The Middle School Advisory Program provides support to students in all aspects of their school experience through direct student support and a weekly curriculum that addresses core character skills embodied in the school’s motto ofHonor, Scholarship and Kindness.
Themes and activities are guided by the nationally-recognized Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) which has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies that include: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.
The Advisory Program is overseen by the MS Counselor in collaboration with Grade Deans and Grade Team Leaders. The Program is comprised of two parts:
• Advisor-Advisee Relationship providing direct student support, and
• The Co-Curriculum, a weekly exploration of themes and activities.
Every student is matched with an Advisor who is also a Middle School faculty member. The Advisor serves as the key point person for the student and their family for any issues related to their experience at the Middle School. Supporting students is a team effort and students and Advisors alike are supported by Grade Deans, Counselor, Learning Support Specialists and our Nurse. Advisors meet frequently throughout the week in smaller Advisee groups, as a Homeroom and individually as the need arises. Students are matched with a new Advisor in the Eighth Grade.
The Co-Curriculum is the Middle School’s two-year character development program. Programming is led weekly by Advisors through Homerooms and also by grade and school-wide activities.
The “Co” in “Co-Curriculum” refers to the fact that programming partners and augments themes and projects in the academic curricula such as self expression, family backgrounds, sense of community, cultural differences and navigating relationships. Themes and lessons are drawn from a variety of sources such as Developmental Design, Our Whole Lives, Commonsense Media, and Educators for Social Responsibility, to name a few.
A sample of Co-Curriculum themes and activities include:
• Orientation through games designed to foster a greater sense of belonging and familiarity with their new surroundings, including school rules, schedules, community standards and expectations.
• Group dynamics of good sportsmanship and leadership balanced with teamwork through Homeroom “Olympic” games.
• Interpersonal social skills sections explore the importance of empathy and respect as we interact with others and develop friendships in all interactive settings including online and in-person.
• Self-reflection and sharing through speech writing and public presentation skills modeled after “This I Believe.”
• Study skills such as developing an effective organizational system, creating an effective study environment at home, guidance to use an assignment planner daily.
• “Learning about our Learning” by exploring learning styles, multiple intelligences and the mindset we bring to bear on all our learning endeavors.
• Perspectives on what makes us different and the many ways in which we are the same. Activities include sharing family traditions and assemblies provide the opportunity to learn about one another and what makes each individual unique.
• Physical, social, and emotional health and wellness in the context of personal self-care and romantic relationships. Advisors seek to strike a balance between providing positive and accurate information on a variety of topics, e.g. sexuality and relationships, and moderating the exchange of ideas between students with various life experiences, knowledge and developmental readiness. In the 7th grade, some sessions focus on healthy eating habits, exercise, hygiene, and self-image. Discussions in the 8th grade about healthy relationships and sexuality are augmented by gatherings with Upper School Peer Counselors and LGBT student groups.
• Community service through learning about students and organizations engaged in community service around the world, sharing personal experiences, and participating in activities that foster a sense of community within BBN and within our larger community.