Recently, the students of Willis Hall have been forced to attend advisory every other Thursday. Prior to this, advisory only took place on ad hoc occasions, like when students needed to choose their subjects and electives for the next year, for example. When we asked the advisory coordinator, Brett Odom, why this change was brought about, Odom said that the impetus of making advisory more common was to build connections between students and between students and advisors. An additional benefit is also a sense of community and bonding.
When the students of the Willis Hall Herald came together to discuss advisory, they highlighted the following positive attributess about advisory: “Advisors are really kind, and one can share their thoughts and feelings.” Others said, ”The idea of advisory is good.” and “Advisory is pretty fun.” However, there were also negative comments, such as: “It is held too early in the morning,” or “It is boring, not because of my advisor, but because we have nothing to do,” and, “I just don’t like advisory, period.”
A survey that we conducted between April 26-28 yielded the following results:
When asked if students felt that advisory is a safe place to share their feelings, 37.7% of students agreed whereas 39% of students disagreed. 27% were neutral. When asked if students felt that advisory helps students connect with their advisors 56% agree, 23.8% disagreed and 20% were neutral. Lastly, when asked whether the advisory program helps students make connections with other students, 50% disagreed, 33% were neutral and 16% of people agreed.
Some of the advice given by students include: “to make the information more entertaining and have more time so the advisor can really get the point across for the information;” “To not force attendance and to have fun competitive games to make people want to be there and maybe provide some muffins or something;” “To make it more like a activity period and please not in the morning and also not for seniors;” and “There needs to be less ‘fun’ hands on activities, and more directed social conversations in the advisory room between the students and the teachers. This will provide a sense of trust between the teachers and the students, and will produce more productive and worthy information for the advisees to gather in civilized discussion.”
Some very interesting comments include: “Advisory doesn’t really have a clear ‘purpose’ to me. It just seems like a group meeting but there’s nothing specific about it that stands out to me. We should only have Advisory to choose classes. Seniors do not need to attend and I don’t see the point of Advisory throughout the year because students would rather catch up on work before school or sleep in longer.”
One of the biggest takeaways from this survey is that many Upper School students do not see the purpose of advisory. North Cross should work to see that their students understand the point of advisory and find it to be a necessary tool.
On April 20, our advisory was centered around drinking and driving. Prom was approaching and many juniors and seniors drive themselves. Schools always worry about drinking and driving and need to inform students for general safety. Many students in Willis Hall cannot drive. We question whether its a school’s job to inform students about the dangers of driving under the influence. Most of the Herald staff felt as though it is not the school’s job to inform students about the dangers of driving, because it happens outside of school premises. We believe that it is common sense and should be reinforced by students’ parents.