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ERIC Number: EJ868298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1052-8938
Linchpins or Lost Time: Creating Effective Advisories
Johnson, Bil
Horace, v25 n2-3 Fall 2009
That advisories in secondary schools are fairly pervasive around the country may be one of the great unintended consequences of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) reform effort. While no CES Common Principle explicitly states that advisories should exist in schools, as Coalition Schools evolved, advisories became one of the logical ways for teachers to get to know their students well. However, despite their ubiquity, the effectiveness of advisories is problematic at many schools. In some, they have simply become a new name for "homeroom." In others, they are designated as "family groups" but simply serve as an administrative device for attendance and sending messages home. In the worst advisory scenarios, teachers and students experience the advisory as an additional burden on their time without any real value, and this is when the real unfulfilled promise of advisories has had tragic consequences. With that in mind, the author sets out to question folks in a variety of Essential schools to find out how advisories work (or don't) in order to explore the idea that a more systematic and structured approach to developing advisory systems might help them create more effective schools, and hoping to develop some guidelines that may help Essential Schools (and others) create thriving, effective advisories. In the spring of 2009, the author sent an e-mail to 25 schools with a set of 10 questions about advisory programs. He received detailed responses from five schools that represent an interesting geographical cross-section: (1) rural/suburban Massachusetts; (2) upstate New York; (3) rural Ohio; (4) Los Angeles; and (5) urban Rhode Island. Two schools are charters, one an alternative school, one a comprehensive high school, and one an independent school. Their Coalition membership dates back as far as 1988 and all are current, active CES schools. In this article, the author presents the questions and the responses. Furthermore, the author provides five significant insights that can be garnered from the responses of the five vastly different schools that share the commonality of benefiting from successful advisories.
Coalition of Essential Schools. 1330 Broadway Suite 600, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 510-433-1451; Fax: 510-433-1455; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; New York; Ohio; Rhode Island