Hands-on Advisory: Curriculum, Themes, and Activities

Chase Center on the Riverfront • Wilmington, DE





$3,414 Non-Member

Travel and accommodations not included

[$2,902.00 Gold Member]

Registration for workshop has closed

This experience was very valuable giving me a clear direction for how to take our Advisory program to the next level.

Traci Smith, Advisor Moderator/English Teacher
De La Salle Collegiate High School, MI
Workshop participant 2017

A thriving advisory program is a difference-maker for middle and upper school students. How does yours rate? In this highly interactive workshop, educators explore core concepts for focusing, enhancing, and building (or rebuilding) the advisory program so that it reflects and supports the mission of the school.

Exchange a wealth of ideas in small groups with colleagues from the same division. Leave with substantive recommendations for others back home—supported by a comprehensive outline of advisory practices, themes, and activities—as well as an action plan to make it happen.

Topics Include:

  • Drafting a mission statement for the advisory program that connects to the school’s mission
  • Exploring design models with which to frame the advisory program
  • Learning and sharing techniques for engaging students in individual and group advising with an emphasis on the difference between academic and personal guidance
  • Educating colleagues about “yellow light” and “red light” issues
  • Developing advisory themes and activities to support both academic success and personal development
  • Creating strategies to bolster faculty buy-in and professional development as they work with today’s adolescents and their families
  • Exploring strategies to assess your program’s strengths and needs
  • Drafting an action plan with short- and long-term goals
  • Establishing relationships with colleagues to share and exchange ideas

Who Should Attend:

Middle and upper school educators who are new to advisory, or those who want to revamp their advisory programs should attend.

NEW: Mission-Based Advisory: A Professional Development Manual (3rd Edition)
The Mission-Based Advisory Book is included as part of your admission to this workshop. Mission-Based Advisory is a comprehensive, how-to guide for enhancing your school's advisory program. Paying increasing and well-deserved attention to students’ social-emotional learning and general well-being is now essential.

staff photo merritt livermore

Merritt Livermore

ISM Summer Institute Faculty | Head of Upper School at McDonogh School


Merritt lends her expertise in leading advisory programs at the middle and upper school levels, helping educators focus their programs to reflect the mission of their school.

Current Role

As Head of Upper School at McDonogh School, MD, Merritt leads her school, working with administrators, faculty, and staff to support their students and the community at large.

Prior Experience

A McDonogh alumna, she was previously a Dean of Students and Associate Head in the middle school from 2004 to 2014. In this role, she oversaw the advisory program and served as Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. She provided in-depth knowledge of K-12 curricular issues and facilitated conversations between divisions and departments to realize emerging goals.

Merritt began her career teaching middle school in a public school system outside of Washington, DC. She also served as an instructional technology coordinator for more than a dozen K-12 public schools. In addition to working with schools as they developed and implemented their technology plans, Merritt coordinated various professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.

For several years, Merritt served as an Executive Board Member and President of MICCA (Maryland Instructional Computer Coordinators Association), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing leadership for advancing meaningful uses of technology in the educational communities of Maryland.

Merritt has presented at the annual conferences of MICCA and AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland Schools). She has also shared her ideas at several national forums, including the National Council for the Social Studies and the National School Boards Association Technology + Learning Conference.


Merritt earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park, MD, and a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, MD.

staff photo scott winham

Scott Winham

ISM Summer Institute Faculty | Upper School Head at Seabury Hall


Scott has been an Upper School Head for over eight years. He is passionate about helping advisors build and administer their programs to improve student outcomes.

Current Role

As Upper School Head at Seabury Hall in Hawaii, Scott is responsible for all upper school programs, including the advisory program. He has been at the school since 2000.

Prior Experience

Before becoming Upper School Head, Scott acted as a math teacher and Dean of Students at Seabury Hall. He has been an educator since his graduation from MIT in 1993 and began his career teaching and coaching in a public school in Woodstock, VT.


Scott has a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a master’s degree from the University of Scranton.

• Continental breakfast is available starting at 7:15 am on Day 2

Day 1

2:30-3:30 Registration

3:30-5:00 Session One

5:00-5:30 General Session

5:30-6:00 Reception with ISM

6:00 Dinner with ISM

Day 2

8:30–10:15 Session Two

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Three

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Four

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Five

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM

Day 3

8:30–10:15 Session Six

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:15 Session Seven

12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

1:15-3:00 Session Eight

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00 Session Nine

5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM

Day 4

8:30-10:15 Session Ten

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-12:00 Session Eleven/Action Planning

Workshop Location
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Hotel Location
Westin Wilmington
818 Shipyard Dr.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Group hotel reservation rate of $169 is available until May 25, 2018. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

Make your hotel reservations by clicking the RESERVE YOUR ROOM link above or calling 302-654-2900 and letting them know you are with ISM.

