To advise, is defined as, “to give counsel to; offer an opinion or suggestion as worth following; to recommend as desirable, wise, prudent, etc.” In an educational environment in which there is a striving to reach the whole child, advisory is the perfect blend of advising the heart with God’s wisdom, direction and guidance, while also advising the academic journey of the student’s mind. This unique program further promotes the mission of the school, which states, “The Dunham School seeks to provide students with the opportunity for college-preparatory education set in the framework of Christian instruction and example.” As the faculty advisors, we have been given the privilege to set the example of Christ for our advisees while also instructing them in the way they should go. To achieve this end, Amanda McIlwain, Upper School faculty and registrar, states, “Advisors are actively involved in reviewing current grades with their advisees, planning for future academic sessions, discussing academic placement, and looking toward diploma and college entrance requirements. Our advisory program plays a vital role at our school because it provides each student with an advisor who knows their goals and will help guide them to achieve those goals.”
While educating the mind, the heart is never to be neglected. People listen. They are not trying to get a grade, but companionship, security, wisdom, and friendship.
Each Middle School student, in seventh grade and eighth grade, is included in an advisory group under the direction of a faculty member. Middle School advisory groups are established by grade level and gender. Each year the middle school student has a different faculty advisor. Advisory groups meet formally weekly and may meet informally at other times during the school year.
The Middle School advisory program consists of a two-year curriculum that supports the spiritual, social, and academic growth of the student through interactive discussions and activities. Topics include goal setting, study skills, patriotism, Godly character and behavior, and building relationships and respect. Additionally a fall and spring middle school service project is directed through the advisory program.