Highlands community reflects on Advisory following first semester

Mr.+Poff%27s+Advisory+class+plays+a+game+of+Mario+Kart+to+relax+during+a+stressful+week.+

Libby Spiess

Mr. Poff's Advisory class plays a game of Mario Kart to relax during a stressful week.

As winter break approaches, students reflect upon their experiences over the first semester. Many changes have been seen in the halls of Highlands High School, such as Advisory — a 13 minute period at the beginning of each school day. The motive behind Advisory is to make sure every student has at least one adult they can go to throughout the day, whenever they need a break or someone to talk to.

Junior Advisory teacher Katie Carelock says, “I want to make sure all of my students know that they have somebody in their corner.”

With the stress and focus on grades school brings, sometimes students need a break. With Advisory, students are able to relax and bond with their peers and advisor. Depending on the teacher, Advisory activities range from a relaxing discussion to practical life skills. 

Freshman Advisory teacher Carrie Murray said, “In my Advisory, we do practical things. The other day, for example, we learned how to address an envelope.” 

When Advisory was first introduced, many students had mixed emotions. However, throughout the first semester, opinions have changed and work has been done to make Advisory more enjoyable and helpful for all. 

Nina Kearns, senior Advisory teacher and one of the main advocates for creating Advisory, says, “Initially, Advisory’s main purpose was to be an overall extra layer of support, especially as we are seeing more kids struggle with a variety of both mental health and academic issues. Advisory has since transformed.”

To improve Advisory, a few strides have been taken. For example, the Advanced Placement (AP) Research class conducted a mock research project at the beginning of the year over Advisory and some of the concerns students have been having. Additionally, a council comprised of students and teachers has been formed to address and improve Advisory for the 2020-2021 school year. 

When most students look back, they notice that Advisory has changed. Not only have activities become more enjoyable, but bonds have grown. 

Sophomore Hailey Reichert who is in Megan Boimann-Hennies’ Advisory period said, “I value it more because I can talk to my advisor about things that other teachers maybe wouldn’t have time to talk about.”

Looking forward, Advisory will remain a staple in every student’s day. Thus far, Advisory has completed its goal of giving students a support base and a place to learn practical things outside of the classroom. However, improvements, such as a period longer than 13 minutes to allow more time for planned activities to become even more helpful.