The Harbor- A New Way to Learn at LHS


Faithanne Burgoon, Editor in Chief

LHS staff and students have been watching episodes from The Harbor during advisory on the second Monday of the month. The Harbor is a series of Jostens Renaissance Education Videos meant to encourage and teach students important social and emotional skills.

“[The Harbor] is something I brought to the building leadership team and showed teachers. As a staff we thought it was something high school students could be keen on,” LHS principal Jeremy Holloway said.

This series of videos is free to Jostens school districts. Schools who order class rings, senior caps and gowns and other apparel have access to these hundreds of videos whenever they want.

“Currently the program has over a hundred episodes, so we preview them to see what would be a good theme based on the grade of students and the time of year. For example, juniors started with a tough topic in November: suicide prevention, ” Holloway said.

Starting in the middle of the year, though hard, allows students time to adjust and catch on to the trend of these videos. Students can watch as many videos as they want. Not only is this for students to learn, but also students and advisory teachers to bond. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisory teachers about more than just school. The ultimate goal is to teach students important life lessons and that it’s okay to ask questions. Advisory often becomes just a sit and study time so students are likely to forget to stop and talk to the people they will be with for four years, including advisory teachers.

“The Harbor is not something that we’re saying you get an A or a D for. It’s not graded content. Hopefully, we can expose [students] to real life situations and prompt [them] to ask questions. You’ll see someone you can relate to,” Holloway said.

Jostens looks for schools who have positively used these videos as ways to promote students’ futures. Mike Smith, the man who is the host of these videos comes to visit schools and puts on programs to teach students important life lessons. LHS administration has gone above common applications of the videos and have tied them into the state standards for social/emotional learning. Perhaps Jostens to come to LHS to see how these videos have been used and taken seriously and share that curriculum with other schools.

“There’s certain [videos] that are easier to hear and use for discussions and there are ones that are more controversial. There was good insight from what freshman thought about cyberbullying when that video was shown.” Holloway said.

Advisory teachers have also been challenged to go above and beyond. Students shouldn’t just watch a short video and expect it to go away. The purpose is the make a positive impact on students and encourage them to make a difference.

“I told teachers to be creative–be teachers–with it. Teachers need to look at it as a lesson. Tie in other materials or combine advisory classes. Here’s the minimum, now it’s up to teachers and the feedback from students to get more out of this. My hope is that it becomes something useful, not just another thing we have to do,” Holloway said.