Advisor Program

WMA students speak about what our Advisor Program means to them ...

...the student/teacher relationship transcends the classroom walls.

WMA Advisor Program 101

Who is an advisor?

WMA Advisors are members of the faculty, staff and administration who devote their time, passion and energy to ensuring growth in every student.

what value does an advisor bring to a student?

Advisors help students:

  • develop academic plans
  • interpret WMA requirements, policies, regulations and procedures
  • develop decision-making skills
  • understand the implications of their choices
  • by serving as a liaison between the Academy and parents
  • take advantage of special opportunities like Global Scholars/Leaders, international travel, alumni connections, weekend activities, summer programs, etc.

Why does my student need an advisor?

WMA understands that students need academic advisors to be advocates, confidantes and a balancing force in their life. More often than not, they also just need someone who will listen to them. The advisors act as the keystone in each student’s educational experience at the Academy.

what value does an advisor bring that a teacher or coach might not?

Advisors are able view the student’s whole experience (academics, athletics, extracurricular, social), rather than just a snapshot of the classroom.

what are the dynamics of an advisor group?

Advisor groups are intentionally kept small to ensure the quality and frequency of the advisee and advisor interactions.

The group (typically six students or fewer) meets approximately three times each month. Advisor group meeting time is built into the weekly academic bell schedule - from 9:55 - 10:20 a.m. - on Thursdays.

How can an advisor help parents of a student?

WMA's advisors act as a link between the Academy and their advisee’s family. When family members have a question, comment or concern, they are encouraged to contact the advisor. The advisor will either help them or direct them to the appropriate department for further information.

How often will the Advisor communicate with parents?

Advisors will contact their advisee’s family throughout the school year and have an opportunity to meet with them during Family Weekend in October.

Families are always welcome to request meetings with their child’s advisor. Open and frequent communication between the student, their family and the advisor allows for a student experience that is built upon transparency, support, and intention.

My Advisor & Me

My No. 1 Advocate

Our Advisor Program
As shared by Dean of Students Liz Squindo

Thursday at WMA is the most “WMA” day of the week; full formal dress code with matching school blazers, all-school meeting and sit-down lunches are all a part of our traditions. These traditions all are integral to making our whole school community, and the Advisor Program is a fundamental component to an individual student’s WMA experience. When a student starts at WMA, their faculty advisor becomes their:

  • point person
  • No. 1 advocate
  • guidance counselor
  • coach
  • chief cheerleader

The purpose of the advisory program is to build a relationship that extends beyond the classroom. The relationship is between the student, adult and family, and everyone’s focus is on the student’s academic social, and emotional growth and success.

We Match Students with Advisors

Since the advisor is such an important role in a student and family’s WMA experience, we take great care in matching students with their advisors. Every summer, the Admissions team and the Deans Office meet several times to make the pairings. New students are matched with an advisor who they will see throughout their day - like a teacher, dorm parent or coach, and who shares some common interests. Returning Upper School students can keep their advisor for the whole time at the Academy, and they also have the opportunity to change. Middle School students may keep their advisor for their duration in the Middle School or change as well. This allows the student to have a voice in who is a part of their support team at WMA.

Strength in Numbers

Advisors work with three to six student advisees. We intentionally limit the groups to six students, so students and families can receive individual attention from their advisor. Upper School advisory groups meet every week immediately following our Thursday School Meeting. Middle School advisory groups meet during the class third period on Thursdays. They have lunch together and meet as a group following lunch. The frequency and timing of these meetings allow time for advisors to reflect on school meeting presentations, support students’ goals and initiatives, and monitor students’ progress.

From Start to Finish

The first advisor meeting of the year happens during the Opening of School weekend. Families and students have an opportunity to meet their advisor and start building their relationship before classes even get started. During the college search process, advisors can provide support to their advisee and their college counselor with a listening ear or, if needed, consistent reminders to submit components of the application. As the year progresses, the advisor works with the student’s teachers and the Deans Office to ensure the student is being challenged, supported, and guided. From the first meeting on, advisors work to identify students’ interests to allow them to personalize their WMA learning experience and to maintain communication with families about this learning experience.

We Have Our Own Identity

Advisories reflect the uniqueness of the advisor leading the group and the advisees within the group. So while there is an advisory curriculum focusing on individual goal setting, health, and social-emotional development, there’s also open advisory time for advisors and advisees. Often times, sharing favorite foods becomes an essential part of the advisory. Advisors may drive or walk with their groups to off-campus a local cafe or farm stand or invite them to their on-campus home to share a snack and relax.

Tailored Approach

Advisory groups are an integral part of our support system at WMA. Advisors know what’s happening on all fronts of an advisee’s life and the advisor tries to make sense of it all. Whether it’s handing out exam-week care packages or a stern reminder to get their homework in, advisors’ role vary depending on a student’s needs. Working alongside the students, the advisors learn the students’ strengths, talents and areas for growth. With a strong relationship, advisors can have honest and productive conversations about their advisee’s successes and challenges at school.

Every student comes to WMA with their own strengths and areas for growth. It’s an advisor's job to support their advisee and the family. The advisor’s role requires a tailored approach for each student. A student with high academic achievement may not need help organizing their backpack or Google Drive; however, they may need guidance on how to create an evening routine, without their phone, to get a good night’s sleep. Another student may need their advisor’s assistance in coordinating a schedule to see teachers for extra help. Whatever the student’s need, our advisors start by listening to the student to find out how they can best serve their advisee.