Central to IVA's mission to create an atmosphere that inspires growth in the personal qualities of excellent thinkers is a weekly, virtues-based Advisory, in which every student participates. 

Throughout the year, groups of around eight students meet with their assigned advisor, a trained adult mentor who creates opportunities for the practice of intellectual virtues. Curriculum developed for Advisory includes direct instruction in the nine master virtues, methods for self-assessing intellectual character growth, and the opportunity for each student to explore, in depth, a topic of specific and intrinsic interest to him or her.

Devoting time to self-initiated study helps develop students’ natural curiosity, a master virtue, and gives students a practical way to grow in this capacity with their peers. 

Moreover, Advisory offers a safe environment for students to discuss their personal development of intellectual character through the weekly check-ins and conversations. Students are guided to bring what they are curious about to the group for intellectual exploration and play. Advisors teach students how to creating a big how or why question, choose a Thinking Routine or protocol for exploring the question together, and choose a text, which can be a podcast, Ted Talk, video, article, or other reading selection. 

Advisories Cultivate Cultures of Thinking

Practices like Advisories create, "... a dynamic group of people who feel that they are learning together and creating something greater than that which any individual might produce. It feels good to be a member of a culture of thinking...A culture of thinking produces the feelings, energy, and even joy that can propel learning forward and motivate us to do what at times can be hard, and challenging mental work."
- Ron Ritchhart, Creating Cultures of Thinking

Bring Advisories Home with Family Advisories:
Families - try out one of our Family Advisories at home. We "assign" these optional and fun conversation guides occasionally over the holidays. The following examples aim at guiding families to explore what they are curious about together using an Advisory-type approach. Develop a culture of thinking together where you can reflect on and learn about ideas as well as how you approach learning. 

These conversations should be fun where intellectual exploration and play combine with the safety of a supportive environment that practices the types of values that IVA has adopted as an organization. 

Thinking Routines at Home?
Download the reference sheet that is provided to students and try out one of these Thinking Routines in your own conversations. 


Advisory groups, which meet 8:20 to 9:20 a.m. every Thursday, are one of the most important and distinct features of IVA students’ education. 

Check our our Advisory in a Minute video to catch a glimpse.