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How do you make school a home? Advisory is the answer

MacNeill Secondary School Students   Jul-04-2017

Faith De Leon works on her portfolio with her Advisory teacher, Catriona Misfeldt.

Photo by Valerie Mallari


By Joshua Chen, Carmen Luo, Mike Xian and Angelika Tee

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High school is a different experience for everyone, but most can agree that it is a difficult time in many teenagers’ lives.

At A.R. MacNeill Secondary School, students get a helping hand from an advisory teacher. Advisory is a class unique to MacNeill that helps relieve some of the stress students may feel.

The Advisory class is available to students every school day. When Grade 8 students come to MacNeill, they are grouped into Advisory classrooms with a teacher. The classes are small; averaging about 21 students per teacher. These Advisory classes become permanent homes for the students’ 5 years in high school. This class acts as a break within the day to learn life lessons and set goals that help guide students through their high school lives.

Advisory is not a place to kill time or to just break the ice with your peers.

It is about learning important life skills and applying them to everyday life.

When a student has a concern or issue about anything, their Advisory teacher is available to discuss their worries.

“It’s like having a parent in the school,” says Tuzar Irani, Advisory educational facilitator.

The importance of these Advisory teachers is not only shown through their advice, but also through their responsibilities.

They are responsible for conducting weekly lessons on subjects such as POWER, (Positive Attitude, Ownership, We not Me, Excellence, Respect) understanding the teenage brain, and study skills. They also oversee U.S.S.R (Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading), as well as offer support throughout the year-end portfolio process, where students reflect on their growth as a student over the course of a school year.

Fred Chiang, a Grade 9 Advisory teacher, said that the class fosters strong relationships.

“Within the five years together, my goal is to have developed a strong enough relationship that the student can come to me about anything,” he said.

Advisory is one of the most positive aspects of MacNeill, where staff and students can focus on social and emotional learning and promote social responsibility within the school and community. Many students across grades conclude that Advisory benefits them in becoming more POWERful students, while it is also a place to strengthen their social skills, and further develop their connections with the people around them.

Although there are a few students who believe Advisory may not be necessary, there are those who believe it is equivalent to a family who you can come home to and turn to when you are in need.


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