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Student Support

Listening Groups

To support the sense of belonging and the sense of unique self, listening groups provide a time where an advisor meets with a small group of students from the advisory to share and listen. As Stephen Covey states in his book The Eighth Habit, finding one’s voice and inspiring others to find their voice is the most important habit of the habits he promotes.

When students feel heard, they are more likely to listen to others, build trust and respect, enhance understanding of themselves, and nurture empathy and caring. This leads to better academic performance as students gain confidence in speaking up in class, grow in critical thinking, and foster their ability to formulate their own opinions honed by critical listeners. This structure is one of the critical aspects of River School’s implicit curriculum

Advisory

ADVISORY CLASSROOM is a place where students and Advisor come together as a family to share, to play, and to develop and enhance the well-being of the students. It is characterized by a freedom of expression and everyone being personally present to each other. This class, at the beginning and end of each day, bridges the transition from home to school in the morning, and from school to home in the afternoon.

The Advisory class should foster the students’ ‘sense of belonging’ in the school environment. Our goal is that each and every student feels that he/she belongs here and is comfortable in this setting. Each student should feel comfortable with every other student and adult in our school. This sense of belonging will hopefully spill over into other settings in their lives.

Advisory also fosters the ‘sense of self’ in each student. We want each student to become comfortable with the individual that he/she is and is in process of becoming. Our advisory role is very important in fostering this individuality and independence.

GOALS:

  1. Support all students in being successful academically and socially and personally.
  2. Foster a sense of belonging in the Advisory class and the River School
  3. Foster a strong sense of self in each student and a sense of community.
  4. Throughout the school year each advisory class should be working toward the ability to function as a huge listening group: attentive, appreciative of each other’s individual uniqueness, helpful, caring.
Student-led Conferences

In keeping with the principle of nurturing student voice, students conduct their own academic conferences twice a year. They spend hours preparing for this conference using a protocol that includes gathering their work for each class, writing a letter to their parents sharing what they have learned and what they have to work on in each class, and getting written feedback from parents. When students conduct their own conferences, they gain ownership of their learning and feel empowered in charting the course of what they need to do in other be successful academically.