St. Michael the Archangel High School’s Student Advisory Program is strengthening connections between adults and students in the school community, school officials said.
Advisory groups, school officials said in a news release, are designed to energize students into forging an active personal stake in their education by promoting open communication between the adult adviser and the student.
The program was developed under the leadership of Julie Lechich, assistant principal of academics, and Anna Bourgeois, science department chairwoman, as a response to a challenge identified in student and parent surveys.
The program has met twice since its inception in August.
“The benefits of implementing schoolwide advisory programs are well-documented. They can play a critical role in a student’s overall academic success,” Lechich said. “Advisory programs are not guidance counseling programs. They are a way for creating a more personalized learning environment where all students are well-known by at least one adult in the school community.
“Advisory programs provide a structure and a set of practices for monitoring and supporting students’ academic progress. They promote healthy student development and life skills, and establish a forum for college and career planning throughout students’ high school careers.”
The program assigns faculty advisers to small groups of 12 to 14 students from the same grade. The advisers teach lessons on the designated topics for each session and advocate for the students in their group, the release said.
The advisers help students set goals, acknowledge students’ accomplishments, monitor grades and support students in their extracurricular activities.
“The hope is that students will also develop a camaraderie within their group that will extend into the halls and promote schoolwide solidarity,” said Bourgeois, who serves as co-chairwoman of the St. Michael Student Advisory Planning Committee.
Some 15 advisory sessions are set throughout the year. Groups meet one to two times each month for about 30 minutes, and all students attend advisory meetings at the same time.
Each class is shortened by four minutes to accommodate the 28-minute sessions.
The Student Advisory Planning Committee has created a tentative curriculum for each session, tailored to each grade level. Topics include study skills, time management, life skills, decision making, and college and career planning.
“I am excited to be part of this program during my senior year,” Student Council President Caroline Campagna said. “The underclassmen are going to have some great opportunities to build a closer relationship with St. Michael faculty and receive more academic support and guidance.”