an advisor and assigned a student Advisory group. Students will meet with their advisor at the start and end of every school day and additionally there will be a longer advisory block once a week to work on the monthly theme.   The first and ongoing priority is for the advisor and student to establish a personal connection. The advisor’s role is to build a relationship and trust with each student in his/her group. This is achieved by the advisor and students greeting and “checking in” with each other every morning. The advisor becomes the go-to adult for the student when they need consultation, guidance, or help processing a situation throughout the school year.  Students and advisors will work on structured activities such as community building, goal setting, anti bullying discussions, community service projects and transition to the next grade.

Overarching School Wide Theme:

The Advisory program is built around the personal connections between student and advisor. Activities are built around the theme of CARIT (courtesy, accountability, respect, integrity, and tolerance).  These themes are consistent throughout the building but the approach with advisories will be age appropriate (6th, 7th, and 8th grade) for effectiveness.


Year Long Schedule by Theme:

  • September/October- Community Building/Red Ribbon Anti-Drug Campaign

  • October/November- Goal Setting/Healthy Habits

  • November/December- Caring for the Bigger Community

  • January/February- Tolerance/Acceptance/Goal Setting Revisited

  • March/April- Smaller Community (Team Focused Activities/Community Garden/World Language Week)

  • May/June- Goals Going Forward/Transitioning to the Next Grade

This schedule is flexible to adjust to timely needs or topics that may develop during the school year.


Advisory Communication

Advisor:

  • There will be an initial introductory parent contact by the advisor at the beginning of the school year.

  • Advisors will be checking in with parents periodically as to their child’s progress.

Student:  

  • Advisor and student communicate daily through the Advisory program

  • Advisor and student will establish student goals with parent input (if possible).  

Parent:

  • Parents contribute by completing the Partnership with Parents form, which is distributed at the end of August.

  • Completed Partnership with Parent forms are given to each student’s advisor for daily reference and for use at team meetings.  

  • Parents are encouraged to contact the advisor at any time to check on their child’s school experience.

  • A discussion about the advisory program will be a component of our fall open house, at which time the whole process will be communicated to parents.

Team:

  • All advisors attend weekly grade level team meetings (if possible) dedicated to discussing students in their advisory. They will communicate what is going on with individual students in their advisories and find out what is going on in classes to help advisors stay connected with their students.

  • There is an advisor meeting for teachers once a month after school to discuss program and processes.

Benefits

  • Students will have personal connection with their advisor throughout the school year. Over three years students will have three separate adults as advisors.

  • Students will develop positive relationships through small group interaction within their advisory.

  • Messages important to adolescent development will be delivered in a consistent method.

  • Advisors will communicate with receiving teams, progress, goals and overall perspective on students at our annual May teacher workshop day. The advisory program will help facilitate these conversations as advisors will have a good understanding of the whole child.

Final Thoughts

National Middle School Association defines an advisory program as an arrangement whereby one adult and a small group of students have an opportunity to interact on a scheduled basis in order to provide a caring environment for academic guidance and support, everyday administrative details, recognition, and activities to promote citizenship. This is what we continue to strive for at RJH.  Advisory programs are an intricate part to a middle school.  Although we are a small school, these smaller groupings allow for relationships to form within these small groups.  An advisory creates a dynamic where an adult can advocate for students within school where challenges abound no matter how supportive the environment.  

The National Middle School Association (NMSA) says the five goals in creating an advisory are:

  • Promote student-teacher relationships

  • Address general self-esteem and competence beliefs

  • Provide social exchange and peer recognition in a safe environment

  • Link parents and school

  • Mediate between academic and social concerns

These concepts are nearly synonymous with the goals of the Learning Compact.  The main purpose of the advisory is to continue to institute the Learning Compact.  That is Rye Junior High School’s intent and we hope all students will benefit.  

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