Similar, but different: the Milken advisory change

Avi Sholkoff

Staff Writer

Starting this year, the advisory program will have more structure and a different curriculum in comparison to previous years. This curriculum focuses on a theme for every month and includes daily activities, ranging from writing journals to yoga to other de-stressing activities.

“[The goal of the new advisories is] to better utilize the time to meet student needs,”  Ms. Ann Whiting, Director of Student Life, said.

The vision statement of the new advisory program states that “the advisory  peer group will serve as a cohesive community to support one another, celebrate accomplishments, and face challenges.” One of the goals of the advisory program is to strengthen Milken through the building of strong, intimate communities.

Milken instituted this new curriculum when Ms. Cheryl Cohen, Director of the Advisory Program, along with Whiting, felt that advisories needed to be consistent with one another—every advisory should be doing the same activities.

She believes that the advisory program needs to facilitate students’ development into young adults while giving them the opportunity to express themselves openly.

Students have mixed reviews about the new advisory format, with freshmen tending to enjoy it more. This may be because a majority of these students are just coming from the Saperstein Middle School, where advisories are more structured.

“I like advisory; it’s a nice break from the day,” Sawyer Kroll ‘17 said.

However, some students who experienced last year’s advisory structure are not keen to this year’s changes. “I think that the activities are unnecessary, and we should be able to ask our advisors questions and do schoolwork,” an anonymous junior said.

Several others echoed his sentiments. “I want advisory to go back to the way it was last year,” Blake Lewitt ‘16 said.

Unlike the ambivalent attitudes of the students, most teachers believe that this new curriculum is better. Mr. David Kates, head librarian, enjoys the new program.

“I think it’s quite good. Advisors now have more of a curriculum… and it adds more structure, which is good,” Kates said. He also agrees with the fact that  advisory should be more than just a period for social interaction.

According to Whiting, the bottom line is that the program has not changed. Students will still meet in groups of nine to ten during Kehillah twice a week. The interactions with the advisor will be the same.  She sums it up best in this way.

“Advisory will be the ‘Same time, Same place, Different program.'”