Perhaps the school’s most distinctive feature is its advisor program. At Roxbury Latin, we promise each boy will be known and loved, and the advisor tradition most effectively ensures this goal. In the school’s formal guidance system, every student has an official faculty advisor. Younger boys and boys new to the school are either assigned an advisor or choose from a list of their teachers and coaches. Older boys express their preferences from among any of the faculty. Every effort is made to honor their preferences when advisors are assigned. Students are invested in the special relationship between advisors and advisees and bear a large share of the responsibility for making it work.
The faculty advisor’s role is pastoral. The advisor seeks to understand the total life-picture of his or her advisee: the boy’s goals and values, his home and family life, his relationships with others in the school community, his commitment to and involvement in the curricular and extracurricular life of the school. The advisor listens, counsels, and encourages—and even rebukes in appropriate doses. Some advisor/advisee meetings are formally arranged and set; others are casual and informal. Typically, an individual advisor/advisee meeting takes place every week. In the fall, an advisor meets with each advisee’s parents in order to discuss a boy’s progress and to arrive at common expectations. In the spring, every advisor writes an all-encompassing letter to each advisee’s parents. This letter covers every aspect of the boy’s life at school. While a parent may contact any member of the faculty and staff at any time, typically, when it comes to the experience of the student, contacting the boy’s advisor is the right place to start.
A boy may turn to any master, not just his advisor, for advice or counsel. The Headmaster, Assistant Headmaster, and Dean of Students are especially well positioned to help him. Boys in need of special academic help have the opportunity to meet regularly on campus with the school’s learning specialist. Both faculty members and older students (through our in-house tutoring program) are available to help students with their academic work during free periods, as well.
What we hope for—and what almost always happens—is that each boy will form close, informal relationships with a number of faculty members. Many of our graduates speak of such friendships, along with relationships forged with classmates, as their single most important and valuable experience at Roxbury Latin.