Students speak on Advisory/Character Strong

Is Advisory and Character Strong really beneficial?

Sanger Hi-Lights would like to preface this opinion piece by stating that the issues we are addressing are ongoing and administration is continuing to pilot the two new additions to our schedule. Our opinions and our informal survey are based off of initial reactions from students. -ED


Are students and teachers really using “advisory” and “Character Strong” to its potential? The answer our administration would love to hear is “yes.”
But are we giving them our honest answers? How are students really feeling about changing the late start/tutorial schedule and adding the new classes in our schedule this year.
All the talk among some students and teachers is that it’s useless and a waste of time.
Advisory (Tutorial’s replacement) should be helpful to catch up on work and the new deployment system is intended to give students that time to go to other classes.
At the time of writing, many students’ initial reaction to the deployment passes are confusion. Deployment requires planning in advance, getting signatures from your advisory teacher as well as the teacher whose class you’re “deploying to,” is only available on certain days, and only allows five students per advisory class to deploy.
This process is overly complex and contributes to the negative attitude around Advisory, but many don’t or can’t use it because students are not allowed to go to the classes where they need help without the pass.
Character Strong is another added class designed to help with students’ mental health. Many kids don’t want to tell the school about their problems or really talk about mental health once a week during Character Strong. Even when we are learning to be a “better person’’ most of the students aren’t paying attention.
A student commented that it is difficult for people to be vulnerable in school. Another said it should be improved.
A survey was conducted by Hi-Lights asking students’ opinions. Over 535 responses were recorded ranging from all grade levels. Overall, 61% of students agree that students and teachers are NOT using Advisory and Character Strong in a productive way and it does not benefit students.
In the survey, a few students had positive things to say about Advisory like it gives them time to do work, but overall the comments we recieved in the survey were negative. Here are just a few of the direct comments from students, “it is a poor waste of our academic time,” “it’s useless,” “…students don’t seem to enjoy Character Strong or care about it,” “…the goal sheets don’t exactly help all that much,” “Character Strong feels like a forced social interaction,” “not everyone pays attention and Character Strong does not make sense,” “Bring back Late Start,” “it feels pointless. I got so much more out of seeing teachers I needed to talk to, then just doing work inside a classroom…” and “Character Strong is a waste of time,” while others just disagreed with the organization saying “it would be ok because students could complete some work but it’s just the overall flow of it. It’s even messing up our whole schedule which just isn’t sitting right with students and teachers.”
How are other high schools changing their courses and schedules? Can we look at other options or bring back tutorial and late start?
The main question at hand remains, is Advisory and Character Strong an overall benefit for students? Our answer is no, just no.