Transformation Tuesday: Advisory Addition

Upon the arrival of the new school year, advisory has been given a fresh, new face and is ready to play a key role in the development of students at Monte Vista.

In contrast to last year, where it only occurred every other week, thirty-nine minute advisory periods will now take place after second period every Tuesday. The reason for this change is, in large part, due to the fact that many teachers did not get a chance to even know the names of their advisory students when they only met every other week. Now, there will be more time allowed for icebreakers and team building activities which teachers have a packet of to choose from.

The establishment of advisory every week allows for more flexibility in the lesson plans. Students will be given one or two study hall days each month, all of the homecoming activities can now be completed in advisory rather than homeroom, students can be informed on upcoming rally days and school events, and classes can partake in fun and meaningful games or discussions.

“We are trying to make advisory more fun,” Principal Janet Terranova said. “Students felt the lessons were outdated, and while things like bullying and texting and driving are still problems, students felt they had already heard it a thousand times.”

One new useful area of focus is how to navigate Naviance. The administration is conducting meetings with each grade level to instruct


them on how they can successfully use Naviance and get the most out of it. This is especially geared towards seniors who are in the midst of the stressful process of applying to college.

While this is useful for seniors, the main goal of advisory this year is much bigger. Advisory is meant to give each student on campus a home, a place where they feel they belong.

“The purpose of advisory is to give students a consistent, safe place to go,” Assistant Principal John Paul Ballou said. “I’m hoping that when asked at the end of four years, every student will be able to say they have developed a relationship with someone at Monte Vista.”

Students are constantly put under pressure by themselves, their parents, and their teachers. Most student, teacher relationships are based on what grade the student is getting in the class, rather than how the student is doing as a person. Advisory is seeking to change this.

“The number one thing I want to accomplish through advisory is to have students feel they can make a connection with an adult in a nonacademic setting,” Terranova said.

Achieving this effort to create cultural change will take time and activities, and the full goal may not be fulfilled until this year’s freshmen become seniors.

“One thing I would love to eventually see happen is for advisory teachers to read the names of their advisory class on graduation day,” Terranova said.

This attempt to improve interaction between teachers and students through advisory is also meant to help break Monte Vista’s inaccurate reputation for being unfriendly.

“It will take time to redefine our reputation as a school,” Ballou said. “It’s like building a relationship.”