Adviser System

At Hopkins, faculty members wear many hats. They teach, coach, lead activities—and they advise. The last is a very important element of the job and involves faculty members more closely with students than most other interactions. The adviser stands at the hub of a student’s life—the connecting point between home and school, between student and faculty, between the present moment and the student’s past and future. Hopkins asks much from its students and families; they ask much from the School. In a very real sense, advisers act as mediators, as well as confidantes, mechanics, parental stand-ins, and whatever else is needed. They need to balance passion and patience, long-range philosophy and short-term expertise, soft shoulders and strong arms.

The Role of the Adviser

List of 9 items.

  • Adviser Groups

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  • Adviser–Parent Relationship

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  • The Practical Adviser

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  • The Personal Adviser/Counselor

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  • Practical Strategies

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  • Absences

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  • Conferences with Parents

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  • Comments & Grades

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  • Special Problems

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Meet the Advisers

List of 6 items.

  • Jocelyn Garrity: 7th Grade

    Grade 7 at Hopkins School is a year filled with a great deal of personal growth, development of important new skills, and the establishment of a love of learning.

    Seventh-graders go through a period of change from their former schools as they adjust to more homework and learn to study effectively, manage time, and organize their new lives. Created by supportive teachers and advisers, the generally nurturing environment of the School is conducive to the inevitable adjustment required of students given new responsibilities. In addition, faculty and advisers communicate frequently with new parents, helping to ease the student's entry into the Junior School.

    The primary components of 7th grade at Hopkins are the promotion of excellent study skills, introduction to and development of analytical writing proficiency, encouragement of experimentation and exploration, and fostering a sense of belonging in the Junior School and larger Hopkins community. This sense of unity starts with a class outing to the Durham Fair in September, a memorable social event for the 7th-graders to get to know one another outside the classroom.

    As a group, the Junior School faculty aspires to guide these young people to become confident, caring, and intelligent human beings who love the adventure of learning.
  • Carrie Shea: 8th Grade

    Teachers and advisers strive to achieve three primary goals by the end of a student’s 8th grade year. First, the Junior School faculty works to strengthen the students’ academic skills and prepare them for their high school careers. Specifically, we work on further developing organizational skills, time management, and strategies for studying. We also work closely with the students to encourage their personal development; respect, honesty, and appropriate behaviors are emphasized at all times.

    Second, we encourage our students to be independent thinkers. The Junior School is a safe, nurturing environment and is the ideal place for young minds to stretch and develop.

    Finally, we aim to create interdependence within the class as a whole. By 8th grade the students feel more comfortable with each other, allowing them to start them thinking about who they are (and who they would like to be) as a class. We begin this process by taking the entire 8th grade onto the Adam Kreiger Adventure Course for a day in September. While Hopkins’ demanding curriculum is rigorous and challenging, the environment we strive to maintain in the Junior School is a non-competitive one.
  • Scott Wich: 9th Grade

    At Hopkins, 9th grade is very much a transition year for students. Approximately two-thirds of the class matriculates from the Junior School, while one-third is attending Hopkins for the first time. Thus, the initial challenge of the year is to bring the class together as a cohesive group. Students begin this process at orientation, where they have the opportunity to meet their advisers and the other students in their adviser group, to tour the school, and to play games with the entire class. Later in the fall semester there is a family picnic for the class, and the school year continues with several social events for the students (from bowling to dances), sometimes including a class trip at the end of the year. Ninth-graders become increasingly well acquainted with one another during the year through their classes, athletics, and activities. Consequently, the social dynamic is constantly changing.

    In addition, 9th grade students must adapt to the increased demands of high school. We expect them to take more responsibility for themselves and their work, to live up to our expectations, and to become more independent. This is the first time that they truly are given unscheduled free time, especially with the addition of "Free Fridays," special days when students do not have to attend supervised study halls. Furthermore, many students must adjust to having athletic practice after school, which forces them to learn how to use study halls effectively and how to organize their time. Ninth-graders are strongly encouraged to join clubs and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, to try new things, to follow their passions, and to develop their talents.

