Advisory is not what LOHS students need

Volume 71, Issue 1

October 3, 2022

With a new year comes new policies, and among the most divisive is also the most time-consuming of these policies: Advisory. While viewed with dismay by the majority of teachers and students, Advisory was introduced with good intentions; that is, to strengthen the social and emotional learning curriculum at LO and create bonds within our community. But, is advisory at all effective in accomplishing this goal? We think not.

To be upfront, Advisory is not a new idea derived from the minds of LO’s administration. Used in thousands of schools across the country and often known as homeroom, it has played a role in the schedules and lives of American students for decades. However, to the extent that it is now, Advisory doesn’t have a place at LO for a multitude of reasons.

Let’s start with the most common complaint about Advisory; its content is only relevant to underclassmen. For the most part, this is true. Aside from the occasional announcement and evacuation drill, the “nuts and bolts” that the majority of Advisory time is spent covering is already well-known information for students who have attended LO in years prior. For example, sophomores, juniors and seniors should all remember how to access Flexisched from last year after having to sign up for Support Seminar classes weekly. With this in mind, why did Advisories of all grades devote an entire 32-minute period to explaining this process? Boiled down, the answer points to an out-of-touch group of faculty organizing the program rather than the teachers who better understand a student’s needs and wants.

Class bonding, unfortunately, is not as simple as sticking 25 or so students in a classroom together to discuss their names and favorite vacation destinations. Forced bonding, as Advisory attempts to do, is not bonding at all. In fact, it breeds frustration between classmates and their Advisory teacher. If the school truly wants to foster new friendships and better morale as a whole, it must learn to allow this to occur organically, as it has in years past.

Although it may appear to be the case, it is not just students who see a problem with Advisory. Teachers, the ones who are forced to teach mentioned superfluous material, make their frustration known through their varying approaches to the class itself. In some classes, the material is taught word for word by begrudging teachers. In others, teachers give their Advisory students treats and leave them feeling excited for the classes to come. And in the minority of classes, the curriculum is ignored altogether and the time is used as a study hall. Perhaps if all teachers took Advisory seriously, their students would be more inclined to do the same.

As a publication, Lake Views recognizes that getting rid of Advisory altogether is unrealistic. So instead, we request for Advisory to happen once a week on Mondays and change the advisory time on Friday into a third support seminar. Additionally, altering the curriculum to be better catered to individual grades would improve its value for older students. For example, freshmen would benefit from learning more about the school and the opportunities it presents, while sophomores could be taught how to plan for the future. Juniors could be given resources to best cope with their hectic schedules and the stresses of standardized testing and seniors could receive assistance with the ever-so-frightening college admissions process.

The creators of Advisory at LO were right; students do need support from the school and class bonding is essential for a positive high school experience. However, taking valuable class time away from the subjects that most impact our future to force us to “get to know” classmates that we’ve been in school with for years is not the way to accomplish this. Find a new, less invasive method for this and return our schedule back to the way it once was.