The Plan

In a junior high school that serves over 900 students, our administration wanted to find a way to get a consistent teacher contact with the students to guide them through their eighth and ninth grade years.  The goal of the program was to build personal relationships with students so that they would feel comfortable talking to a teacher about their future plans and educational goals.

To achieve this goal, an opportunities/advisory/excel period was created right after 2nd period.  The advisory period, which happens about once a month, has the teacher working with students on their portfolios that include their four year plan, high school and beyond plan, and their work samples.  At the end of the year students present their portfolio to their teacher and parents.

The majority of this extra period is spent using opportunity/excel.  During this time students go to their advisory classroom, check in, and then go to opportunities or excel.  Students are assigned excel if they are failing classes, but if they are clear they can go to opportunities which allows them to go to the commons or gymnasium area to socialize or play games.

Scope Creep

The original goal of the program was to build personal relationship with students so they would feel comfortable talking about their future plans and educational goals.  Somewhere along the line the the opportunity/excel program was implemented alongside the advisory program.  As a teacher it is difficult to switch gears once a month to address the advisory program.

Students are so used to coming into my classroom without any expectations that when they have to stay to work on the advisory materials they are disappointed.  Student disgust with having to stay in the room permeates throughout the lesson.  Although the opportunity/excel period has it’s merits, the advisory program has suffered.

Project Management Implications

The stakeholders still have not addressed this issue because they highly value the opportunity/excel period.  They set out to accomplish one goal, and ended up achieving a different one.

The scope of the project was expanded to the point where the original goal was diminished.  Using a change of scope document to communicate and approve changes with the stakeholder, will help manage the growth of the project.  (Video Program: “Monitoring Projects”)  I would use this document to make sure that the original objectives are fully met.  Realizing that changes to scope can diminish the results in the beginning of the project may have deterred scope creep that happened.