Process of transforming PRIDE causes mixed reactions

Bryjae Bembry, Staff Writer

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Many high schools around the country have either homerooms or an advisory system, a place students go every day to check in with a teacher and build relationships with people in the school community whom they might not otherwise interact with. The high school is moving towards an advisory schedule similar to this, transforming what we currently know as PRIDE into something more productive.

Originally, PRIDE used to be twice a month where students would go to a room given to them their freshman year. The groups were randomly assigned to ensure diversity. In this setting, students would learn what events were going on throughout that month and to recap the months prior, as well as setting and evaluating goals in accordance with the school’s pillars — preparation, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence. However, meeting so infrequently did not allow for true relationships to be built within this environment. For the past several years, the PRIDE structure has remained the same. The changes made this year and inconsistencies in implementation have caused confusion among some students.  

This year PRIDE has changed from being twice a month at varying lengths to being every Tuesday for 30 minutes. This change is part of a schoolwide transformation that is meant to shift the school to be more focused around student-centered learning and to give students the experience and preparation they need to succeed in their lives beyond high school. Advisory systems allow students to foster close relationships with an adult in the building, as well as a group of students to help keep each other on track to their academic and non-academic goals — creating a support system. They have been shown to drastically improve school culture, as well as be an area where students learn practical soft skills needed in life, such as interpersonal skills, leadership, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.

With this change, comes varying opinions from the student body. Some students feel as though they don’t learn anything during this time and that it takes away from instructional time. Senior Rose Romano said, “I believe that PRIDE is a waste of potential time for not only students but also teachers.”

Sophomore Talia Ventrelli, said, “I feel PRIDE is taking away from our education. It makes our core classes shorter  and students and teachers are getting no benefits from it, kids don’t take it seriously and it has not been shown to be improving our school.”

However, senior Stephen Hill, who has experienced a successful advisory system in a previous school he attended, said, “PRIDE isn’t working because we don’t have it as much as we should.”

In the schools that have successful advisory systems, they meet at least once a day and spend time fostering relationships and working together. In order for the goals of PRIDE to be accomplished, time needs to be spent in the groups that is productive and intentional. The skills learned will help students take on the academic and personal challenges that come with growing up.

Despite some resistance, PRIDE is here to stay. It has been worked into the bell schedule for the 2019-20 school year and has been shown to be successful within schools across the country. However, in order for the high school to see the many benefits that an advisory system has, the implementation has to be intentional and thoughtful and the school community has to be willing to give it a try.

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