The advisory system is at the heart of the Lawrence Academy experience. At its most basic, an advisory group is 4-8 students of varying grade levels, backgrounds, and friend groups, and a faculty member advisor, who see each other every school day. Advisors monitor their students’ welfare and academic progress, are in charge of students’ twice-monthly progress reports and are also families’ main point of contact at LA.
However, advisory groups are much more than a required daily check-in: They're close-knit units where students should gain confidence and inspiration, and feel safe to share both triumphs and struggles. The advisor and fellow advisees provide guidance, motivation, and friendship; some celebrate birthdays and other big milestones. In short, an advisory group becomes an on-campus family.
Lawrence Academy students receive electronic progress reports from their teachers during advisory group meetings on Blue Week Wednesdays.
Teachers’ reports provide students with praise, encouragement, and constructive criticism, as well as advice, reinforcement, and specific pointers for improving academic performance. Because comments are addressed to the students themselves, this system allows the students to take responsibility for their learning, with the student's advisor supporting that ownership.
Perhaps more importantly, the frequency and consistency of teachers' feedback give advisors insight into patterns or changes in a student’s attitude or behavior that could be the first sign of a problem. A teacher’s written comment can spark a one-on-one session, a larger conversation, or a phone call home to the student’s family. Opening the door for these sorts of interventions often helps clear up misunderstandings or solve a potential problem early on.