The Human Development program at Prep is multifaceted, designed to help students grow, achieve and thrive. Each grade’s Human Development program has a special focus and unique opportunities, and students are supported academically and emotionally by peers and trained adults throughout their time at Prep. Philosophically, our College Counseling curriculum, which encourages introspection, self-knowledge and exploration, is a logical outgrowth of Human Development. Students who know themselves will go confidently into the world and make a difference, creating an engaged, balanced and responsible life.
Peer Counseling and Tutoring Programs
At Flintridge Prep, student-to-student counseling and tutoring cover just about every base you can think of. From managing homework to offering advice on the best way to ask someone to Homecoming, our students dig deep to help each other out—which is a testament to how tight-knit our campus community is. There are many programs that aim to provide new students with an insight into Prep; they simultaneously let experienced students “give back” and learn to be mentors.
Rising seniors can apply for one of 24 openings each year to serve as peer counselors for a small group of seventh or ninth graders. Your peer counselor is definitely a friendly older student who will go out of his or her way to say hi to you. Beyond that, peer counselors help students with their transitions to middle school and high school, giving an orientation to Prep, advice on making friends and answering “Where do I?” and “How do I?” questions. Seniors are prepared to take on this responsibility through weekly training sessions and required enrollment in Prep’s year-long Psychology course. Peer counselors travel with their counselees on outdoor education trips and meet with them regularly throughout the year to provide support and mentoring.
Eighth Grade Buddies
Eighth Grade Buddies is a student-designed program that pairs seniors with 8th grade students to offer friendship, advice and support throughout the year.
The Senior Leaders program was created by senior class officers who saw that informal tutoring was happening all around campus. Now, faculty choose senior leaders for every academic class, as well as performing arts, sports, “clutter busting,” student government, SAT Prep and the STEAM and Service Fair. These leaders are available to help younger students and peers with homework, questions or concerns.
After they take the PSAT on campus in the spring, 11th graders meet with 10th graders in groups to talk them through the experiences of junior year and answer any questions they may have. The conversations prepare sophomores for junior year course selections (finalized at the sophomore class retreat) and enable juniors, who will soon be taking part in a day-long career mentoring program with adults from the Prep community (Prep Exchange) to practice their own mentoring skills.
The outdoor education program provides stimulating and challenging experiences outside the classroom. The Director of Human Development and faculty lead week-long trips at the beginning of the 7th and 9th grades that create class unity for students coming together for the first time. Each trip highlights team-building activities and offers personal challenges that allow students to succeed personally as well as within a group, to gain self-confidence and to feel a part of something larger than themselves. Life-long friendships often are formed, and students are offered wonderful possibilities for personal growth and to discover the talents and skills of their classmates.
Seventh Grade Trip
The objective of this five-day outing is to inspire environmental ethics and build class unity through team activities. Set in the mountains in Big Bear, CA, the camp location is a unique and pristine environment for the students’ rustic outdoor classroom. Academically, this trip into a local “outdoor classroom” ties into the ecology unit of the 7th grade science curriculum. Socially, this trip is a great bonding opportunity that brings together the newest members of the Prep community, along with their peer counselors and faculty, so that they can get to know each other better and learn our community values.
Ninth Grade Trip
The 9th grade trip, like the 7th grade trip, aims to establish a sense of class unity, and is crucial in this year of major adjustment. During their first month of school, students spend five days at White's Landing on Catalina Island and are provided with opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing as they expand their knowledge in the areas of marine ecosystems and ecology, natural history and geology. In addition, students are engaged in team-building activities in both small and large groups, with the goal of bringing returning students and new students together as a cohesive, bonded class. Peer counselors and 9th grade faculty once again join the trip, using the time as a unique opportunity to share our community values with the class.
The 12th grade trip is the last time the senior class is together before Commencement. Its main focus is to provide a meaningful time of reflection, bonding and closure. This five-day program takes place on the Ocean Mesa, El Capitan Canyon Camp. Activities include river rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing, hiking and rock climbing. The activities inspire teamwork, help students share leadership responsibilities and reinforce cooperative learning. The week closes with The Pine Cone Ceremony, a personal time of sharing class memories, challenges and celebrations around the campfire. When seniors return to campus, they are ready for the ceremony of graduation and to become alumni of Prep.
The school year at Prep is marked each spring with the Sophomore and Junior Retreats, which celebrate and evaluate the close of one year while beginning a conversation about the responsibilities and challenges offered by the next. It’s an extended time for the classes to reflect and come together with classmates and faculty.
The Sophomore Retreat begins in the evening on campus with student-directed discussion groups, which allow students to address specific class-related issues and prepare for their pivotal junior year of high school. The evening conversations set the stage for the next day’s trip off-campus, where the groups meet with faculty to discuss the opportunities and challenges that come with the junior year. Students are asked to consider their role in the greater Prep community and how they will create a sense of balance during the upcoming academic year.
The Junior Retreat is a two-day off-campus celebration and discussion. The class celebrates its arrival as the incoming senior class. With administrators and senior year faculty serving as facilitators, the class evaluates and defines its leadership position in the school – a responsibility that comes hand-in-hand with long-awaited senior privileges. Assessing their own unique strengths, the rising senior class is challenged to think outside the conventional functions of student government and pre-existing programs to define how they will individually and collectively contribute to the school community to have a dynamic, vital and complete senior year experience.
Senior Horizons is a special two-day program for graduating seniors. Just before spring break, the entire senior class gathers off-campus for short sessions that will help them with life after Prep. The first day is devoted to college and the skills students will need for being on their own academically and socially. Recent graduates share stories and discuss lifestyle choices with seniors and faculty. On the second day seniors can choose two different career panels and discuss possible professions and jobs and internships with parents in fields as diverse as law, media, medicine, art and engineering.
9th Grade Advising
Ninth Grade Advising is a program where small groups of students, organized by gender, meet with a faculty member one period a week. The purposes of the program include building relationships, providing a guided launch into high school, and discussing developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant topics.