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JFK Forum

Created Summer 2009 by Elizabeth Albertson, Lissa Brouwers, Sal Canata, Christa Chiarello, David Driscoll, Sarah Kiritsis, Julie Spencer-Robinson, Claire Ann Williams



“Every student should be well known by at least one adult.  Students should be able to rely on that adult to help learn from their experiences, comprehend physical changes and changing relations with family and peers, act on their behalf to marshal every school and community resource needed for the student to succeed, and to help fashion a promising vision of the future.”

-Turning Points 2000 

The Northampton School district’s mission includes developing socially responsible citizens in a global society.  JFK Middle School’s mission includes the creation of an environment of mutual trust and respect that promotes self-esteem, dignity, cooperation and the ability to resolve conflicts non-violently. To that end the JFK Forum has been created as an Advisory Program to address issues and concerns that can affect middle school children during their journey into adolescence.


  • Meets for 15 - 20 minutes per day
  • Manageable size of 9-12 students in a class
  • Staff supports concept
  • Activities are varied and student-centered
  • Has a name, logo, and identity, i.e., JFK Forum
  • Teachers become informed about the needs and characteristics of their advisory students
  • Advisees look forward to the forum time and tasks
  • Sessions have common core with flexible implementation
  • A representative leadership team guides the process
  • District and building administrative support


In alignment with the missions of the Northampton Public School District and JFK Middle School we must develop and implement student outreach initiatives to maintain a safe and healthy school environment.  These initiatives and projects should be based on the premise that students, teachers, administrators, and the community will work together to increase student engagement and achieve high academic and social standards.

Mission Statement

The mission of the JFK FORUM is that every student have a relationship with an adult who knows the individual well and can advocate for them.  The JFK FORUM also provides students with a social group of peers who know each other well and can provide academic and social support.

School Wide Goals

  • Create a tolerant and caring community of learners
  • Embrace student questions and concerns
  • Mentor and support students
  • Provide academic support
  • Get to know students well 




  • Weekend Update (Highs and Lows)
  • Character Education
  • What's up

Nuts and Bolts

  • It will occur on these three days for a period of 18 minutes following homeroom and a passing time.
  • All certified staff will be assigned to a group of 9-12 students that will meet in a designated space.
  • All support staff will assist in groups where needed.
  • The highs and lows of the weekend should always be the first forum of the week.  This could occur on Wednesday if we have a three day weekend, snow day, etc. 
  • If an Advisor is absent each advisor is responsible for including the provided sub packet, a list of students, and the location of advisory in their subfolder.
  • ESPs have been assigned in supportive roles for students
  • In the case of a delay, Advisory will be cancelled.
  • Attendance should be taken in the usual manner

 This guide will serve as a blueprint for the establishing of a successful program; one in which the mission of the JFK Forum and its goals can be met.

Characteristics of an Advisor

  • Help set the tone of the group: freedom, responsibility, trust, openness, caring, acceptance.
  • Sets the structure or lack of it; establishes “rules” with the students.
  • Listens to each person.
  • Shares his/her own thoughts, feelings, opinions, ideas.
  • Is aware of and sensitive to social, emotional, academic and physical needs and development.
  • Shares, when appropriate, with staff members who have a need to know important and relevant aspects of each student.
  • Tries to become part of the group and not the leader.

What an advisor should try not to do

  • Control the discussion
  • Manipulate or lead
  • Teach
  • Moralize or preach  

So, what’s it all about?

It’s about building relationships that promote a positive school climate and improve student learning.