In this blog post, Upper School History Department Chair Thomas Pipoli as well as Middle School Spanish Teacher and Ethics and Service Coordinator Sonija Parson describe what happens during their advisory periods with students.
Middle and Upper School advisors at Landon have the best overarching view of a student’s whole self – from academics, arts, and athletics to his social-emotional well-being throughout a year. Advisors serve as one of many supports for a Landon student, including the dean of students, grade-level dean, guidance counselor and a child’s teacher-coach-mentors.
Each year, advisory takes on a new character and purpose in the Upper School. It is a space where students engage in dialogue, taking on issues relevant to both our school and places beyond our campus. It is a time to reflect on the most recent ethics speech and find new ways to apply those lessons to our daily routine and our greater purpose at Landon. It is an opportunity for upperclassmen, who only a few years earlier came to that same advisory wide-eyed and curious, to guide their fellow Bears during times in the year when seasoned advice is needed most.
Ultimately, advisory is a place where students and faculty can relax, share some laughs, and cultivate an authentic community – it is dedicated time during a busy daily schedule when students can simply enjoy a snack and downtime amongst their peers and mentors. Personally, I have found that it is during these informal moments that many of the most genuine and profound bonds have been formed between my advisees and me.
In my advisory, Form I students are encouraged to learn about themselves as well as open their hearts and minds to the wider community around them. We intentionally take on the responsibility to take care of another life, other than ourselves, in the form of a succulent or cactus plant. We engage in meaningful conversations with Upper School facilitators on topics of character, humility, and respect and take the time to check in not just about academic progress, but also socially and emotionally.
We enjoy reading during B.E.A.R time which stands for Be Enthusiastic About Reading, and celebrate and pick one another up when we need it. Our advisory also commits to volunteering as often as possible in the various service events scheduled throughout the year. The boys are most looking forward to collecting Thanksgiving food items to deliver to families at The Dwelling Place and sorting and loading furniture donations at A Wider Circle once a month!
At Landon, being of service to others and volunteering our time and presence is demonstrates our commitment to our core value. Many students and their families serve and serve often. We use our advisory time to not only check in with each other and our plants, we also share the experiences we have had that possibly make a larger impact in the world.