What are the best things about Middle School Advisory? Middle School students best capture the overall purpose of our program with their answers:
"Food, the combination of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in one group, down time, Friday contests, circle time, relationships, getting advice from older kids, games, stories, discussions and getting to know my advisor."
When one contemplates choosing Pembroke Hill School, a primary consideration is quite obviously the academic program. No one would argue that academics are by far the most important component of school, nor would one argue that Pembroke Hill School has superior academic programs. Students receive creative instruction, top-notch teaching, and wonderful educations. But the icing on the cake, one of the hidden gems within this outstanding community is the Advisory Program. It is within this “non academic” part of the day that lifetime memories are made while adolescents mingle, interact, and define themselves as middle school students.
A glimpse into the world of Middle School Advisory:
After welcoming our new 6th graders into our group and spending some time getting to know each other, our daily advisory period settles into a comfortable, fun routine. Most often with a snack in hand, we begin the three year journey that includes a mixture of character education, discussion of real life young adolescent issues, game playing, laid back conversations about our weekend activities, contests, art projects, you name it; we do it. As the advisor, I know my kid’s favorite foods, their strengths and weaknesses, what they like to do in their free time. I know when things are going well for them in classes or when they are struggling in a particular area. I know what is going on at home, when a family emergency has distracted a student from their studies, or when a sports team has won a tournament. I watch in amazement as students miraculously transform themselves from physically small, obviously nervous, and somewhat uncomfortable little kids into much taller, totally comfortable, strong individuals who have found their place as Middle Schoolers and are ready to find success as Upper Schoolers. I am thrilled to reconnect with kids who visit long after they have forgotten the details of Middle School but remember what their Advisory meant to them. For me, the Advisory program is the epitome of Middle School. Memories are made, relationships are formed, and life lessons are learned. Amidst the chaos that can be Middle School, Advisory is an oasis, where everyone can just be!
Every upper school student has an adviser who will answer questions about any aspect of school life, assist with enrollment, review grades and academic goals, be an advocate in any area of school life, especially disciplinary actions, and work to resolve problems. Advisers will meet individually with advisees two to three times per semester, more often as deemed necessary by the adviser or advisee. The entire group of advisees (about 11-12 students from various grade levels) will meet every Friday.
Parents should consider the adviser as their primary contact at school, calling on the adviser for help with concerns or for information relevant to the areas listed above. The adviser will either take appropriate action or direct parents to the appropriate resource person.
Similarly, the student should use the adviser as an advocate and source of information. While students new to the upper school are assigned an adviser, returning students have an opportunity in the spring to request another teacher as their adviser. Students who do not request a change remain in the same advisory group all four years of upper school.
Upper School Communities
The Community System involves all students being allocated to an individual Advisory and also a larger Community. Each Advisory has a Faculty Mentor (Advisor) and an Advisory Captain who helps the Advisor plan the weekly meeting. The Advisories of each Community represent all years, to facilitate interaction between the classes.
Each Community has been named after an influential faculty member from the school’s history and each Community has created its own crest with a motto, mascot and individual colors pertaining to the person who their Community has been named after. Communities meet every other week for 5-10 minutes before student members break off to meet with their individual advisories for the remaining 20-25 minutes.