Build a Better Advisory Program Through Backward Design

Mar 09, 2020 9:00AM—2:30PM


Laguna Blanca School

Cost $300 members; ($450 non-members)

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Research clearly supports the premises behind why schools have advisory programs: When students feel known by and connected to adults in school, their academic and personal achievement increases—and teacher job satisfaction grows. Yet many schools’ advisories lack the intentionality and vision necessary to ensure their long-term effectiveness.

This workshop posits that a strong advisory program needs to be conceived and built as…a program (just like any academic or athletic program).

In this day-long session, you’ll use a backward design process to re-envision your existing advisory program or build a new one from scratch. While the tools and strategies will be applied specifically to advisory, they are general enough to be used in any context—from class lesson planning to curricular program development.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Utilize backward designing tools and strategies to envision and outline their Advisory programs (e.g., identifying goals and enduring understandings)
  • Build advisory theories of action to assess their program’s effectiveness and for future planning
  • Share the successes and tribulations of their existing advisory programs, or their visions for new ones, with other supportive participants
  • Briefly survey the research pertinent to strong advisory programs

 This workshop is ideal for:

  • Administrators responsible for advisory and other program development, Dean of Students, Dean of Curriculum/Studies
  • Teachers who are advisors and are, or will be, involved in their school’s advisory program development.


Steve Barrett is a career educator with 29 years in the field. For the past 10 years, he’s directed the Wildwood Outreach Center—Wildwood School’s professional development center in Los Angeles. Through the Outreach Center, Steve has coached teachers and school leaders in advisory practice and program development worldwide. Steve has also facilitated professional learning in other areas—from social-emotional learning, to assessment systems, and teaching practice. Steve spent the first 19 years of his career as a classroom teacher—in public high schools in Illinois, as well as at Wildwood School and Sage Hill School in Newport Coast (where he was also a dean and program director).


Cancellation Policy

Life happens. We understand that there will be times when you cannot attend a workshop that you have registered and paid for. We strive to be as helpful and flexible as possible when things out of your control happen. Please visit our FAQ page for detailed information about our cancellation policy and answers to frequently asked questions about enrollment and membership.