Page 15 - FIS World November 2021
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 teacher and that the teacher is able to provide individualized support to each student in their group.
These small numbers will allow for many opportunities and flexibility when grouping students, horizontally in their grade level and vertically as the program expands to include the remaining Upper School grade levels.
Teachers are also engaged in a nine month long training program that is highly structured and includes asynchronous lessons along with four in- person meetings with SeaChange Mentoring, an organization that specializes in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) - Advisory, Teacher Well-Being, and Transitions. This training further enhances FIS’s commitment to working collaboratively to strengthen its community of learners through meaningful, supportive, and empathetic relationships.
“I like knowing that every day our advisor will be there smiling and ready to greet us and answer our questions.”
- Hannah K., Grade 6
What do students think?
In an initial attempt to gather baseline data to better analyze and adjust the program, a survey focusing on the idea of ‘belonging’ was shared with students. Most students indicated that they felt safe and happy at school and understood their teachers would support them, if they had any problems or needed help.
Teachers will also be asked to respond to a survey as well for the first time. Data will be collected twice during the current school year, at approximately nine and 24 weeks.This data collection and analysis process will help to strengthen the program as it expands to include Grade 8 students.
Hannah in Grade 6 shared, “Mr. Gashut is our go-to person. I like knowing that every day our advisor will be there smiling and ready to greet us and answer our questions. In the morning, our small group meets in Mr. G’s homeroom and we get our day started together. It’s nice to have a small friend group that I can connect with and look to for help. When I first came to FIS, I was really worried about not having friends or knowing how to make them after being home for such a long time because of COVID, but my advisory group helped with this.”
Grade 6 student John says, “Community Time is fun! We connect with our middle school friends and get to know even more people. We are able to learn about who they are and their talents. I like this special time because we are all included in the events.”
In connection with the Grade 6-8 Advisory program, students engage in activities (this page and opposite) that promote social- emotional well- being
Further positive outcomes have been noticed with the new monthly Grade 6-8 Community Time. By deliberately incorporating these events into the academic schedule to bring the learning community together to celebrate their voices and accomplishments, students recognize FIS’s shared values, sense of community and culture.
Ms. Masterson believes, “When the students choose to perform a dance, play an instrument, share some learning outside of class, write and share a Warrior's Report on the weekend sports update or give a speech about their work as Changemakers and leaders of service groups, we create and express our collective identity. The students are integrally part of creating that collective consensus based on equity, justice, and belonging as we celebrate each other. And of course, we had a great dress-up party before Halloween that invited our Middle Schoolers to dance, play games, and eat candy which, I think the students will tell you, was super fun.”
Social Emotional Learning is urgently needed as a means of teaching skills to connect with others, lowering stress levels, building a response system and re-engaging the brain so that students are ready and able to learn. FIS’s Advisory program helps to build a common skill set and positive school culture, with a focus on well being and positive relationships.
Adriana Ardolino FIS Parent
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