Advisory Program Prepares Students for Success
How do I tell my teacher I need extra help?
When is the best time to study for a test?
How do I keep track of my schoolwork and extracurriculars?
Advisory is a semester-long Scheck Hillel program that provides students social-emotional skills and executive functioning tools to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of transitioning to Middle School.
Facilitated by teachers and student leaders, the program helps sixth-graders understand themselves within the context of their Middle School experience. They review the expectations set for them, explore the concept of multiple intelligences theory, assess the effectiveness of their workspace, and learn to advocate for themselves. In a recent workshop, they practiced the SMART method of self-advocacy, which consists of five steps:
1. Specific (say exactly what you need)
2. Meaningful (say why you need it)
3. Action-oriented (say what you can do about it)
4. Realistic (set expectations for what is possible)
5. Time-specific (specify a time frame)
Through interactive workshops and role-playing scenarios, students practice and evaluate their developing skills as learners and communicators.
Program coordinators Ms. Tanz and Ms. Toer use student feedback from surveys to tailor experiences that promote wellbeing within smaller groups. By grouping boys and girls separately, the program creates a safe and comfortable environment where students can openly discuss their concerns and challenges. One student shared, "I feel [Advisory] is an open space where people want to hear what you have to say and respect your opinion. This makes it easier than standing up in front of other classes."
Students really appreciate learning from peers in higher grades: "They have done that before and can guide me," said one student. "I like learning Middle School tips from student leaders, including how to manage homework and how to create good study habits," added another.
The program aims to create micro-communities of peers, student role models and faculty who provide support beyond the subjects they teach. Grade 6 students will continue expanding their skills as they put their new tools into practice in Middle School. Advisory will build upon these student experiences to add to the toolkit on an ongoing basis.