IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS: AN EXPLORATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL ADVISORY PROGRAM
High school is a pivotal time in the development of an adolescent (Anfara & Caskey, 2014; Browne, 2014). Because of the varied experiences that high school students endure, in and outside of school, the development of a stable school community is important. Healthy student/adult relationships can be fostered through an effective advisory program; thus cultivating a community of support and mentorship. This qualitative case study explored the inception and evolution of the advisory program at a Metro Atlanta charter high school. As the foundation for the school, the advisory program has been perceived to be critical to its success. Furthermore, it is embedded in the school’s genetic makeup. The study explored the history and transformation of homeroom and advisory programs in education. Throughout the investigation, past and current programs were assessed. The site of study was examined, using a logic model program evaluation strategy, in order to provide a basis for the implementation of the program and its impact on students, teachers, and administrators. The state of the program was reviewed; the perspectives and experiences of participants were explored in order to reveal if lasting relationships were developed through the advisory program. Further, through the lens of the Communities of Practice Theory, the study explored if true community was established as a result of the advisory program. In order to assist in the examination of the development and impact of student-teacher relationships, a high school advisory program was investigated. Perspectives and overall feedback regarding the development and maintenance of an advisory community from teachers and students was collected through interviews, focus groups, observations, and a survey for data triangulation. Using an interpretive lens, this qualitative case study revealed that if strong relationships exist as a result of the effective execution of an advisory program, alignment with intent and practice must occur. Through the development of an ideal logic model, the advisory program could be replicated and implemented in all high schools with the goal of offering adult support to adolescents during the critical period of social and emotional development that occurs throughout one’s matriculation in high school.
Caldwell Templeton, Kyra Monet