In the Middle School, each student is assigned an advisor, who teaches at his/her grade level and will be assigned to a different advisor when entering the next grade. Advisors and advisees meet every day in small group sessions; additional individual meetings take place as needed. Each advisor contacts the parents of his/her advisees before the Middle School Open House in September and schedules parent conferences in November and February. Advisors may present portfolio collections—student-gathered evidence of patterns and accomplishments—to parents at the conferences later in the year.
Advisors are members of grade-level faculty teams that meet weekly to discuss individual students, sharing information and strategies they communicate to the student and parents. The faculty team meeting also includes the curriculum coordinator and the division head. Over time, these teams of teachers inspire and learn from each other, develop expertise in their students’ developmental characteristics and acquire a finely tuned sense for effective curriculum. Counselors and Learning Resource teachers who work with the same students enrich the teams’ insights, ensuring a common experience and serving as a resource for all teachers.
In the Upper School, the advisory system serves as a student support system. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who serves as the primary contact among the student, teachers and administration. Advisors come to know each advisee in the areas of academics, discipline, social life and character. Advisors meet with advisees in small-group sessions each week, provide weekly attendance reports for the Dean’s Office and initiate additional individual meetings as needed. Advisory allows students to know faculty members on a more personal basis and assures that a faculty member knows the student when the need arises.
Each advisor schedules meetings with the parents of his/her advisees during the first eight weeks of the school year. The advisor and parents can discuss how the advisor works with students on academic issues and establish mutually acceptable guidelines for communication with the home.