By Tara Hale, Director of Student Support Services
Learn more about the value of advisory for our students and school community.
Why advisory? This is a great question that I have been asked numerous times during my years here and even more so as we expanded our advisory to our upper school last year. My response comes naturally because we want every student to be known at Field. Our advisory program is an essential time to support our core values. Our advisory program helps students develop relationships with adults and with peers. I personally place a lot of value in the student and advisor connection, as students are more likely to thrive when these are made.
As we examine and re-examine our advisory programming to meet the needs of our students, we continue to focus on key components: academic oversight, social-emotional learning, and of course, creating small communities with social opportunities. Allocating advisory time within the school day allows advisors to conference with students to discuss their school work, strategize how to approach projects, and establish personal goals. This one-on-one time between advisor and student helps to identify if additional support is needed in all realms of school life. Zooming in on the social component, or as some students have referred to it as “forced family fun,” having students participate in lighthearted games and activities is essential to help foster a sense of belonging and connection. Playing a competitive game of charades, taking a grade-wide scavenger hunt, or implementing a debate over which is better—pancakes vs. waffles is more than a few minutes of fun. It fosters a sense of community and allows us to forge the bonds necessary to take academic risks in our classes.
To enhance our advisory programming, we were thrilled to announce our partnership for this school year with two new groups: The Social Institute and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC. We continue to work with Prevention Solutions (formerly known as FCD). This supplemental programming, taking place in advisory, and at times, in classes, provides a forum to talk about health and wellness. The Social Institute provides a gamified platform teaching students how to navigate social media and technology positively while also understanding and avoiding its problematic components. Recently, our Middle School students completed their workshops with Planned Parenthood that included conversations on healthy relationships, anatomy, and hygiene. Upper School students will have a different set of workshops in the second semester (details to come as we get closer.) Additionally, in the second semester with Prevention Solutions will focus on healthy decision-making and risks involved with alcohol, tobacco, vaping, and other drug use.
Here is the reality when engaging in these conversations with our students: advisors, teachers, coaches, and staff at Field can’t be alone in discussing these topics. We recognize that these can be challenging conversations to have at home, and we hope that the more we all engage with our students, healthier and informative decisions will be made. Below you will find the websites of our partnering programs. There is a wealth of resources available to parents by logging into The Social Institute. This resource in itself provides summaries of social media platforms to keep you informed, and hopefully in step, with the world in which our students are most closely engaged.
Please keep the conversations alive in your car, around the dinner table, and in those quiet moments before bed. With the challenge of the last two school years, it is critical that we keep an open dialogue.