MIDDLE SCHOOL ADVISORY OVERVIEW
The Middle School’s advisory program provides support and direction for students’ academic, emotional, and social growth so that they become community leaders with sharp minds, generous hearts and kind souls.
To support the mission and philosophy of a Jewish community day school, in which each person is treated with dignity and respect in the image of God.
- To facilitate communication between the student, faculty, administration and parents.
- To designate for each student one adult who takes a special interest in all aspects of a student’s life at Milken, and is therefore one of the people responsible for initiating efforts for that student’s welfare.
- To help students develop character, independence and responsibility in the context of a supportive pluralistic community.
- To help students develop personal direction in the realms of learning, spiritual practice, and ethical action.
Advisory at the Middle School is a two-year program. Students are in advisory groups of twelve to fifteen students. The advisory groups are multi-age, and students stay with the same advisor for two years. Advisories meet three times per week to grapple with the themes of normal adolescent academic and social development. Advisory is focused around four units: Community, Identity and Diversity, Relationships, and Wellness.
Service learning is also a core part of the advisory design. For their service learning work, advisories will participate in the Koreh L.A. program. Students participate in the Koreh L.A. program where they travel to Sylvan Elementary school and partner with an elementary school buddy, or they travel to an assisted living facility where they are partnered with a Senior Friend.
Unit One – Community
The Community Unit focuses on creating a healthy Middle School environment. In this unit, students build a trusting relationship with their advisory and advisor. Through our work at orientation and Camp Milken, students get to know members of the Milken Community. The text Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer frames our service learning project, explores themes of community, and introduces topics in subsequent units.
Unit Two—School Relationships
The School Relationships Unit focuses on communication. The unit helps students to understand that friendships need to be nurtured as we change and grow. Using the book The Misfits by James Howe, students also explore what it means to be part of a social group while maintaining individuality within the group. Examining what bullying is, advisories define what their role is in eradicating it from the Milken community. The curriculum raises their awareness of social hierarchies while concurrently reinforcing their responsibility to work to create a just community.
Unit Three – Identity and DIversity
The Identity and Diversity Unit helps students to understand more about themselves and their world as they navigate their way through the many changes of adolescence. The unit focuses on student’s awareness of how they learn. We use the text The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie to examine the societal different expectations, behaviors, interests, and roles of diverse communities. The curriculum also gives students an opportunity to reflect on the choices they make about how they function as individuals and as a member of these communities.
Unit Four – Wellness
In the Wellness Unit, students look at the intersection of physical, social, and emotional health. We look at the sources and effects of stress and begin to find ways to manage stress effectively. This unit also helps students to understand that life is unpredictable, and, while they cannot always control what happens, they can control their reactions. Students grapple with the idea that feeling good about themselves allows them to feel good about other things and other people.