Purpose of Advisory
Advisors are an important part of life at Armbrae. As a school that follows restorative practices, we understand that we strengthen our community by building relationships. The relationship that an advisor builds with their advisees is an integral part of creating a safe, nurturing space for our students. The advisor should become the first point of contact between the school and home. Regular, positive communication between advisor, student and parents/guardians is important. Armbrae’s Advisory program provides an additional level of support for students as they navigate the academic and developmental changes that occur during their school life.
Advisory groups are made up of students from one grade level in order to further strengthen each of these communities and provide a forum for addressing age-specific topics. Advisory groups work together on team-building, fostering a culture of self-advocacy, taking ownership of one’s learning and active participation in society through community service. An advisory period is built into the weekly schedule and provides an opportunity for advisors to touch base with students about organization, test taking, and planning ahead. It is also a time for students to reflect on their successes and challenges. An emphasis on character education and community building helps guide these discussions (see “Curriculum” below).
Role of the Advisor
Every student at Armbrae is assigned an Advisor who is responsible for keeping track of his or her Advisees’ academic and social progress. Advisors meet regularly with students to discuss their academics, co-curricular activities and general well-being. The Advisor plays an important role for each individual student and should be seen by the student as completely approachable on any matter. An advisor’s job is to help students plan for that life through visioning, goal setting, asking questions, being an advocate, and simply being there for students. Advisors are responsible for:
- Building a relationship with each student and coaching them to develop self-advocacy to address their issues as they arise.
- Assisting students with their adjustment to the school or to their grade.
- Celebrating their Advisees informally and formally.
- Supporting students with time management and coaching them in creating a balance between school life and other obligations.
- Helping students to strategize and problem solve.
- Teaching students how to communicate with their peers and teachers.
- Providing opportunities for school involvement and leadership.
- Assisting with regular goal setting (academic, organization, social and/or behavioural) and working in partnership with home to positively reinforce steps towards achieving those goals.
- Facilitating a weekly Advisory lesson.
- Tracking the academic, athletic, and co-curricular progress of each Advisee.
- Engaging in conversation with the student should concerns emerge (following restorative practices) and involving other teachers, Learning Strategist, Division Director, and/or parents as required.
R2 - Rugged & Resourced Program (Grades P-12)
Armbrae is excited to be partnering with Dr. Michael Ungar and the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. Their work focuses on explaining how children, youth and adults thrive in family, school, workplace and community settings under stress. R2 represents the Rugged and Resourced aspects of building resilience. Over the course of the year, approximately one advisory lesson per month will focus on specific factors from the R2 model.
This year, Dr. Michael Ungar and Dr. Phil Jefferies (from Dalhousie University) are working in partnership with Armbrae to develop a curriculum to teach 3 rugged qualities and 3 resources to each of the 3 divisions (Lower, Middle & Upper School). Last spring, parents and teachers were consulted to determine which 6 qualities would benefit Armbrae students most.
Resilience is not just a series of personal attributes, it also includes the availability of resources and opportunities. And although aspects of resilience can be fostered in young people, what matters most is the environment that genuinely surrounds and supports them. It is important to keep in mind that, for children who are marginalized as a result of racism, poverty, a learning challenge or other forms of oppression, the struggles they face are often very powerful and stigmatizing. Addressing those problems requires both strong personal qualities and lots of supportive people and institutions, like safe school policies and adapted classrooms for young people with disabilities.
For more information, please visit Resilience Research
Caring Schools (Grades 7 - 8)
Caring School Community builds classroom and schoolwide community while developing students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) skills and competencies. It is designed to help students become caring, responsible members of their school communities and, ultimately, to grow into humane, principled, and skilled citizens of a democratic society.
The program achieves this by:
- Building caring relationships with and among students.
- Directly teaching social skills.
- Creating calm, orderly learning environments through the effective use of classroom management practices.
- Helping students acquire self-discipline through a caring and effective approach to discipline.
Project Wayfinder (Grade 9 - 12)
Project Wayfinder imagines a world where adolescent education is designed for all students to develop lives of meaning and purpose. They design innovative learning experiences that foster meaningful connection and guide students to navigate life with purpose. Adolescent students who have purpose, meaning, and belonging are happier, healthier, more engaged, and less stressed than their peers who lack it.
Project Wayfinder’s Six Core Values are infused into the Upper School Advisory program:
- 01 We believe meaningful relationships are fundamental to human health and vitality. To us, this means connecting with others in ways that are authentic and compassionate.
- 02 We believe people have the agency and ability to purposefully impact the world around them. To us, this means contributing in ways (big and small) to create mutual benefit for both individuals and their communities.
- 03 We believe that asking the question “why?” is a key engine of personal growth. To us, this means meeting ourselves, each other, and the world with openness and curiosity.
- 04 We believe when we prioritize equity and inclusion, we cultivate belonging. To us, this means strengthening communities by inviting co-creation by all members.
- 05 We believe that awareness of the present moment is fundamental to fulfillment. To us this means engaging with our aliveness in ways that cultivate joy, play, and flow.
- 06 We believe that taking the long view is our responsibility as humans. To us, this means a wide lens perspective that includes people who lived before us, people who will live after us, and the planet that sustains us..