The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Committee suggests replacement for Advisory

Vera Reichlin’s first B day advisory created a Candyland-themed door dec. Creating door decs are a part of the advisory team building experiences each year. Photo by Maddy Jones
At RBHS, the Advisory experience is one that marks sophomore year. The mandatory one period class every other day is designed to introduce the new students to high school life, build relationships between teachers and students and offer study time and student support. However, with the transition to a four-year high school system next year and the need for half the school to take an Advisory, the faculty-comprised Student Support Committee is suggesting a new system — one that would still acclimate freshmen and sophomores with RBHS, but also allow upperclassmen a 68 minute lunch period: Bruin Block.
“Bruin Block is all that culture piece of Advisory,” Kathryn Weaver, member of the Student Support Committee, said. “So right now our Advisories are half culture, half team-building and half study time. This way we’re actually safeguarding both. So Bruin Block is all culture, team building, that sort of thing, and study time is all study time.”
If the tentative proposal is set in place next year, the Bruin Block would replace the current Advisory system so students would have 30 minutes of Bruin Block and 30 minutes of lunch. Because the class would only be a requirement for freshmen and sophomores next year, juniors and seniors would have a 68 minute lunch during this time. To still provide underclassmen the study time that Advisory currently offers, Weaver said there would be a separate “study block.” Though Bruin Block is just another proposal amid the many changes coming next year, student support counselor Melissa Coil said this transition period is the perfect time to reevaluate the systems in place.
“What really drove the push to make this change — it wasn’t start times, it wasn’t lunch, open lunch, closed lunch — we just started this discussion literally at the very beginning of the school year. And the main reason for us was, okay, ninth grade is coming, yes, but it’s not just because it’s the ninth graders,” Coil said. “It’s because we’re going to have ninth and tenth graders in Advisory, which means literally half the school will be in Advisory, and so stopping to think about, when you’ve got that many kids and you’ve got to program for that many people, is the way that we’re doing it really the best way and really the way that we want to continue to do it?”
The current Advisory setup puts sophomores in a class with fellow underclassmen under the supervision of a teacher and seniors who are there to mentor the students through team-building activities, presentations and, of course, study time. However, if the Bruin Block proposal passes, the Student Support Committee hopes to make the system one where teachers could loop with the kids for all four years at RBHS. This means juniors and seniors would also end up with a Bruin Block “with that same teacher you’ve known and loved since you were freshmen,” Weaver said.
Advisory teacher Denise Winslow said right now, all teachers have a “supervision” block, which is when they either work with an Advisory class, the Success Center or perform administrative duties. However, if the proposal passes, all teachers must take on a Bruin Block. Winslow hopes this will mean more student support available at one time, during the block period.
“It’s hard as an advisory teacher to get students to work sometimes, even though that’s what the purpose is, because it’s a study hall. … It’s really hard to sit there and say, ‘You have to do work,’ … so maybe the Bruin Block will actually provide more opportunities for student support where there would be multiple teachers there, I’m hoping,” Winslow said. “Often times, since I have a fourth hour [Advisory], sometimes tutoring’s not available during this time, so it would be nice to have actually teachers available during that time to really help students. I have several that need to go to various teachers, but fourth hour, it’s hard to find teachers to help.”
Though the Bruin Block system is a definite possibility for the years ahead, the proposal is still in the planning stages. The Student Support Committee emailed a rough draft of the plan to faculty last week and plans to make a formal presentation later this week. Coil said the first step in the process of reforming Advisories is to get all the faculty and students on board at RBHS first, then take the idea to the district. However, based on the lack of coordination of programs such as this between Hickman High School and RBHS in the past, Coil doubts the Bruin Block idea would take hold as a district-wide implementation.

“The two high schools really have never done things the same, and so I don’t think that that’s a must,” Coil said. “It would probably be a lot smoother for a lot of things if we did, but I think the nice thing about our district is that the schools have been distinct, and there are different things in the schools, and I would personally like to see things stay that way just because I think it’s better for students if schools have a niche and they do what works for them and not do what somebody tells them to do.”

As the committee prepares to make their presentation to the rest of the RBHS faculty, Weaver hopes for an agreement that keeps students’ best interests at heart, and one that will be long-lasting. Whether this means keeping the current Advisory system or revolutionizing the program, setting up a Bruin Block in RBHS only or district-wide, the issue remains undecided for the time being.
“Hopefully if we go forward with it and the staff is on board and the students are on board, then hopefully it’s the best thing for kids,” Weaver said. “And if it’s the best thing for kids, then it’s what we want to keep happening at Rock Bridge. So our plan is, moving forward, we want a model to stay a part of Rock Bridge for a long time to come.”
By Alyssa Sykuta
Additional reporting by Kaitlyn Marsh, Jacqueline LeBlanc, Urmila Kutikkad, and Trisha Chaudhary

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  • M

    MayaFeb 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    This sounds awesome!!!! 68 minutes of lunch would be fantastic

  • J

    JillyFeb 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Actually sounds really nice, but I wonder how it would affect scheduling. Would upperclassmen have a separate lunch than underclassmen or would it be mixed?
    When they say they want looping each year, does that mean you would be expected to take this after your first year at RB? Not sure how I feel about that, especially if it cuts into class time or affects how I my class schedule turns out.
    Thankfully this is a Student Coalition thing, not a Students’ Say issue :’)