Community-Building Focus in Advisory Draws Mixed Reactions


Aadesh Bamane, Contributor

For the first time in months, many SRHS students are on campus. Students might have a difficult time getting back in the swing with school and getting work done on time or have a difficult time connecting with peers. Advisory is a class that focuses on both those things. The school administration has rolled out a new mandate to keep students in Advisory on Fridays and only allow them to leave to get help from their teachers on Thursdays.

Before leaving to get help from the teacher they need to work with, the students have to get an ‘Advisory Pass’ that has to be signed by the respective teacher and their Advisory teacher. 

The focus of Advisory has shifted more towards team-building and creating a community. Ms. Farrell, responsible for putting together the Advisory presentations and our school’s instructional coach says, “We have just been through a pandemic, and we feel like there needs to be a way for people to build communities and Advisory is where we could do that.”

Furthermore, she says, “The goal of Advisory is to build relationships, not just with the student but also with the Advisor and to keep the content relevant in the slides to the students.” The challenge with creating the slides is that students in different grades have varying interests as to what they would like to see in the Advisory slides.

Andy Chew, a Junior at SR, says, “It’s annoying that I cannot leave Advisory on Fridays. The team-building exercises are ok but I should be able to leave my Advisory to get help from my other teachers.” 

Nelson Flores, a Senior, says, “I already have a free period so I just chill in the class. Mostly I like the class because of the school news, mental [resource] links, and college updates that are on the Advisory slides.” He agrees with Chew that people with less time on their hands would find the extra study time beneficial.

Mr. Peck, our school’s Assistant Principal says, “The main reason students can’t leave class on Fridays is that it’s a safety issue.” 

He explains that if a student from the Advisor’s academic class comes in contact with their advisory class for more than 15 minutes, they have to map the contact. Allowing students to come and go in different classes would complicate the mapping process.

Peck says, “We have been thinking about shutting down students being able to leave Advisory completely.” Rather the focus on Advisory would be on life beyond classes, how to write and check emails, looking at Aeries, things like that.

However Ms. Farrell, also our school’s Ethnic Studies teacher, when asked about why she thinks these changes are important, says that “From my perspective, since we only have twenty minutes of Advisory, keeping student in class does two things, first it keeps the students in the class so they will be able to engage in building communities. Second, it makes the Advisor available to be focused on the kids currently in the class to do mini-conferences, rather than being focused on their academic students.”

During the last grading period, several students were rushing to get their late work in to be considered for the progress report. Ms. Kuehle, a World History teacher, had issued several passes to her sophomores to retake a quiz. “More than half of them showed up to take it and so my Advisory class had to get passes to go to their other classes.”

When asked what she thinks would happen if the focus of Advisory was shifted more towards getting work done and in turn letting students go on Friday, she says, “I think it would help manage Advisory students but I think that math or English subjects would benefit the most since they require more hands-on assistance from teachers compared to social studies.”

There are mixed reactions to the changes in Advisory from the students ranging from different grades as well as different teachers. There was recently a Google survey sent out in Advisory classes to gauge how students feel about different aspects of the class and whether they have any suggestions about it. According to Ms. Farrell, our school’s advisory team will continue to work on it to make it a positive experience for the students throughout the year.