The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Sophomore advisory established

The school implemented a Sophomore Advisory block every Day 4 to provide opportunities for student wellness, mental health and relationship-building. The mandatory program is an addition to the reformed Sophomore Seminar, which now focuses primarily on school-related matters.

Upper School Dean Nia Kilgore said the new class will provide more faculty resources for students and ease the adjustment to the new campus.

“The goal for adding the [Sophomore Advisory] was to give sophomores more touch points with adults in the community,” Kilgore said. “Having a dean, and now an advisor and a dedicated counselor for each sophomore gives more support to the scaffolding that is in place to help sophomores transition to the Upper School.”

Kilgore said the advisory will create deeper relationships between deans and students.

“[Sophomore Seminar] is the most important group connection sophomores will have with their dean,” Kilgore said. “Having some of the social [and] emotional learning content pulled out of seminars and moved to advisory will ostensibly give deans more time with their sophomore cohorts and invariably get to know them better, sooner.”

Sophomore Advisory is only a 40 minute block as opposed to the hour long Sophomore Seminar but will still aim to create meaningful discussions regarding self-awareness and relationship skills. Head of Sophomore Advisory and Psychology Teacher Tina McGraw said advisors can support students’ mental health.

“The advisor relationship is unique because advisors don’t grade students and they also aren’t the assigned dean,” McGraw said. “It means that the incoming sophomores will have another adult on campus who cares about them and who they can go to for support.”

McGraw said the new advisory could build on students’ social skills and personal wellness.

“The other goal of advisory is to facilitate skill building for students in the intrapersonal and interpersonal domains,” McGraw said. “These include self-awareness, self-management, social and cultural awareness, relationship skills and compassionate action. These skills are important for building resilience and healthy relationships which support good mental health.”

Darren Yilmaz ’26 said the main focus of Sophomore Advisory at the beginning of the year has been group bonding.

“So far, sophomore advisory has been helping us build connections between students by introducing ourselves to the rest of the class,” Yilmaz said. “My class in particular also went through a fun exercise in which we paired up and drew name tags for each other.”

Yilmaz said he believes the new block will be a beneficial opportunity.

“From my first impressions, the Sophomore Advisory seems like it will shape out to be a fun and laid back atmosphere where we are able to share any issues troubling us and hopefully sort them out,” Yilmaz said.

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