Strong Middle School has an Advisory program that meets once per month to discuss a variety of academic, social and career topics. The Guidance Department develops a lesson plan that each Advisory teacher implements with their group of 10 to 12 students. Groups are across teams and students will have their advisor for both 7th and 8th grade. The small groups allow students to talk and share things they may not feel comfortable sharing in a larger group, while fostering connections with different adults in the building. Below is some information about the upcoming Advisory topic, should you want to open a dialogue with your child. Topics were decided upon based on teacher and student feedback at the end of last year. Please contact the Guidance Department at Strong with any further questions.
To kick off the school year, our Advisory lesson focused on the Core Ethical Values! The lesson allowed students to get to know each other, and discuss how they can positively contribute to their Advisory groups. Then, using a real life example from the Olympics, students discussed the Core Ethical Values and how they can be used in our school. They connected these to our EDGE campaign to “Bee the One!” Each student filled out a slip of paper with what they will “Bee the One” to do to make this a positive school year. Finally, groups talked about tips to make this year a great school year. It was a great kick-off to our Advisory program!
In October, our 7th and 8th graders have an opportunity to start exploring career options for their future. Students will start to think about what is important to them when choosing a career by completing a group activity. Following that, groups will discuss what the word “success” means to them. As a group, each Advisory will complete a collage to represent “success.” Finally, will start to think about their interests and how those could connect to a career in the future.
SAVE THE DATE: Strong’s Career Day will be February 15th! We would love to have you come in and present. More information will be coming through email and Facebook.
In November, Strong Middle School students will see a presentation from Justin Carbonella from the Middletown Youth Service Bureau. He speaks about Internet Safety to both 7th and 8th graders. His presentation will include facts regarding sharing information online, your cyber-footprint, and being a good Cyber Citizen. Using videos, photos and an interactive model, Justin does a great job of keeping the students engaged, while giving relevant information.
Strong’s Advisory groups had the opportunity to see skits performed by the Looking In Theater groups out of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts this month. They performed on a half day, and when they weren’t watching the performance, they were working with their Advisory groups on becoming an Ally. The groups discussed issues that they saw in our school and brainstormed ways to change them. Using the EDGE and DMYFS, “Bee the One” campaign, they thought of ways that they would create change in the school environment.
Both 7th and 8th graders will focus on the topic of Healthy Relationships for the month of January. The 7th graders will see the Safe Dates: Choose Respect program, which is a collaborative effort between Durham Middlefield Youth and Family Services, Strong Middle School and Coginchaug Regional High School. The program is aimed at helping teens be safe as they begin to develop deeper relationships including dating relationships, and is focused on increasing awareness of potentially harmful dating behaviors and providing important relationship tools.
Strong 7th grade students did an introduction to the program/topic during Developmental Guidance with Mrs. Sinusas, and a team of Coginchaug Regional High School EDGE (Excellent Decisions Guiding Everyday) students, along with Durham Middlefield Youth and Family Services, and Strong Middle School staff, will facilitate the workshops. The Safe Dates: Choose Respect Team is a very active group of Coginchaug EDGE students that have received training regarding dating safety from Durham Middlefield Youth and Family Services staff.
The 8th graders will continue to explore the topics that they learned in 7th grade with the program listed above. They will discuss the ways that they wanted to be treated when they are in a dating relationship, as well as read an article from the Love Is Respect Advocate (loveisrespect.org) regarding jealousy. In the end, students will be given topics to role-play so that they can practice handling different types of situations that may come up.
In February, Strong hosted it’s third annual Career Day! This year, both the 7th and 8th graders were able to participate. Members of the local community as well as many from further away, came to Strong to talk about their professions. The students saw two, twenty minute presentations that focused how the person decided on their profession, the path they took to get there and what they do on an everyday basis. Careers ranged anywhere from Mortician, to Real Estate Agent. It was an awesome experience! Thank you to all that volunteered their time to speak to our students.
In April, Strong had two Advisory lessons. The first was a showing of the movie “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age. “Delaney Ruston, the filmmaker, is a Stanford trained physician and social change documentary filmmaker who got the idea to make Screenagers while struggling with her kids over screen time. Looking around she saw the trends of more kids getting smart phones, more tech in schools, and more homework online and wondered what all this screen time meant. As a physician she wanted to understand the science of tech time on children’s development and as a mom she wanted to know what to do. Ultimately Delaney made Screenagers because she believes deeply in the importance of helping kids find balance in our tech-filled world. She is passionate about having the film be a vehicle to bring together parents, educators and kids so that change can happen not just in our homes but in our schools and communities too.” After the movie, students met with their Advisory groups to discuss it and completed activities that went along with the showing.
Later in the month, the CRHS EDGE students came down to present to the 8th graders about being a good Role Model. The “Role Models” workshops were led by high school student facilitators as part of the EDGE Team (Excellent Decisions Guiding Everyday) from CRHS. The team of EDGE students are co-lead by Haley Shoop of DMLWC (Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition), and Nicole Scandariato of CRHS.
Role Models facilitators introduced themselves by sharing their grade as well as the activities they participate in at CRHS and in the community. The teens openly discussed and presented on the dangerous outcomes of marijuana use. Teenagers are increasingly bombarded with mixed messages about marijuana— from TV, the Internet, popular music, and even friends. These messages can make it difficult for students to sort fact from fiction. It is important for teens to have reliable information about drugs. The interactive and critical-thinking activities included in this training will give students important tools to help them analyze the meaning behind media and social messages. Paired with essential facts about the risks associated with marijuana use, these lessons will help equip students to make informed decisions. Presenters will also share about their recent peer to peer and peer to adult marijuana awareness campaign and the importance of preventing youth substance use.
The 8th graders are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about life as a high school student as well as how the high school facilitators make healthy choices to stay substance free. The following websites are great if you would like more information:
National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teachers: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week
The 7th graders worked on activities about Peer Pressure. They learned about the different “tricks” peers use to pressure them into doing something by performing skits, and guessing the trick. They also talked about how to use can use peer pressure in a positive way.
In June, all of the groups will have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the year in their Advisory group. Students will complete questionnaires about the topics they feel are important and what activities they liked. They will also be able to make suggestions for next year’s curriculum. This feedback is great and used every year!