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Volume 23, Number 1
January/February 2007

Getting Advisory Right

Focus and commitment are keys to connecting with youth


It was a particularly tough parent conference. The mother of a student who had been suspended begged Richard Esparza, then a first-year principal at Granger High School in Granger, Wash., to readmit her son so he could get his diploma. When Esparza looked up the student's record, he found that after four years of school, the student "only had six credits to his name." The mother, realizing that her son would not be eligible to graduate, burst into tears.

"That's when I said, 'OK, we better work on our communication,'" Esparza recalls. "I had this experience in my first year, and in our second year we started our advisory program."

Schools across the country are looking-or in some cases looking again-at advisory programs, in which teachers meet regularly with small groups of students to help them navigate the challenges of school life as a way to improve graduation rates, family involvement, and academic performance.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

D. Osofsky, G. Sinner, and D. Wolk. Changing Systems to Personalize Learning: The Power of Advisories. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University, 2003.