The Role of the Upper School Advisor
Garrison Forest's advising program ensures that every student has a specific adult who knows her well and is particularly interested in her growth, happiness, and success in the Upper School.
Listening and Supporting
Advisors are available as resources and as sources of support. Advisors are not counselors, but rather well-informed adults who care and are willing to listen. Having someone who will act as a sounding board helps students to identify and articulate their own feelings about different issues. Advisors can strategize with advisees about how to approach teachers, peers, parents, or other individuals about a variety of topics. Advisors keep an eye on students’ well-being and when necessary recommend additional support from tutors, counselors, doctors, or other professionals.
Information and Organization
Advisors are particularly valuable resources for students who are new to the school, as these students know that they have a go-to person for their questions and concerns. As someone who is aware of the student’s interests and needs, the advisor guidesstudents to activities or programs that might be a good match. Advisors help all advisees to adjust to the demands of the particular grade level and course load. When necessary, advisors assist students with organizational issues such as time management or study skills.
Advisors are the main point of contact for parents with the school. They are the vehicle through which parents are informed of their daughter’s progress or difficulties and the first person a parent calls if they have a question or concern.
Advisors and advisees work together to plan the student’s academic career at the school. The advisor helps the student to create a balanced schedule with appropriately challenging courses. The advisor makes sure that the student is taking advantage of all that the school offers in the academic areas that are of greatest importance to the student and also encourage the student to explore new fields of study.
The advisor serves as the clearing house, keeping track of how the student is doing across the board in all of her classes and co-curriculars. When academic difficulties arise, the advisor will strategize with the student, the teacher, and the parents or guardians about the best way to address these concerns. Because the advisor is familiar with the student’s learning style, the advisor and advisee can determine which studying methods will work best for different types of material.
When disciplinary issues arise, advisors and advisees often have productive discussions about rules and why the student is having trouble adhering to school policies.
As someone who knows the student’s history and has been in close contact with the student throughout the year, the advisor is in a good position to recognize and celebrate the student’s growth and progress. Semester and end-of-year advisor comments help give parents and guardians a picture of their child’s academic and social development and role in the school community.
Many adults with whom the student is interacting are grading or evaluating that student. The advisor is someone who can simply show the student that he or she enjoys the student’s company and feels that the student is worth getting to know. The advisor/advisee relationship is often an extremely meaningful one for both advisor and advisee.