Keep Students In Same Advisory Through High School
We at The UltraViolet believe that Advisories should serve a greater purpose, providing a place for students to forge lasting bonds with each other and their respective Advisors. To do so, we propose that girls stay in the same Advisory for multiple years, which would foster more relaxed and trusting environments within the groups.
We suggest that girls have different advisories in 7th and 8th Grades and then move on to their permanent advisories for the next four years. In this way, incoming girls in the 9th Grade will not have to sidle uncomfortably into an already bonded group.
Many girls view Advisory as an insignificant moment in their lives, not as the intended communal experience. Students may be able to check their names off an attendance list but are rarely able to check in emotionally. Students rarely maintain a relationship with their fellow advisees over the years as they scurry past each other in the hallways. But if students spent four years in the same group together, sharing their innermost feelings, they would feel more of a connection to one another. Girls would gripe about Doc’s bubble clusters in 9th Grade, moan over the impossibilities of logarithms in 10th Grade, fret about the stress of college applications in junior year and, finally, get emotional together about graduating.
With a refined Advisory system, students will also be able to get to know and trust a particular teacher. Advisors should exist not only to make announcements and pass out demerits but also to serve as an authority figure a student can trust. So often a girl can get lost in the frantic shuffle of Marlborough life, feeling overwhelmed and inconsequential, but teachers can provide helpful reassurance. We should be using Advisory to ensure that students do, in fact, have someone with whom they can talk. The teacher would get to know his or her set of students as they enter different stages of high school life. Having been there every step of the way, the Advisor would be able to dispense helpful advice regarding the rigors of both School life and personal topics.
If Advisories spanned four years, students would not only solidify a relationship with one teacher in particular but also would branch outside of their usual social circle after spending so much time with peers they may not have befriended otherwise. Girls could spend time with people not in their usual coterie of friends and partake in discussions and venting sessions. Students would get to burst the social bubbles, if only for a few moments each day.
Set More Time Aside For Advisory Each Week
The UltraViolet is concerned that the School does not presently allot enough time for daily Advisory. What is supposed to be used as bonding time has become like another fleeting passing period; we therefore suggest that Marlborough abolishes daily Advisory and instead create a mandatory 25-minute Advisory Period that meets twice a week. Students would begin School at 7:55 a.m. in their first period classes, where the first five minutes could be devoted to taking attendance.
Currently, Advisory starts at 7:50 a.m. and ends at 7:55 a.m., barely giving students enough time to sign in and ask which period is first, let alone really bond with each other and share their social and academic griefs. Tardiness and studying further encroach upon these few moments, reducing the time in which a student is actually focused on her Advisory to only two or three minutes. This does not allow ample time for Advisors to check in with their students or for students to bond with each other. If a girl were really struggling to keep up with her work or dealing with a problem at home, her Advisor would likely not be able to tell.
Creating two weekly Advisory Periods would only slightly change our current schedule, as 27-minute breaks are already allotted on Thursdays. The only day which would need to be modified is Tuesday, which has a 12-minute break. The UltraViolet suggests that the 13 minutes needed to complete the 25 minute advisory periods be taken from Tuesday’s A period, as Class Meetings rarely take up the full 40 minutes they are given.
School would officially begin at 7:55 a.m., except for on Wednesdays, when School would start at 8:40 a.m. Students would be required to be in their first-period classrooms at this time, and teachers could input attendance into the Portal just as Advisors do now, at any point during first period. Girls who have first period free would sign in with Middle School Assistant Melorie Cruz or Upper School Assistant Laura Morrison.
This arrangement would also encourage students to arrive more promptly to School, as they would be missing the beginning of an important lecture, test or discussion. Tardy students would still need to sign in with Cruz or Morrison.
Students would be required to be present in their Advisory for the duration of the biweekly periods, when they could participate in bonding activities and helpful discussions concerning social and academic pressures at Marlborough. Many students may cringe at the phrase “bonding activities,” but these exercises could be as entertaining and silly as a game of Twister or Two Truths and a Lie. Advisors would finally have the time and opportunity to pick up on any social or academic struggles a girl may be going through. We realize that students may resent having to give up their break, which could be used as study time, but it is our belief that these Advisory Periods would truly seem like fun hang-out sessions and would provide students with more support than Advisory does presently.