Advisory: A stepping stone to success


Photo cred-Sophia Ortiz

This handbook is used by students in advisory.

Spending time twice a week in advisory has provided students the chance to complete homework and get additional help with their classwork, preparing them for a more successful year ahead.

Advisory was added in fall 2021 on Tuesdays and Thursdays between second and third periods.

Tom Vander Ark, a CEO of Getting Smart who advises schools, districts, networks, foundations and learning organizations, recommends the use of an advisory in high schools.

“The goal of an advisory is to help students figure out who they are, where they’re headed, and how they’re going to get there,” said Vander Ark. “Through an advisory system, each student has an adult who knows them and helps them navigate high school so that they leave with a meaningful, personalized plan and are prepared for postsecondary options.”

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, the school board and superintendent decided to require students to have an advisory to bring its benefits to campus. “The Park has been talking about the idea of advisory for about ten years,” said Amy Willacker-Brown, assistant principal at Plymouth High School.

 We wanted to have this advisory period during school hours because transportation can be hard for students, so doing it after school was not an option, said Willacker-Brown. 

Administration in the P-CCS school district wanted to ensure students could develop a strong relationship with a teacher who will know them for all four years of high school. “They were trying to find a way for students to connect with the school a little more and for them to go back to their home school,” said Leah Babinski, counselor at Salem High School.

At the Park, many students have classes in two or even three of the schools, so giving students the chance to spend more time in their home school allows students to feel centered within that home school.

Stress can be very prominent in students’ lives as they juggle all the responsibilities that come with their classes. Nicholas Ford, Salem ninth grade physics teacher, views the advisory as a spot for students to lessen their stress. “I find it a chance for students to decompress from their big schedules, especially with our AP students,” said Ford.

Having the time in the day to decompress and have someone to talk to gives students the opportunity to get to know a teacher on a more personal level. “This advisory period can be an opportunity for students to know there is another voice and another individual out there that can talk to them and reach out to them,” said Nicholas Fotiu, Canton micro and macro economics teacher. 

Some student advisors have them work on other things in advisory. “In my class on Tuesdays we usually talk and watch CNN 10 and then on Thursdays he gives us time to work on homework,” a Canton junior dining in the SHS cafeteria said. 

Knowing what some students in various classes do during advisory poses the question of whether students enjoy the time or not. A junior at Salem said, “Yes, I enjoy it because it lets me get away from the mental stress of school and lets me chill for a little bit.” 

Advisory meets a multitude of needs. “Advisory gives students the chance to get help with homework and opens up the opportunity for them to explore different things such as trail groups and visiting other teachers,” said Willacker- Brown.