Pagosa Springs Middle School

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Advisory Program Overview

All staff purposefully develop a strong, positive school culture through a daily advisory program called Pirate Time.  This class meets Monday through Thursday for approximately thirty minutes.  Through this program, staff and students build strong rapport and make those human connections that provide the foundation for our educational program.  Students engage in team building, fun activities, social-emotional learning (SEL) activities and form strong character traits.  We utilize the Second Step advisory curriculum for social-emotional learning once per week with a monthly topic of focus for each grade level.  Our counselors lead our advisory program and work with grade-level teams to develop weekly agendas that are posted in the classes.  Our teachers use cognitive coaching strategies to assist students in developing a growth mindset, ownership of their education and overall growth.  Additionally, teachers facilitate service-learning projects, work to connect their students with the community, and the future. Advisory teachers are responsible for parent-teacher conferences and will closely communicate with parents as they coach their students through the middle years.

We strategically embed the five elements of the Developmental Relationships Framework as outlined by the Search Institute - express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power and expand possibilities. We also utilize the Developmental Asset Survey developed by the Search Institute every other year to monitor how our staff relates to our students. 

The purpose of running an advisory program at Pagosa Springs Middle School are as follows:

  • To provide an organizational structure in which one small group of students identifies with and belongs to one educator, who nurtures, advocates, mentors, communicates, and shepherds through school the individuals in that group. 
  • To foster rapport, trust, friendship and team building within the group.  
  • To make it possible for students to belong, meet their need to affiliate with a group, and make caring manageable for a teacher, enabling the teacher to express concern in a personally satisfying way to a small number of individuals and parents. 
  • To create team-building events together throughout the year to provide common opportunities and experiences to get to know each other in a deep, meaningful way. 
  • To provide a specific time during the school day to teach lessons that focus on the social/emotional development of middle school students.  
  • To provide structured time when items of importance, sometimes unexpected, can be discussed thoroughly by small groups with a higher level of trust and concern than is found in the regular classroom.
  • To facilitate regular monthly meetings where teachers will coach and monitor the progress of each advisee – academic growth, social-emotional growth, and attendance.
  • To foster and facilitate formal and informal communication between parents and the school, including conducting parent-teacher conferences.
  • To organize and facilitate numerous service-learning opportunities throughout the school year as well as make connections with the community.                       

                                                                                                     Nurturing a Teacher Advisory Program by Claire Cole