Advisory is an opportunity for students to meet with a faculty advisor and a small group of peers. This weekly meeting helps students feel connected to a small group (10-12 same-grade students) of peers within the larger school community and provides a safe space for students to reflect and share. Each faculty advisor works to build a unique advisory culture so that their group feels a sense of belonging to something special.
For students, faculty advisors:
- Act as a student advocate
- Help students navigate their own experiences
- Provide academic guidance for course selection
- Ensure students are on track for fulfilling graduation requirements
- Foster student social-emotional growth
- Offer organization strategies and support
- Strategize solutions for students to resolve differences with teachers and peers
- Connect students with the resources they need to be successful
For families, faculty advisors:
- Serve as the first line of communication; answer questions
- Connect families with resources within the school
- Coordinate academic and support plans
- Provide insight into your student’s day to day experience at school including understanding each student’s overall academic and social-emotional well-being
Advisory at SAAS
Advisors work closely with grade-level teachers, coordinators, counseling, and administration, to be a clear conduit of information and support between school and home. Advisory activities and meeting structure evolves at each grade-level in alignment with students’ age and developmental stage. However, the core mission of advisory remains consistent from Middle School to Upper School.
In the Middle School, students are assigned a new advisory group and faculty advisor each year of their Middle School experience. In addition to going through orientation and opening days together as a group, advisory meets 2-3 times a week. Monday morning community gathering is either an all Middle School meeting or an extended advisory. During extended advisory, faculty advisors lead curriculum for social-emotional learning. Curriculum is chosen and tailored to grade-level appropriate experience and incorporates topical school community conversations and real world events. Topics include online citizenship, understanding and developing empathy, healthy friendships, and respectful language.
Advisory also meets 1-2 times per week during a scheduled morning or afternoon break. This time is used informally, to connect and check-in, but also to clean out binders and to stay up-to-date on work and remain organized. Activities include announcements, sharing highs and lows from the week, writing in gratitude journals, and playing games together. Advisors also use this time to individually check in with students and help facilitate any support plans that are needed.
In Middle School the faculty advisor helps to facilitate parent-teacher conferences.
In Upper School, students are assigned advisors beginning in 9th grade and remain in the same advisory group through graduation. Advisories meet once per week during a scheduled break time. The activities during this time are not prescriptive. Advisory is a space where faculty advisors can check in with students, disseminate important information, play games or tell stories, and simply give students a break (and often a snack!) in their busy day.
As students enter the Upper School, we believe students will choose their mentor, not be assigned one. While sometimes the advisor becomes a student’s go-to adult and mentor, often that mentor is their coach, a teacher of a favorite class, a trip leader, or a staff member they’ve connected with in the halls. The faculty advisor’s job in the Upper School is to help students track and navigate their academic load, be the primary contact for parents, facilitate parent-teacher conferences, and know who the mentor is for each of their students - whether it is advisor or not.