Academics
Upper School (Grades 6-8)

Advisory Program

The Upper School Advisory Program at Renbrook

The advisory program at Renbrook provides a time and a place for ensuring that every student has a positive, caring relationship with a specific adult in the school. A purposeful advisory program reflects a culture of caring and promotes a sense of belonging. It helps ensure that students remain engaged in school, particularly during difficult times.
 
During the middle school grades six through eight, each student is assigned an advisor: a teacher on the student's grade-level team. Advisors meet with advisees each morning in homeroom, weekly for special meetings, and as needed on specific projects. The jurisdiction of the advisor addresses topics such as academic goal setting, time management, and student life issues. The advisor is also the liaison between the student's family and the school. The advisor discusses all progress reports with students, holds parent conferences each fall and winter, and as needed during the year.

List of 3 items.

  • The Goals of the Advisory Program

    • Empower students to create relevant connections to the school at large and to students with similar interests.
    • Strengthen the learning community.
    • Help students develop an academic mindset through ongoing discussions and check-ins about students’ academic life and goals.
    • Communicate about life of school.
    • Build student-to-student affiliation; each advisory will forge a group identity and strong relationships.
    • Advisory is key time for discussing important issues, helping students become invested in doing their part to create a strong, vibrant, and healthy school.
    • Advisory enables students have a relationship with at least one adult who knows and cares about them. The advisor gets to know each student personally, serving as mentor and advocate.
    • The advisory curriculum at Renbrook places a strong emphasis on communication and social skills development.
  • Role of the Advisor

    The advisor serves as the primary student advocate, mentor, and point person for
    home-school communication.

    • Advisors maintain regular contact with each advisee’s teachers to monitor progress, and help the student take corrective action when necessary.
    • Advisors serve as advocate and mentor in the disciplinary process. Advisors discuss conduct notes with students and attend meetings with the Head of Upper School in an advocate role as necessary.
    • Advisors keep records of communication with parents and significant conversations with students throughout the year, and shares this with the Head of Upper School as warranted.
    • Advisors maintain regular contact with students’ families. First contact should be initiated during the first week of classes. Advisors will respond to parent phone calls or emails within 24 hours.
    • Advisors serve as an academic resource for their students, helping them learn effective time management and other strategies for success. He or she will engage in academic goal setting and review grades at regular intervals throughout the year.
    • In cases of particular concern, the advisor will work with the Upper School Learning Specialist and Grade Level Coordinators to initiate a plan of support.
    • Advisors help educate students and parents about school culture, values, and expectations.
    • Advisors act as a sounding board for the challenges their advisees face, and a supporter if troubles arise. Advisors will enlist support when they feel concern for a student’s emotional well-being or safety.
    • Advisors help students reflect and recalibrate with a focus on providing leadership, clarity, and support as students navigate their social and academic learning.
  • Renbrook Community Monthly Themes

    • September: Community building and goal setting (individual, and advisory)-forging group identity
    • October: Communication (how we communicate our needs and dreams, rules for feedback, etiquette for online and in-person communication), progress check, mid-game adjustments
    • November: Community- How do we acknowledge and celebrate (give thanks for) those who help us?
    • December: Service (What does it mean to serve others? How can we serve one another as individuals, as a community?)
    • January: Short and long term goals
    • February: Risk (How does taking risks help and hurt us?)
    • March: Fun (Easing into break; How do we have fun?)
    • April: Friendship (What does it mean to be a friend? How can we extend ourselves in friendship, How do we create effective boundaries?)
    • May: Making it count (How do we take advantage of these last weeks? How do we say goodbye to people and places and experiences that have helped to shape us?)
    • June: End-of-year goodbyes

Initiatives for Cultural Competency and Community-Building

The Upper School has taken on several initiatives in recent years to increase cultural competency and inclusion in our community. We have worked with the Anti-Defamation League, which brought two programs, Step-Up and Cyber Ally, to the Upper School. We also spent time with visiting experts such as poet and motivational speaker Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, who addressed students on the topic of becoming Upstanders, author Michele Borba, who talked to the community about how to nurture the habit of empathy, and author Nancy Jo Sales who spoke to students and parents about social media concerns. Carrying on the work begun in these programs, the Cyber Ally team finds creative ways to help the community reflect on how they treat each other online, and the Diversity Dialogues club gathers to discuss identity, diversity, multiculturalism and social justice topics. By addressing issues that may arise in the middle school years, we equip our students with the tools they need to be strong community members in secondary school.
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