A framework of academic and personal support exists at Nichols, affording students the individual consideration that distinguishes a Nichols education. Most advising at Nichols happens informally, as students seek out trusted adults for questions, concerns and conversation. The formal advising systems in the Upper and Middle Schools exist to ensure that our students have ample contact with their advisors, and advisors have ample opportunity to address a student’s concerns. Frequent contact between deans and students, advisors and advisees, and parents and teachers makes certain that all Nichols students are cared for and supported.
In the Middle School, each student is assigned an advisor who meets daily with advisees to keep abreast of any academic or social issues that may arise. The advisor is primarily an advocate for the student whose job is to help oversee advisees during their time in the Middle School. The advisor should be the parents' first contact with any concerns and questions or any other school-related matters. Advisors also run weekly Advisory group sessions with lessons in character, service and academic skills. The relationship among an advisor, student and parent works best when each party understands and fulfills his/her role in helping the student to be successful.
The advisor will contact parents at regular intervals throughout the school year to provide academic updates and also when a student is experiencing academic difficulty or his teachers express concern about the student. We hope that parents will call their child's advisor when outside circumstances arise that may affect the student's performance at School. Our advisory program strives to strike an age-appropriate balance between supporting students in their academic endeavors while allowing them to become independent learners who are responsible for their own academic success. The advisor is not responsible for his/her advisees' academic success; rather, s/he is responsible for helping the student implement practices so that he might be successful on his own.
Over the four years of Middle School, the nature of teacher communication with parents will change in order to make students increasingly independent as learners. Determining just how much to expect from a student at any time in the process of maturation is best done with the combined resources and communication of school, family and student.
In the moments when students need to talk through academic, personal or social matters, or college plans and career questions, faculty members are ready to help. Most students find a particular faculty member with whom they feel comfortable and to whom they can turn in confidence. In addition to these informal relationships, a formal advising system exists.
The formal advising system does not impede or hope to preclude the spontaneous relationships between students and teachers, but guarantees one such relationship for each student. Most students continue with the same advisor for several years assuring that students have an adult in their school life who shares their academic, extracurricular and social successes.
Each advisor meets with his or her advisee group once weekly, on Wednesday mornings in normal weeks. Advisors are also present at all-school Morning Meetings and Form-level meetings. Through these meetings and periodic one-on-one discussions, the advisor follows each advisee’s academic, social and extra-curricular progress. Advisors suggest practical tactics and strategies for improvement in study habits, organization, relationships with teachers, and other academic concerns. The role of the advisor is principally as an advocate, supporter and personal faculty liaison to the student.
Advisors present a comprehensive character and leadership development curriculum comprised of 36 lessons presented over the course of a student's Upper School career. The lessons are from the CTRIS Curriculum from the The G. Frederick Zeller ’47 Initiative for Ethics and Character. All lessons, selected by the grade level Deans, are chosen for their developmental and Nichols experience appropriateness.
Class Deans, key figures in a student’s life at Nichols, devote the majority of their time to managing the overall concerns of a class and the needs of its individual members. Deans communicate regularly with parents, sharing information about almost anything that may concern a student’s behavior, performance or well-being at Nichols.
Feel free to call your child’s Dean or advisor at any time. Deans are available to field most questions related to your child, from course registration issues, to problems in a specific class. Your child’s advisor, likely a teacher, may be more difficult to reach during the school day, but is often a good point of contact for personal concerns. Deans will inform advisors of pertinent information related to a student and vice versa.