    The key word for 9th grade at Hopkins is undoubtedly transition. Nevertheless, by the end of the school year, it is difficult to tell which students were new to Hopkins and which ones attended the Junior School; they all appear to have been friends for years.
  • Lars Jorgensen: 10th Grade

    The major point of emphasis with the sophomores is to help them master their academic, institutional, and athletic fundamentals. The sophomore advisers communicate frequently with the sophomores about organization, discipline, attention to detail, and accepting responsibility when something goes wrong. A Hopkins student learns to read with comprehension, write with insight, and solve complex problems and to do so repeatedly and on short order.

    The intellectual and emotional transformations that occur during the sophomore year are essential to preparing the Hopkins student for the opportunities and challenges of the Upper School. The young people are no longer the “new kids,” and the immaturity exhibited by the younger students is increasingly something of the past. Students typically make enormous strides in self-awareness, in maturity, and in the sophistication of their interpersonal relationships during their sophomore year.
  • Emilie Harris: 11th Grade

    At Hopkins, the junior year is the portal to adult sensibilities and perspectives, a world in which juniors turn their attention away from the past and the pleasures of the present, and more toward the needs and possibilities of their futures. It is both daunting and exhilarating; no wonder they approach it and live through it intensely.

    It is a time shadowed with myths, chief among them the fable that the Hopkins junior year poses impossible burdens and insurmountable peaks. The reality juniors find and create is somewhat different. It is probably the most demanding year at Hopkins, but juniors discover that they have prepared themselves for it; it is well within the range of their ambitions and abilities. It makes them grow and discover new strengths and an enlarged sense of self.

    It is a year in which students take on numerous AP courses, take their first official SATs, and meet with college counselors in groups and individually to see how closely their college dreams match reality. In all these new challenges, they grow increasingly aware of and oriented toward their future prospects and what they want to be and can be.

    It is a year in which students discover the bracing freedoms of extended privileges and independence: driving themselves to school, and enjoying the ease and liberty of unsupervised free time. They also discover that their teachers expect them to respond with autonomy and self-direction to their intellectual challenges. Moreover, juniors take on greater leadership roles, directing not just themselves, but others as well

    It is a year that ends in remarkable—even radical—changes in the way students see themselves and their place in the world.
  • Marie Doval: 12th Grade

    The senior year is, naturally, the culmination of it all. It is time for the seniors to step up and make their mark on the school. They do so by assuming leadership roles as club and activity heads, as veteran athletes and team captains, as lead performers in music and theater productions, and merely by taking their rightful place at the top of the social hierarchy.

    The college application process, which began in the previous spring, is in full swing by the fall of senior year. Campus visits, interviews, essay writing, the lining up of recommendations, and the filling out of applications become a major focus during the late fall, and the process generally reaches a crescendo by the start of the winter holiday. A fair number of seniors have the good fortune of receiving early admission acceptances in mid-December, but the majority of seniors must play a waiting game until late March or early April. A few last campus visits help them to make a final choice.

    As always, academic and social matters demand a great deal of time and energy. Expectations are high for the seniors, and a solid performance during the first semester can be particularly important to college admission committees. For the most part, seniors can say goodbye to standardized testing by the end of November, as requirements are nearly satisfied, although many remain focused on the pursuit of AP credits throughout the spring. With the advent of Term II, the academic pressure is largely off. In recent years up to two-thirds of the senior class has elected to undertake Senior Projects during the final two months of the year, encouraging them to branch out in electives and untested areas for the sheer joy of learning something entirely for its own sake.

    Ultimately, the senior year is about tying up loose ends and consolidating friendships with peers and important relationships with adults as students prepare to embark on an entirely new phase of their lives. Commencement is the culmination of several years of growth, endurance, success, and accomplishment; there is a bittersweet reality that an important chapter is concluding. For most, graduation day is filled with excitement and overwhelming pride.