We often are asked who is responsible for the development of social skills and understandings, and the ongoing advisement of academic and social support. When we answer that question with, “Everyone,” it can cause some confusion.
Many are familiar with social-emotional support structures within silos among specialists, each contributing only in their own specific way with no organized synthesis of efforts. But it takes a coordinated community in context, often with the support of outside specialists, to teach, model, advise, and support our students’ development. Implementing continual, low-keyed, non-judgmental guidance over time best supports our students’ social-emotional development. While we are not a therapeutic environment, we have specialists—a clinical psychologist, three counselors, and an educational therapist—on our faculty. They work collectively with parents, teachers, and faculty to create our “wrap around” educational programs and services. All teachers are expected to have the skills to provide the appropriate academic or social support and advisement commensurate with the issue at hand, and all members of the community are expected to anticipate and respond to students’ needs.
Whether it is to promote growth in a specific area, to help navigate complex social interactions, or to cultivate strengths, interests, or gifts, our Academic and Advisory (ASA) program provides students with the support they need to reach their full potential. Students meet in ASA with their advisor 3-4 times per week. All teachers are free during the ASA period to provide assistance where it is most needed. Our Humanities Labs, SAT courses, and Senior Seminar all contribute to the high quality of the ASA system.