The riverfront has a lot to offer you to occupy your downtime after an intense day of professional development training. Follow the river walk for restaurants, the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge and the DuPont Environmental Education Center, the Delaware Children's Museum, and Stratosphere Trampoline Park, to name a few.

Take in a movie at the new Penn River Cinema, with not only comfortable stadium seating but also an IMAX theatre. At various times during Summer Institute, the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks will take to the diamond at the next-door Frawley Stadium. For Planet Fitness members, there is a large facility across from the Westin.

The outstanding River Rock Kitchen is right inside the Westin, but you are also walking distance to the first-class Iron Hill Brewery, Delaware's Big Fish Grill, Timothy's on the Riverfront, Joe's Crab Shack, and Firestone; Udon Thai Cuisine and Del Pez for Mexican; Molly's Ice Cream (sandwiches too!), the Riverfront Market and Harry's Seafood Grill just a little further down the Riverwalk. If you need your fix, yes, there is a Starbucks too...and a Subway.

You can also hop one of the Dart First State Route 12 Riverfront buses to go to LOMA, or Lower Market Street, for more excellent restaurants we well as the Queen Theatre.

Getting There

By plane and shuttle: Philadelphia International is the closest airport. A shared van shuttle to Wilmington —a 45–60 minute ride, depending on traffic and the number of riders—costs about $35 each way. Visit the del express.com reservation page (https://delexpress.hudsonltd.net/res) and select click on the Group Code button. Enter 207866 at the bottom in the GROUP ID box. You can reach Delaware Express at 800.648.5466.

You can also use UBER — rates will vary depending on time of day, etc. You can use the Fare Estimator on uber.com to determine the fair. Use UberX or UberPOOL for the lowest fares.

Flights to Baltimore (BWI) can be less expensive, but it is an 80-mile trip to Wilmington. A shuttle costs about $125 each way, or you can rent a car at the airport.

By train: There is an Amtrak station in downtown Wilmington. You can request the hotel shuttle for transportation.

By car: Click here for directions from the Philadelphia Airport to the Westin Wilmington.

How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

It is essential that your school approves the following e-mail addresses from ISM:




You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation e-mail and access to your workshop's Google Drive account—from these e-mails.

What does my registration fee include?

All workshop materials, breakfasts, lunch or dinner daily, and social hours are included.

What is not included in my registration fee?

Hotel accommodations and travel expenses, other meals not noted.

What should I wear?

Meetings rooms are generally cold, as temperature control in meeting spaces and large convention centers is difficult. Please bring a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt.

Summer temperatures average mid-80s to a low of 65. It can get quite hot—into the 90s—and humid. The classrooms and guest rooms are usually comfortable, but you may want to dress in layers in case the rooms are too warm or too cool for you. Dress is casual. Wear whatever is comfortable—jeans, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. For current weather conditions, we recommend checking weather.com.

What should I bring?

You’ll receive a letter from your workshop instructor letting you know what to bring. However, please bring a laptop or tablet for online access.

Where can I work out?

The Westin has a state-of-the-art fitness room and an exercise pool. Planet Fitness members can walk across the hotel parking lot to the expansive Riverfront Planet Fitness facility. The Riverwalk provides an excellent running and walking path as well.

Can my special dietary requirements be met?

Absolutely. Just give the Workshops Department a call at 302-656-4944, and we'll make sure your needs are accommodated.

How much free time will I have?

There are periods before, between, and after workshop sessions for relaxation, recreation, and networking.

Should I need medical or dental attention, where should I go?

Should you need medical attention in a non-emergency, notify ISM staff and the hotel staff. The hotel can recommend what facilities are available, and may be able to supply transportation. In an emergency, call 911.

Confirmation Policy

We will correspond with you through e-mail as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its beginning. Occasionally, we may be forced to cancel an unconfirmed, scheduled workshop due to insufficient registration. So we ask that you do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive notice that your workshop is confirmed. (ISM will not be responsible for any change/cancellation charges assessed by your airline or travel agent.)

Cancellation Policy

If circumstances change and you cannot attend the workshop, you must confirm your cancellation in writing via fax (302-656-0647) or email (workshops@isminc.com). If you do so at least 10 business days prior to the start of the workshop, you can request a full refund of monies paid. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, we will refund you all but $600. If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, you will forfeit the entire workshop fee.

If you enroll using Consortium Credits, and cancel your attendance in writing at least 10 days prior to the start date of the workshop, all Credits will be returned to your school. Thereafter, but prior to the first day of the course, if you cancel, all but two of the Credits will be returned to your school. (You have the option of buying back those two Credits for $600.)

If you do not cancel in writing prior to the start date of the course, your school loses all the Consortium Credits used for payment.

Please note that non-payment of tuition does not constitute a cancellation. Failure to appear does not constitute a cancellation.

*We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.

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