Why does it matter?
Most educators know what academic support services are offered to students — but not whether students know they are available, and whether or not they are helpful. The YouthTruth Survey question “This year, have you participated in an advisory class at your school this year?” can help educators fine-tune how they are advertising available programs and services and also to make sure they are offering the right ones.
From Edutopia: Making advisory more effective
James Bailey, a school leader at the Carpe Diem Innovative Charter Schools in San Antonio, TX, helped make advisory services more effective by adding 20-30 minutes of advisory to the master class schedule. The goal: stronger teacher-student relationships and improved student achievement. The focus: student goal-setting, self-tracking, and consistent reflection on strategies and progress. The results impressed Bailey and their colleagues: the passing rate for end-of-course assessments went up twenty percent and students’ overall GPAs went up as well. Here’s a brief overview of what they did to spark ideas and help you get started. Most strategies will work best on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but this can be widely adapted depending on the need:
Students track their current grades
Use advisory time to check in with students about their grades. When students saw the big picture, they were able to appreciate what they have accomplished in lessons and assignments over time.
Students reflect on strategies and set goals
Have students write a brief reflection on which strategies worked for them in the last week. Here’s the self-direction rubric that Bailey and his colleagues used with students to help guide their reflections.
Students receive feedback from an advisor
Short, one-on-one check-ins on a regular basis are a great way to improve relationships and allow time to reflect on students’ achievements and struggles. Advisory time is most useful for reviewing goals with students, asking prompted questions to guide reflection, and giving feedback. If this feels like it’s too much to check in with each student in class time, you might also set up a virtual protocol where students write down their answers in class and are given feedback by their advisors outside of class, similar to graded homework. The one-on-one guidance makes a big difference — whether it’s in person or virtual.
Daily Advisory: Building social, emotional and academic skills
Combining social and emotional learning with literacy lessons in daily advisory meetings helps students build strong positive relationships and listening skills. Here’s a video from Edutopia about what advisory looks like at Pearl Cohn High School. Watch for details on implementation and tips on how to get started.
Twenty face to face advisories
Teaching Tolerance and The Origins Program partnered together to create 20 advisory activities based on Linda Crawford’s collection, Face to Face Advisories: Bridging Cultural Gaps Grades 5-9. Advisory time is meant to be a time to grow authentic relationships between students and adults, and build a community that feels safe and supportive for all students. These activities are designed to be relevant and engaging to adolescents, and expose students to diverse range perspectives and ways of thinking through problems critically.
The activities are divided up into two formats: Circle of Power and Respect (CPR) and Activity Plus (A+). Here’s a quick look at the general outline of each format:
CPR ADVISORY FORMAT
The Circle of Power and Respect (CPR) format for advisories is ideal for creating inclusive communities. Each activity contains four key components:
Daily News: Previews the advisory activity’s focus and helps students shift into thinking gear as they transition from home to school.
Greeting: Teaches students to respectfully greet someone they hardly know or don’t particularly like.
Share: Provides time to talk about daily issues as well as challenging topics like bias, discrimination, justice and acceptance.
Activity: Connects students through play
ACTIVITY PLUS (A+) ADVISORY FORMAT
The A+ format allows more time for the final activity, which allows students to reflect on the implications of what they have learned or thought or heard—for them personally, for the school community and/or for society.