At Mountain View School, we believe social learning is as important to our students’ success in life as academic learning. Our faculty believes that knowing the physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs of the students we teach is as important as knowing the content we teach. Research has demonstrated that the greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction in a supportive community. When students feel connected, heard, empowered, and safe, academic engagement increases. Like our academic programs, our Advisory program has been developed based on this philosophy.
Based on the Developmental Designs approach, the Advisory program at Mountain View School is based on the developmental needs of students in Grades 5-8, allowing our young adolescents to practice what they long for in a supportive atmosphere. At this stage of development, middle level students have four essential needs – they crave relationships, autonomy, competence and fun. The Advisory program includes interactive activities relevant to these interests and needs. By practicing ways to navigate their desires appropriately, our students will experience success not only academically, but socially as well.
Founded by the Origins Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing equity in education, Developmental Designs is a research-based approach to sustaining positive social and emotional growth among adolescents in school. In order to be productive members of society, the Developmental Designs approach determines that middle level students need to practice the key social and emotional skills in the CARES model:
To read more about the Developmental Designs approach, please click here.
Advisory Groups are comprised of about 12 students that meet twice a month with their designated faculty member. Topics and activities are based on themes developed by the Mountain View Advisory Committee and outlined in the Advisory Book, written by Linda Crawford for Developmental Designs. Students feel comfortable participating through a consistent format that provides a sense of order and safety. Advisory meetings begin with a greeting, are followed by an individual or group share, and conclude with a related activity or game that allows students to practice the designated skill.
Effective Advisory programs prepare students to learn by making school meaningful and pleasurable. They teach important social skills that allow students to enjoy relationships and negotiate life independently and responsibly. Most importantly, Advisory programs build a positive school climate, and provide an adult advocate for each student in school. Advisories build a school community that establishes and fosters trust, both student-to-student, and student-to-adult.
To read more about research findings that examined the effectiveness of the Developmental Designs approach published in the Fall 2011 issue of Middle Grades Research Journal, click here.