This week, I found myself in some very unfamiliar classrooms. I took Wildwood’s Outreach Center on the road to the American School Foundation in Mexico City, where they had requested a tune-up for their upper school advisory program. The American School Foundation (ASF) is a K-12 school in the heart of the city, and I was privileged to facilitate an intensive advisory workshop with a dozen ASF teachers and administrators.
Like Wildwood, ASF began its advisory out a desire to provide a structure allowing each student to have a dedicated, caring adult who looks out for the student’s academic and social-emotional needs. ASF was looking for ways to strengthen its advisory program. Enter Wildwood, whose reputation as a leader in advisory programs is growing beyond America’s borders.
After consulting via Skype and email since October, I finalized a custom plan for ASF and boarded a plane for Mexico City, which, at 8.8 million residents, is the largest city in North America.
On Day One, I met with the upper school dean, but not before taking in some of the city’s great sites, like Chapultepec Park and the National Cathedral. I spent the next day at ASF, on its 17-acre urban campus, complete with an artificial turf-covered football field (that’s American football, by the way). Inside, I visited classes and advisories and met with ASF students, teachers, and administrators to get their take on their advisory program’s strengths and areas for improvement.
Day Three was, by far, the most demanding. ASF’s advisory steering committee and I met at an off-campus site for a six-hour workshop. Here, I shared with my hosts the finer points of Wildwood’s advisory program and led them through a variety of activities to help them frame their advisory’s purpose and structure.
The results: ASF is now well on its way to developing a revamped advisory program to meet their student’s needs. Added bonus: I gained insights about ASF that I’ll bring back to Wildwood, and our school’s reputation as a leader in advisory programs has grown. With other advisory workshops planned for later this year at American schools in the U.K. and Brazil, Wildwood can legitimately claim to be a world leader in educational best practice.