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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Committee formed to better understand minority student experience

A+retention+committee+will+be+formed+due+in+part+to+the+%E2%80%9Cunusually%E2%80%9D+high+number+of+Black+students+who+left+Lab+after+the+2021-22+school+year+and+to+better+understand+the+student+experience.
Midway Staff
A retention committee will be formed due in part to the “unusually” high number of Black students who left Lab after the 2021-22 school year and to better understand the student experience.

A retention committee will be formed due in part to the “unusually” high number of Black students who left Lab after the 2021-22 school year and to better understand the student experience, according to Irene Reed, director of admissions and financial aid.

In the 2022-23 school year, about 11% of students at Lab were Black, and throughout the school year, about 6% of students who withdrew were Black, compared to the previous year when the number of Black students who withdrew outpaced overall enrollment by 8%.

Composed of staff, faculty and administration, the retention committee will try to understand the student experience, particularly of minority student groups, and watch attrition patterns throughout the years. 

The admissions office has held “exit interviews,” meetings with students who have left Lab to talk about their experience and why they are leaving, but the retention committee is now in the process of establishing “stay interviews.” 

“The interviews started as just me and a couple of people, but we are now putting a structure in place,” Ms. Reed said. “Stay interviews will talk to current students. So, you have not left, and we want to ensure you stay.”

The retention committee has opened exit interviews to all students who left Lab last year.

Ms. Reed said it is difficult to attribute the decrease in withdrawing Black students to a single cause and she is not sure that she can label any form of attrition as normal, but that the 2022-23 breakdown is a more accurate reflection of typical withdrawal patterns.

“One year is not a trend,” she said. “The 2021-22 school year seemed actually to be an aberration when compared with other years. However, last year’s numbers seemed closer to the norm.”

An event open to prospective Lab students and families, “Black at Lab,” was held last fall to demystify the Black student experience. Ms. Reed said similar events have expanded to include the discussion of both the Black and Latinx student experience including one that was held Oct. 12 and another which will be held at Lab on Oct. 24. She said while both events focus on the experiences of Black and Latinx families, they are open to all, and are designed to continue to attract a diverse applicant pool. 

“We are concerned about everyone and the student experience. Of course, we do not want people to leave, but if they do, we want to understand what Lab could have done better,” Ms. Reed said. “Every time someone is unhappy, it is an opportunity to learn.”



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About the Contributor
Audrey Park
Audrey Park, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey Park is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began writing for the Midway in the 2020-21 school year when she was in ninth grade. Her favorite story she has written is about University of Chicago nurses seeking solutions for the uninsured. She loves journalism because of its ability to represent and reflect multiple perspectives. Audrey also enjoys reading, traveling and playing card games. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare McRoberts and Sahana Unni) superior 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, general feature Story: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Affirmative Apprehension — Expert input: Law professor explains case” 2023 Illinois All-State Journalism Team 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, news story: excellent 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, editorial writing 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Misinformation solutions rely on regulation, media literacy”

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    Gwen DOct 20, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Lab school should do better as far as recruiting more kids of color as well. Its hard for kids of color when there are not that many kids that they can identify with. My daughter came for a visit day and stated that there were no kids of color there, and she was only 7 years old at the time.

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