Last year when the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, also known as the NEASC, came to Andover to re-accredit the high school, they pointed out one requirement that the school was not currently meeting.  This missing piece is a standardized advisory time for all students. 

Sophomore Ian Angle's vision for the Community Building block.
Sophomore Ian Angle’s vision for the Community Building Block.

According to the NEASC’s standards for accreditation, schools need “a formal, ongoing program through which each student has an adult in the school, in addition to the school counselor, who knows the student well and assists the student in achieving the school’s 21st century learning expectations.” In other words, a small group of students should be assigned to a teacher that works with them throughout their high school career.  While meeting with their groups, students would have a chance to bond with fellow group members, meet with the selected teacher advisor, and be issued documents such as report cards when necessary.  As principal Dr. Christopher Lord puts it, the advisory time really “personalizes” the high school experience for students.

Throughout New England, schools have chosen to implement this personalization in a variety of ways.  While some schools have chosen to simply assign the groups, other schools have chosen to use clubs or sports teams to meet this standard. As of right now, the staff of Andover High School has chosen the name Community Building Block for this advisory plan, and are currently in  the process of picking the best way to execute this program.  So, while the exact details are still not set in stone, one thing is for sure: Andover will soon be seeing a new program that will personalize students’ high school experiences and bring them closer to their fellow peers and teachers.

By Sophia Boyd