Assistant Division Director and Dean of Student Life Regina Rosi hopes to create a greater sense of community by revising the existing Junior Advisory program. Students in 11th Grade volunteer as junior advisors to assist teachers in 7th and 8th Grade advisories.
This year Rosi is including more intensive training and creating a weekly email to junior advisors to inform them about about Middle School events and topics relevant to the seventh and eigth graders. Rosi’s goal is to help build stronger relationships between the older and younger students and also to clarify the role of the Junior Advisor.
In her first year directing the JA program, Rosi is trying to build on changes made in the past by School Counselor Emily Vaughn who established the program. Rosi’s overall goal for the program remains the same: to create an environment that feels accepting and welcoming to seventh and eigth graders.
“We want advisory to be a place where every single student feels known and recognized,” Rosi said.
Rosi met with new junior advisors on campus during the summer to help them communicate more effectively with the seventh and eighth graders. One of the activities JAs took part in was to think back on their own experiences in Middle School to better understand the mindset of their advisees.
Advisor Clara ’18 said that the chance to recall her own experiences will help her better understand her new changes. She also addressed the struggle of bridging the gap between older and younger students.
“If they complain about having one hour of homework, you think ‘just wait and see.’ It’s hard to communicate sometimes,” Clara said.
8th Grade Level Dean and history and social sciences instructor Helen Mendoza said she believes that Junior Advisors play an important role in the lives of seventh and eighth graders.
“They could serve as good role models for the younger students,” Mendoza said. “That might make [the seventh and eighth graders] feel a bit more comfortable on campus, knowing students in the Upper School.”
Although she is pleased with the changes to the program this year, Rosi said she believes there is still room for improvement.
“I would certainly be open to continuing to look at the best way to do peer support,” Rosi said.