Upper School Counseling
All students in the Upper School are assigned to an academic advisor on a yearly basis. Each member of the Upper School faculty serves as an academic advisor for a group of 8-12 students in a combined grade level; freshman/sophmores and juniors/seniors. By combinging the grade levels, the older students help support their younger peers by fueling questions and offering advice. The primary purpose of the Upper School advisor program, simply stated, is to ensure that each and every student has many strong, positive relationships, or “connections,” with the faculty and his/her peers at school. Studies show, and experience proves, that students who are well-connected at school do better academically and socially and are more likely to be happy, healthy, confident, and relaxed. The advisor maintains active, informal lines of communication with individual teachers to monitor each advisee's academic progress and is intended to be the first point of contact at school for parents.
The Upper School’s advisor program is student-centered, meaning that advisors always strive to act in an individual student’s best interests—keeping in mind, of course, that one person’s needs sometimes have to be balanced with the needs of the community as a whole.
Strong connections between students and faculty build trust and familiarity. At times students may feel comfortable disclosing sensitive, personal information to an advisor or other adult at school. Students should bear in mind that in some cases school employees are obligated to report these disclosures—for example, when they involve abuse or the risk of harm to a student or someone else. However, PCDS expects its employees to notify a counselor and/or administrator every time they perceive that a student’s well-being may be at issue.
Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors each spring are given the opportunity to express their advisor preferences for the following school year. Incoming freshmen and new students are assigned to advisors by the school according to a variety of factors.
The Upper School advisor program is coordinated by Ms. Jenny Treadway, Assistant Head of the Upper School.