We all have that person in our lives. The one who is our first call when a major life event happens. The one who we can wake in the middle of the night without a second thought. The one whose hug is the best medicine. For many of us, our parents or our best friend serve as that person. At Proctor, the advisor doesn’t seek to replace the parent or best friend, but becomes another person for each of our students.
Sharing a meal with people you care about is an event as ancient as you can get. Breaking bread together is a symbol of forgiveness, togetherness, and a shared understanding of our humanity. It is a signal of coming together, sharing resources, and forging friendships. It is especially important in our fast paced world, where a sit down dinner can be elusive at a school like Proctor where we are all going in a hundred different directions, all good directions, but different. This past weekend we carved out time for Advisory dinners. Some had to play field hockey at New Hampton, or soccer against Bridgton, but we did our best to share a meal together, and it was a powerful experience.
Crafting a mission statement is an impossible task. How, in a paragraph or two, can you capture the entirety of a complex learning community like Proctor? How can you concisely provide the north star toward which your school constantly works? We talk about our core values and key programs, but one short phrase in the middle of our mission statement cuts to the very heart of our beliefs about education: We recognize the potential of each member of the community to stretch beyond what had been thought possible.
Comprehending the complexity of the role the advisor plays within Proctor’s educational model can only be understood once a family has experienced the relationship first hand. We recognize this is the cliche` pitch of "You have to see it to believe it!" incoming families don’t want to hear, but we believe deeply the only way you will truly understand the role of the Proctor advisor in your life is to live it yourself. New students are able to login to their myProctor portal today to see who their advisors are for the upcoming year. Each advisor will soon be sharing a welcome letter with their advisees, but in the meantime, here is an open letter to incoming students from an advisor reflecting on his experiences with Proctor students in the past.
Advisory Dinners are some of the best evenings of the semester, though scheduling them is not easy. Last Wednesday night my advisees came over for a meal, but we had to balance a JV Girls Soccer game at 4:00 pm, Open Gym at 6:15 pm for a basketball player, extra-help for a math student, and the time I needed to clean up my house, bake a lasagna and frost a birthday cake. I try to do a dinner for each advisee’s birthdays, letting them choose the meal and the kind of cake they desire, a tradition left over from my childhood. (My brother always chose fish-sticks, my sister never failed to opt for spaghetti.)
With November 6 quickly approaching, the word ‘midterms’ sparks an immediate reaction: an opportunity to change course. Operating on a trimester system, Proctor has officially passed the midpoint in the Fall Term, and with that achievement, numeric and effort grades have been assigned in each course. Last weekend’s parent/teacher conferences afforded a valuable check-in on each student, and today’s release of mid-term grades should reinforce the larger dialogue around each student’s growth.
Today’s blue skies, warm sunshine, and clear pathways will soon give way to more than an inch of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures tomorrow and Friday. The weather patterns this winter have been changing at the same breakneck speed with which we navigate the Winter Term at Proctor. Sunrises, classes, assembly, afternoon programs, races, games, rehearsals, extra help sessions, study hall, college counseling meetings, sunsets blur into a life that is equal parts invigorating and exhausting. In order to set our eyes on the invigorating, and not solely on the exhausting, we must intentionally carve out time to press pause and connect with each other.
As we approach the end of September, students have navigated their first major assessments in their classes and have settled into a rhythm at Proctor. This week and into next, parents, advisors, dorm parents, coaches, and students will begin to receive the first Official Notes from classroom teachers reflecting on these first few weeks of class. The short, informative comments included in these notes provide insights to each student’s recent performance in class, but more importantly, serve as the foundation of an on-going narrative we use to engage students in reflection upon their own growth.