A few times a year I enjoy sharing here on the blog student perspectives about our educational programs and initiatives here at St. Gregory, lifting them from our award winning student newspaper, the Gregorian Chant. 

Although I write more often here about our 1:1 laptop and related technology initiatives, our leadership and innovation educational advances, and our enhanced attention to 21st century skills, our new faculty-student “advisory” is certainly one of our very most important enterprises of the past two years.   Before last fall (2010), the school functioned with only a small “homeroom” arrangement, but now students and teachers meet twice weekly for 20 minutes for what we intend to be a rich, relationship-building, social and reflective, service-oriented, character enhancing, advisory time.  

In the most recent student paper, one of our sophomore students, Leah M., reported on the program in what is now its second year.  I am delighted by the report, and am happy to share it here.


STG advisory making progress toward goals

There is one “class” at St. Gregory where students are not only permitted, but also encouraged, to relax, kick back, chat with friends, and reflect.  The implementation of advisory has opened the door to a learning experience that is free from pressure and evaluation.  Let’s see how advisories are doing, what positives they have brought to our school, and what might still need tweaking.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week, students from each grade meet with one another and one or two faculty members to participate in advisory.  Advisory did exist years ago at St. Gregory in a different form, primarily for the purpose of beginning the day and taking attendance, and it eventually morphed into homeroom.  Advisory at St. Gregory began anew last year with a transformed agenda, and is continuing through this 2011-2012 school year.  Some of the goals set forth by the administration when advisory began were to have a forum in which students could comfortably articulate their feelings and get feedback from peers and teachers, to encourage students to improve stress management skills, to allow students to work towards better communication with others, and to serve generally as a support system.

When asked if she was pleased with the progress of advisory, Ms. Heintz replied that she is “happy with the direction it is going,” although she admitted that it has not yet met the administration’s expectations.  Ms. Heintz added that she believes “it can mean more to the students over time and be a better resource.”  However, this does not mean that advisory has not evolved and changed since the launch of it last year.  The faculty listened to complaints and opinions about the initial practice of every advisory discussing the same topic once a week, and has instead moved towards having each advisory take charge of its own time.  Along with this alteration, this year there has also been more sibling advisory interaction. (more…)