NCS prides itself on maintaining a friendly and nurturing relationship with each student, while fulfilling our goal of providing rich opportunities for intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual growth. To that end, the advisory program at NCS pairs students with faculty advisors whose role it is to encourage and guide each student as she faces both the opportunities and challenges of an NCS education.
Students are introduced right away to the advisory program whether they enter the school as a Lower, Middle, or Upper School student. In the Lower School, homeroom teachers build a sense of community by spending time discussing friendships, working on study skills, and engaging with the Lower School Covenant (RISE; Respect, Integrity, Service, Enjoyment).
In the Middle School, students are assigned advisors in 7th grade and remain with through 8th grade. Again, the homeroom time is set aside to help students with academic and social concerns. The Middle School also uses this time to discuss their covenant which is SEARCH (Self-confidence, Empathy, Awareness, Resilience, Connection, and Honor).
In the Upper School, students are placed in advisory groups during their 9th grade year with faculty advisors that specialize in the 9th grade. In 10th grade, students choose advisors and generally remain with those advisors for the remainder of their Upper School careers. Homeroom gives students a chance to talk, review homework, socialize with peers, and discuss broader issues facing students today.
Advisors lead the group as well as work with each girl individually; this “home base” allows girls to receive a nuanced view of life at NCS through a wide-angle lens. Throughout the year, specific themes arise that are discussed within homeroom. For example, past 9th grade homerooms have focused on time management and study skills, 10th grade on making the most of their learning, 11th grade on choosing meaningful summer internships, trips, or fellowships, and 12th grade on leadership. Homeroom is also a time for celebrations; birthdays and holidays are often celebrated in advisory groups.
The advisor also plays a key role in each student’s healthy maturation and growth; advisors are instrumental in supporting our mission to “encourage every girl to develop her individual interests, talents, and creativity.” The advisor is not a counselor, but a well-informed adult who cares, is approachable, and is there to advise! The advisor is a go-to person, an advocate, a cheerleader, a guide, a listener, a clearinghouse for information, a sounding board, a parental resource, a mentor, and a role model.
In collaboration with the student, her parents, her teachers, and school administrators, advisors help with course selection, are available as sounding boards and advocates, and may help in finding appropriate outside resources. Finally, advisors play an important role as the principal liaison between school and home.