The Middle School Advisory course focuses on building a caring and connected community. The counseling department leads the advisory program; however, the adult advisors take ownership of the course. At AUS, we understand that a purpose-driven advisory course has great impact on the culture of our school; therefore, students receive a pass/ fail grade for the course. Within the course adult advisors meet regularly with a group of students and follow the advisory curriculum. Through the developed curriculum advisors provide academic and social-emotional mentorship and support, to create personalization within the school, and to facilitate a small peer community of learners.
The purposes of advisory are to:
- ensure that each student is known well at school by at least one adult who is that youngster's advocate (advisor),
- guarantee that every student belongs to a peer group,
- help every student find ways of being successful within the academic and social options the school provides, and
- promote communication and coordination between home and school.
AUS Middle School Advisory course is constructed for the purpose and foundation of connectedness, community and building caring relationships. Advisories with high levels of connectedness actively worked on creating a healthy community by addressing the way students relate to one another. Advisors consciously help students in their advisories work out issues among themselves, and they talk openly about the importance of treating each other with respect.
During Advisory, students participate in the developed curriculum and a variety of activities. Some activities include:
- administering surveys about stressors in their lives, and then coming up with ways to deal with stress,
- discussing grades and academic progress with students,
- participating in team-building activities and determining how effective teams operate,
- completing community-service projects, such as collecting items for victims of catastrophic events,
- tending a community garden,
- researching college admissions requirements or professions they find interesting, and
- preparing for college entrance tests, such as the PSAT, or ACT.
Ideally, the Advisory period is a time when teachers and students examine “real-life” issues and collaborate on possible solutions.