Bruin Block passes, senior mentor roles to change


Atreyo Ghosh

This is the door deck of one of the winners of Sophomore Advisory. Photo by Maddy Jones
This is the door deck of one of the winners of Sophomore Advisory. Photo by Maddy Jones
With more than an 80 percent margin, the faculty approved the Bruin Block proposal on Monday, March 11. Advisory Director Melissa Coil had hoped for an 80 percent backing, as she felt that a higher percentage would result in a higher likelihood of the Block being successful. Coil can now plan the curriculum and organize senior mentors with the Bruin Block approved and school start times finalized.
“The curriculum is by far the biggest component of the program, and now that we know what time of day we’re starting school, we know what the schedule itself will look like. And now, really, we’ve got to start looking at the curriculum and developing that,” Coil said. “A lot of people like to think we just need a plan for next year, but really we need a plan for where we want 12th graders to be, and work back from that … I’m really looking forward to working with all kinds of different people on the faculty on that, because there have been just a lot of good ideas from people that have been shared about different things they think would be good to incorporate.”
EEE teacher Kathryn Fishman-Weaver thinks the Bruin Block is a great idea. Weaver said the Block opens opportunities for relationship building.
The block helps build “full relationships with students, and students with each other,” Weaver said. It would “support academic achievement but also support a social and emotional piece that too easily could get left out and that certainly won’t with the Bruin Block.”
With the new plan, freshmen and sophomores will have both a Bruin Block and an academic Advisory, while juniors and seniors will have an hour-long lunch. Senior mentors will join underclassmen in the academic Advisory, where they will take on a more tutor-mentor role than a guiding role. Coil did not want to conduct interviews for senior mentors until the vote was over, so mentors would know exactly what role they were signing up for. Her next step is to set up the interviews. However, Coil doesn’t think this change in role will adversely affect the existing mentor-sophomore dynamic.
“They’ll be in a more of a tutoring role, but really, there’s so much mentoring that can come through that,” Coil said, “because the conversations that are had while you’re working on school really can provide kids the opportunity to mentor and guide in a lot of other areas. Just as the first few days, weeks in transition to Rock Bridge, every time that an underclassmen is with an upperclassmen, there’s an opportunity to help them, welcome them and help in that transition.”
Junior Piper Stretz, who applied to be a senior mentor, believes being a mentor is a good experience. Her senior mentors inspired her to be one as well.
“I think that being a senior mentor is a really valuable experience,” Stretz said. ”Obviously you have to take care of those kids, like our senior mentors took care of us and showed us around the school and really introduced us, which is why i wanted to do it.”
Coil believes that students benefit from mentoring other students. Not only that, she said that this may lead to more meaningful relationships between students.
Being a senior mentor is “not going to be all the fun and games and bells and whistles, maybe that it has been in the past, but I really think there’s going to be a really rich opportunity there for students to really get the opportunity to mentor a kid,” Coil said. The role will move to having “more direct and meaningful relationships than we’ve had in the past, [but] maybe not. I mean we’ve had those before, but I think it’ll be just a really more directed mentor and tutoring role than it kind of has been in the past.”

By Atreyo Ghosh and Anna Wright