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Virtual Advisories

Building meaningful relationships with students in a virtual setting 

Overview

Many schools have maintained close teacher-student relationships as well as peer-to-peer connections by incorporating strategic social and emotional structures into the virtual learning experience. One example is the use of virtual advisories, which are built into each student's schedules in order to ensure all students, regardless of physical location, have a meaningful relationship with at least one adult at the school.

Approach

Schools can choose to incorporate virtual advisories in various ways, depending on grade levels, scheduling, and number of students. Here are some examples of how virtual schools have made advisories an essential part of their virtual learning experience:

  • Scheduled Advisory: Taos Academy requires advisory as the only synchronous part of a learner’s day. Students have virtual face-to-face time with their homeroom teacher each day, during which they focus on goal-setting, social-emotional learning (SEL), and metacognitive work.

  • Flexible Advisory: VLACS allows students to determine when and how often they want to meet with their advisor. Students stay with the same advisor over the course of their academic journey at the school, facilitating a meaningful relationship with both the students and their families. Advisors help students determine what they’re working on, what support they may need, and how to handle their coursework moving forward.

Innovative Practices

School leaders have shared a few different methods for ensuring that virtual advisories are effective and meaningful for students and families. Some of the interesting ideas (budget-permitting) are:

  • Hiring certified counselors to better support students’ SEL needs.

  • Providing a summer boot camp for teachers to become better aligned as advisors and better equipped to handle challenges that may arise.

  • Creating opportunities for in-person meetings where students and advisors can meet face-to-face, such as community events, graduation, etc.

  • Keeping advisors with the same students while they are at the school to foster a deeper connection.

“A lot of our advisors and our teachers will say that they have a deeper relationship [with their students] than they did when they were in the physical space because they really have the time to get to know the family, and the family usually invites them in. [When we] meet virtually all the time, we get to know each other's family members, pets, and whomever else is running in the background. That's very different from being in a face-to-face situation.” – Steve Kossakoski, Chief Executive Officer, VLACS


Strategy Resources


Taos Academy’s Synchronous Advisory

All students at Taos Academy are required to join their weekly synchronous advisory meeting with... Learn More