Committee works to create Advisory Programs at LHS

Alexis Gamache, Staff Writer

A committee of teachers and guidance counselors is working on creating an “Advisory Program” where students will meet periodically with teachers to discuss any issues or concerns that are affecting them.

“It’s a program where students are able to connect with teachers in the building — a person that they can go to and build a relationship…” explains Tesha Ward, guidance counselor.

The committee is made up of teachers Jamie Annear, Carol Barden, Adam Graves, Amber Lowe and Peter Vamosy, along with guidance counselors Christina Dionne and  Ward.

“We’re trying to accomplish three goals: community, acceptance, and continuity,” explains Vamosy.

They are currently working on a plan to fit advisory programs into the school schedule. It calls for Tuesday classes to be shortened by three minutes, creating additional time for the advisory program.

Students will meet with 10 to 15 people in their grade and the advisory teacher for 20 minutes to discuss and do activities related to topics such as goal setting, communication, and time management.

“We’re breaking it down by grade,” says Ward. “The freshman may have different views than the seniors.”

The group of students, along with the teacher, will stay together for all four years of a student’s high school career.

The teachers and the students in the groups will be picked at random. This gives students a chance to connect with people they wouldn’t normally connect with, Ward explained.

The teachers are going to be provided with reading over the summer to help introduce the idea. Professional development for teachers  will be held in November in 2012 to prepare for 2013.

It is important for teachers and students to buy into the program.

“We’re afraid students may not take it as seriously as we would like,” says Ward. This is why initially the advisory class will only meet once a week.

According to Ward, research suggests that  Advisory Programs lead to improved attendance and less conflict within the student body.

“I think it’s a really good way for students to get their feelings out,” expresses sophomore Chloe Forrant, “I think a great idea and getting out of classes early is a plus.”

Ward said that although most teachers like the idea of the program, some feel like it’s going to be difficult to plan for this additional time with their existing full schedules.