TIPS Transformation

Advisory, TIPS will be combined into one class

As students entered the new school year, they were blasted with many changes. Some were found in protocols and others in the daily schedule. One of these adjustments was the TIPS period being modified to include 30 minutes of Advisory. The new Advisory time project is run by a committee of five teachers with performing arts teacher Jordan Foote taking the lead.

“The vision for Advisory is to be a place where all those things we want to get accomplished here at the school that we can’t do in our normal classes,” Foote said. “That’s culture building, school spirit, leadership opportunities, community service opportunities, planning for the future.”

The other four staff members helping Foote out with the program are social studies teacher Matt Christiansen, English teacher Storm Shaw, science teacher Katie Lesando and social studies teacher Laura Mason. Each teacher represents a different grade level, which helps bring a variety of perspectives from the school together. 

“What I like about having the four teachers is, the sophomore team leader, Mrs. Lesando, can chat with those sophomore teachers and those students and see what those needs are,” Foote said. “[Principal Tyler Alexander] wanted to bring on multiple teachers so it’s not just one person because it’s a lot of work in addition to teaching all day.”

Advisory time will be dedicated to showing students how to prepare for the future. Math teacher Randi Ash said she has seen a variety of lessons thus far.

“We’ve talked about organization,” Ash said. “I think it’s good that we are doing this kind of stuff in an Advisory-type class.”

Since most grades have different priorities throughout the year, Advisory is designed to allot time for those tasks to be finished as well. Each grade may have their own unique schedule with seniors working on graduation requirements the same day freshmen are selecting college interests.

“For the most part, I think they are all different,” Ash said. “Unless it’s like an all-school thing like when we have to update or something.”

Many students were confused about how the new system would work and what Advisory time would entail. Junior Shubha Kohli said she was concerned about TIPS being too short to get anything accomplished.

“There is no time to do anything this year,” Kohli said. “When I found out we had to do the lessons I was irritated because everyone needs TIPS to be longer.”

Last year, TIPS was a one-hour period where students had the opportunity to complete any necessary schoolwork. As well, the class offered a reward system for good academic performance. If juniors or seniors met a certain criteria after four weeks, they would be given TIPS 2, which allows them to travel through the school without a pass. However, this year it has been reduced to only being 30 minutes.

“I enjoyed being able to do whatever you needed,” Kohli said. “Whether that was meeting teachers, doing work, attending club meetings, or hanging out with friends and get a mental break.”

Even though Advisory is planned out by a committee of teachers, Foote said they want to make the time as beneficial for students as possible. To do this, they are encouraging students to give feedback in order to make it the best it can be. 

“We are really trying to utilize this time and do it for the students, so if there’s things you want and need, let us know about those things,” Foote said. “We want this to be just as much as a student-driven thing than just a bunch of teachers telling you what to do.”

At the start of the semester, the advisory committee wanted to emphasize the importance of this time to both students and staff. In addition, staff and administration are hoping to lay a foundation to develop a more unified culture within the school.

“The cultural goals that we have aren’t going to happen if teachers don’t care, if students don’t care, if there’s not that buy-in,” Foote said. “I think what I am excited about is that Advisory is continuing to evolve and we’re learning as we go.”