Health and wellness survey delayed due to data setbacks


Authentic Connections

Due to problems of working with the data provided by Authentic Connections, the new health and wellness survey vendor, the results have not been publicly released four months after students took the survey.

Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu, Assistant Editor

Students took the annual health and wellness survey on Oct. 6, but results have been further delayed due to setbacks of organizing the data before it can be released publicly. The results are in a different format, presented by the new survey vendor.

The switch to a third-party survey vendor, Authentic Connections, was made to better serve the Lab community and address student wellbeing and mental health difficulties, resulting in a resilience survey that asks about student mental health symptoms, rather than explicit behaviors, as the previous survey did.

But the unfamiliarity with this vendor has posed challenges. Wellness/Title IX Coordinator Betsy Noel said Authentic Connections approached this process differently than what was done in the past, which took more time.

“Like all new relationships, relationships with companies take time to learn and grow,” she said. “We have spent the past several months working with Authentic Connections and the results they provided us to identify the best path forward for our community in light of their method that was unfamiliar to us.”

Laboratory Schools Director Tori Jueds said that the dashboard provided by the vendor is complex and not very amenable to immediate translation for a community. She said they are trying to create a format that a reader can actually engage productively with.

“What we’re trying to do is ensure that the results of the survey are communicated to our community in a way that is thorough, transparent, digestible and actionable,” she said.

Lab’s combined middle and high school enrollment is larger than schools Authentic Connections typically works with, independent schools with fewer than 500 students. Ms. Noel said Lab’s larger size requires more time to pull the information from the vendor in the way that the school needs.

“Authentic Connections gave us a massive amount of data that was presented differently than how we had received data in the past,” she said. “We needed time to be able to understand what it was they were presenting and to ask them follow up questions before turning around and trying to give that information to others.”

One new aspect of the survey, which led Lab to use a new vendor, is the consolidation of results including both the middle and high school, as opposed to segmented subsections. This way, the survey narrows individual groups while still offering a broader view of the school as a whole.

“Authentic Connections helpfully provided back to us a good snapshot of our entire student body from 6th grade to 12th grade. But in order to feel like we could be actionable, we needed to look at it more granularly because of the differences between our divisions,” Ms. Noel said.

While the release of survey results has been delayed, Ms. Noel believes the process will be smoother in the future.

“The big time-suck has been figuring out how to pull out from the wonderful package that Authentic Connections put together the most meaningful information for our community,” she said. “That was hard to figure out on the first pass. We’ll be better next time.”