New student advisory program to ease transition for new Upper School students

A new student advisory system headed by Assistant to the Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken and Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church will be instated for all students new to Harvard-Westlake at both the Upper and Middle School. In previous years, the Upper School has lacked a support system for new faces on campus.

“The purpose of these advisers is to give the student somebody to talk to and a friendly face on the Upper School campus,” Church said.

The 23 incoming sophomores and juniors will meet once a week with their advisers. Juniors will meet with Father J. Young, and sophomores will meet with their Choices and Challenges teachers.

T his is to help ease the students into their different learning environment and community at the Upper School campus. The meetings are designed to be one-on-one, but there is the possibility of having meetings with groups of students in one setting. They are based on the advisory program that has been used for a few years for new ninth graders.

“It worked so well on that population that the thinking was we should expand it. So new ninth graders are a unique group at this school,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said. “They come in and have to hit the ground running in high school so just giving them a little extra counsel and opportunity to have a teacher there to serve as their advocate and helper and mentor because they were in a unique position. It worked so well for that population it was extended to include all new students.”

Each group will decide when to meet and what to discuss during each meeting.

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