If there’s one thing that everyone knows about and yet simultaneously knows very little about, it is the plan to implement a High School advisory system next year. What has been confirmed is the arrival of such a system in the coming school year, that much is clear, but, from what we understand, the details of it are still being decided.
As an Editorial Board, we are admittedly skeptical about the idea to implement advisories. However, we do understand that this decision has already been made, so instead of dwelling on the past, we instead would like to discuss the most beneficial way, we believe, that this system can be implemented.
What we do know is there is a healthy and organic procedure being followed as to the implementation of the advisories. The administration fully plans on including both the faculty and student body in the decision-making process to decide aforementioned unspecified details. This will provide a much needed forum of student input by which our perspective can be heard in sculpting the incoming advisories. If a student has something they want to suggest or say about them, the administration will be providing all the outlets for them to do so. In short, this will be a community-driven addition to our schooling, rather than a top-down imposition.
Taking this into account, we urge students to take advantage of this opportunity – after all, it will be us that this change most deeply affects. There are certainly a lot of positives that can come from this system and so our plea is that the students, faculty and administration work together constructively to realize this system’s full potential.
With that, this Editorial Board would like to put forward the manner in which we see advisories should be implemented into our curriculum.
Our dream model for an advisory program would resemble something like a high school adapted version of Grade 8 advisories. Advisories would be formed containing students from only one grade level, in a maximum group of 12. Having students of the same age and grade experience would nurture a grade-wide spirit that would ultimately pander to the general High School; we think an attempt to mix grades would only create a forced awkwardness between an already disjointed student body.
We also urge an avoidance of over-complication. There is no need for us to incessantly meet with our advisories – once a cycle will do. Similarly, there is no need to force advisories to follow some set curriculum or to force bonding time of whatever sort, (circa pre-Alternatives group meetings). If the main reason behind creating advisories is to improve connections between different students and teachers, and we do believe that advisories are a great way to do this, let it happen in a casual, organic manner.
This is all this Editorial Board really wants. We do not want advisors to be given lists of activities, we don’t want advisory curricula, we do not want a list of goals or criteria for an advisor or students to reach. All we want is a place where natural relationships and connections can develop. If it means seniors discussing their plans for the next semester with a teacher for a half hour, that’s great. If it means discussing what we did on the weekend as an advisory, that’s great too.
We understand, though, that some guidelines must be provided to ensure every student has the same advisory experience. To that end, we would like a curriculum that only guides advisors, allowing teachers to have freedom and creativity in leading their advisory. It should cover things such as ensuring that students discuss goals at least twice a year, and activities to aid the bonding process.
In the end, an advisory just needs to be a place where students can make bonds and form a support network, and not much else. In the end, who could really argue against a system that achieves these types of goals with minimal disruption?