As we enter the 2018-2019 school year, we begin the second year of our school-wide advisory program. With a growth mindset as the focus of our work last year, we used that mindset to reflect on the successes and failures of our 2017-2018 advisory program. To do so, we engaged our Building Culture Committee (BCC) throughout the year and incorporated students as valuable members of the committee. In fact, our April session was designed through a collaboration between Adelphi University, our students, and the teachers who comprise the BCC (see "The Power of Words" below).
We also engaged our student body in the cafeteria, during all lunch periods, to provide us with feedback as it related to the sessions. This feedback (see "Student Advisory Feedback" below) was organized by grade, coded, and then used for curriculum writing this summer. What we learned was that our students valued the dialogue more than the scripted lesson. They want to talk about topics that are "real" to them. They also helped us to recognize that like in any good lesson, we needed to differentiate the content and delivery based on the grade levels as well as the individual group needs/wants. This year's program will include a menu of choices and suggested materials that will help our advisors to craft their sessions, with their advisees.
This unique program, tailored to the specific needs of our students, will develop over time and require regular input. Year one had lots of successes!
Whittney Smith, Ed.D.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.