Why beach schools have and need advisory blocks

Advisory block provides a bonding experience between students and teachers


At most beach high schools, advisory block has become a place where teachers meet with a specific group of students to discuss school news and bond with each other for 40 minutes every month.

Advisory block results in a schedule change, causing other blocks to be shortened.

“Certainly, the logistics and scheduling required around accommodating these blocks required some adjustment,” said Virginia Beach Public Schools Director of Communications  Lauren Nolasco.

Although some students and teachers wonder if there is a valid purpose for these blocks, many have come to see it as a helpful class that helps students connect with others and focus on the future.

“I think it’s helpful that they do this because we need to think about our future. And without it there are many kids including myself, who would avoid it till it’s too late,” said senior Ariel Rettinger.

Others see it as a waste of time.

However, schools’ administrative staff see it as a perfect opportunity for students to bond with their teachers and receive important class appropriate information.

“I believe advisory blocks are an important part of the school curriculum. The advisory blocks give students the opportunity to receive important information in regards to academics, study skills, life skills, etc… Students are grouped together on grade level, where they are able to collaborate, discuss, and implement activities,” said Guidance Counselor Bryan Everett.

Administrators hope to produce conversations between students and teachers by sharing lessons on creating long and short term goals, mindfulness, or perhaps, effective communication.

“Through our advisory blocks, we want our students to have the time to meet with a staff member and have meaningful and relevant conversations about their opportunities at the school, their future aspirations, as well as learn some important skill sets that will set them up for success,” said Nolasco.

During the last session, juniors discussed ring ceremony, and seniors discussed college and SAT’s, but previously, they planned for graduation by addressing cap and gown orders. All other classes, like, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen registered for next year’s courses.

“In addition, we are seeing division-wide, our SOL scores increase and behavioral issues decrease. While we do not have direct evidence that the advisory blocks are the causes for those successes, research does show that when students are more engaged in their learning, they are more likely to succeed in the classroom and less likely to require disciplinary action,” said Nolasco.

The school encourages students and staff to give feedback on advisory blocks and how they would like to improve it.

“We welcome feedback; we welcome suggestions,” said principal Dr. Claire LeBlanc.