Upper School Advisory evolved out of the faculty's desire to provide a deeper level of service to students; especially in the areas of adolescent issues, diversity, helping others, and school values. Advisory groups met for the first time in September of 2009 with the following goals:
- extend the individual attention provided for our students;
- create a small-group setting to provide a venue for more in-depth discussion about important issues;
- provide an environment in which older and younger students can get to know one another better, share ideas and opinions in a safe family-like setting, and strengthen US bonds;
- develop smaller groups that can pursue specific initiatives both in the school and in the community; and
- establish a special relationship between a group of students and a faculty member that extends beyond a traditional classroom setting, offers better, more individualized guidance for kids, and will persist over a three-year time span.
Each advisory group of seven to 10 students is composed of a mixture of boys and girls in grades sixth through eighth. One Upper School teacher serves as advisor. Students remain with the same advisor and the same group until graduation. Each year rising sixth graders fill the vacancies created in each group by graduating eighth graders.
Advisory groups meet once a week on Thursdays from 12:30-1:20. During this time the group eats lunch together and participates in a variety of advisory activities related to values, service learning (helping others), and issues of diversity and adolescent development. Periodically, during the year advisees meet individually with their advisor to review annual goals, grades, and teacher comments.