The purpose of the advisory program is to strengthen communication among students, between faculty and students, and to develop communication links between the school and home. Over the years, CHS Advisors have worked with thousands of students and families successfully fulfilling the program objectives using a multitude of materials and processes. The easiest way to describe our program is to say it is a system of group guidance. With over 2,800 students it would be impossible to maintain the informal family atmosphere we have created without the Advisory Program. This program has been one of the main contributors to the success of CHS. This was documented when the U.S. Department of Education selected CHS for the Excellence in Education Award in 1983-84, and again in 1992-93 when CHS was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
What is the Advisory Program?
Advisory is the name given to a period of time each day during which a teacher (advisor) meets with a small group of students (usually 15-20) for the purpose of communication. This program encompasses every student in the school and nearly every faculty member. The Advisory Program serves as an affective behavior organizational program and makes school management efficient, personal, and predictable. In addition to communication and daily school management functions such as attendance and student record maintenance activities, advisory can provide a vehicle for group guidance activities. Students are assigned to an advisory group and to an advisor when they enter high school and they stay with that specific group until graduation. Advisories are made up of students all of whom are in the same grade level and have the same unit assignment.
Who is an advisor?
An advisor is a faculty member who has been charged with the responsibility of spending a daily block of time with a small group of students (advisees). Advisors are in-serviced on expectations for the advisory and given assistance with extended advisory activities. Advisors stay with the same group of advisees for their entire high school experience and are given opportunity to get to know their students in a non-academic setting. This setting allows affective education to take place. One of the main responsibilities of the advisor is to communicate with the home. Advisors conference and meet with parents at least twice a year, and are given copies of each advisee’s interim reports, grade cards, discipline forms, and career information. The advisor serves as the link between the student, the school, and the home.
What happens during a normal daily advisory?
Advisory is a 21-minute block of time which starts each school day. The official school attendance is taken during the advisory period. Messages or “mail” is given to the student by the advisory that has received it in his or her mailbox. Morning announcements are viewed via the Channel One TV from the Centerville News Network. There is time available for student-to-student interaction as well as advisor-to-advisee interaction. In many cases, an advisor will use the advisory time to check in with students on their progress in classes, their co-curricular activities, their goals, and general events going on in their lives. The informal communication that occurs during this time is one of the main strengths of the program. Through the advisor’s leadership the attitudes of caring, friendship and trust are developed.
The CHS advisory program is strongly organized around a group guidance concept which incorporates the student, teacher, and home in a close knit triangle. These entities, working together, create bridges which allow communication to flow between the concerned parties on academic, co-curricular, social and personal interests.
Emphasizing the social relationship within each advisory is very important. Fun activities, service projects and guided learning experiences establish stronger friendships among the advisees and between the advisor and the advisees. Service projects at school and in the community are excellent team building opportunities. The connection and communication link of advisory, advisee, parent, and guidance staff establishes a strong and sound base of information and data from which clear alternatives and future decision can be made. This base of solid information gives advises many advantages in dealing with life’s challenges and decisions.
Besides meeting on a daily basis for 21 minutes, extended sessions are held periodically to concentrate on planned tasks. These extended sessions are usually 33 or 45 minutes in length.
The advisor works with the advisee(s) on one of four themes for the year. The program themes or goals are as follows:
9th Grade - “Orientation” - Adjustment to the CHS environment
10th Grade - “Exploration” - Careers and life’s opportunities
11th Grade - “Action” - Planning for the post high school experience
12th Grade - “Transition” - The reality of life after CHS
There are quarterly “pillars” with differentiated activities that align with the grade-level themes. The “pillars” will focus on connections, community, character and choices.
Advisors have the flexibility to enhance the methods and means of successfully accomplishing the specific program objective. Grade level advisors are encouraged to collaborate and share their activities sometimes joining two advisory groups of students together for special activities. The use of guest speakers such as guidance counselors, administrators, psychologists, specialists, parents, and community representative is encouraged in order to bring the real worked into the classroom. Each program level has different areas of expertise that should be tapped to enrich the advisor’s resources. Advisors receive in-service in advisory level meetings prior to each extended advisory. Advisors may also plan activities of their own which will embellish and enhance the stated goals of the program. Advisors are encouraged to share resources and activities via the G:Drive. This plan should also be shared with the unit principal prior to the day of the session.
Records and demographic information on each advisee are kept by the advisory during their four-year experience. The confidential records can be used as good resources for advisory-parent conferences, scheduling decisions, and personal guidance opportunities. Tracking of the advisee’s high school academic and co-curricular experience through scheduling and grade reporting, resulting in communication with the students and family is deemed valuable and a necessity.