U-High Midway

Survey results highlight need for change

With health data, administrators will take action

STRESSFUL+STUDIES.+With+his+uneaten+lunch+close+by%2C+junior+Tyler+Pomposelli+examines+his+computer+screen+in+a+quieter+section+of+the+cafeteria.+According+to+a+recent+survey+of+both+middle+and+high+school+students%2C+homework+causes+the+most+stress+among+students.+
STRESSFUL STUDIES. With his uneaten lunch close by, junior Tyler Pomposelli examines his computer screen in a quieter section of the cafeteria. According to a recent survey of both middle and high school students, homework causes the most stress among students.

STRESSFUL STUDIES. With his uneaten lunch close by, junior Tyler Pomposelli examines his computer screen in a quieter section of the cafeteria. According to a recent survey of both middle and high school students, homework causes the most stress among students.

Macy Beal

Macy Beal

STRESSFUL STUDIES. With his uneaten lunch close by, junior Tyler Pomposelli examines his computer screen in a quieter section of the cafeteria. According to a recent survey of both middle and high school students, homework causes the most stress among students.

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Drug and alcohol use, stress, anxiety, depression, romantic attraction, friendships. Counselors have always had a sense of student health, but only anecdotally. 

With the results of the health and wellness survey taken by middle and high school students last spring, the administration will be forming a working group, consisting of middle and high school students, parents, and staff to address areas of concern, according to U-High Principal Stephanie Weber.

Ms. Weber said Lab will host open meetings to create the working group and provide information for the community. They will be held Oct. 15, 8:45-9:45 a.m., and Oct. 23, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Gordon Parks Assembly Hall.

The administration shared the executive summary of the survey results with the Lab community Oct. 12.

In broad strokes, the executive summary covers each of the survey’s sections — which include physical health, mental health and social relationships — according to Betsy Noel, the health and wellness coordinator. A comprehensive report is planned for later in the fall quarter.

The working group will provide context for the data and thinking of creative solutions, according to Ms. Noel. For example, without context, it’s impossible to know why students are stressed about schoolwork or how stressed out they are — questions the working group can help the school answer.

The working group can also help the administration come up with solutions.

Ms. Noel said that a sizable majority of students said they used music to de-stress.

So she asked, “how can we creatively implement that in school?”

Ms. Weber said the health and wellness curriculum, which is offered through P.E. classes and supplemented with activities in Advisory, is a place to start the discussion.

“I firmly believe that there is a whole lot more that we can do and should do,” she said. “What kind of programming will come as a result of that? I don’t know, but I do think we need more.”

Ms. Noel also stressed the importance of taking action.

“A really important part of this was to bring stuff out of the darkness,” Ms. Noel said. “But when you’re out of the dark, you need to know where to go. That is why we want students to know what support resources are available, for example counselors and the Deans of Students, as well as resources outside of Lab.”

Ms. Noel said one data point that stood out to her was how students reported romantic attraction. She said about half of girls and one-quarter of boys reported they were not just attracted to the opposite gender.

“When we talk about things in really heteronormative ways, it makes an assumption about the reliability of that,” Ms. Noel said, “and this survey information indicates that that’s not how a lot of people feel.”

Ms. Noel said one of the reasons for the survey is that students’ social and emotional health is important to their success as learners. She said the survey was a priority for Mr. Abelmann, and that it will be held every year as a way to better understand students’ experiences and to measure change in physical health, mental health and social relationships.

“Everyone here has always cared about mental health, but we are definitely stepping up how much mental health wellness is integrated into our programs,” Ms. Noel said.

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Survey results highlight need for change