At Linden, we pay a great deal of attention to academic advising in order to increase student success by ensuring they benefit from our 100% university acceptance rate, and that they thrive at university once they get there. We believe that there is a direct correlation between our strong high school program, effective teaching and academic advising, and the fact that Linden students excel at university with a zero percent dropout rate.
Instead of a “one-size-fits all” approach, Linden students have the advantage of receiving individualized academic planning and advice from our full-time Guidance and Learning Counsellor, Ruthie Szamosi. Ruthie recently shared some of her thoughts on advising students and the challenges they face in today’s competitive world.
Linden: What are the most important areas of focus in your role?
Ruthie: My role focuses on student well-being, interpersonal skills, and academic planning. My goal is to facilitate student transition from elementary to secondary school and from secondary school to university so that students can thrive in the classroom, in their relationships with others, and, eventually, in the workplace. Advocating for students and supporting students’ self-advocacy is also very important to me. The teachers and I work together to foster a culture of engagement and empowerment so that Linden students can see themselves as agents of change and use their voices passionately and responsibly.
Linden: How does Linden support student well-being and healthy interpersonal relations?
Ruthie: From the very beginning of the year, we work with students to develop confidence in themselves and their abilities, as well as empathy for others. We cultivate an environment of respect and kindness every day by modeling this kind of behavior and setting clear expectations. This might be in classroom circles and discussions, in All-School activities, or in our individual interactions with students. By creating an environment of safety and support and valuing equity, justice, and diversity, we give students the space to be authentic and vulnerable, which then gives them the opportunity to build strong and healthy relationships with each other. When students face conflict or any kind of adversity, whether social, personal, or academic, we help them build the skills they need to problem-solve and own up to their mistakes so that they can use them as opportunities to learn and grow.