Wellness survey results show little change


Amanda Cassel, Managing Editor

The executive summary of the 2019 wellness survey data was released to the Lab community on Aug. 14, and with results that are generally similar to the 2018 survey, the administration is moving forward with plans for meetings to discuss data and committees to address needs. 

Students from the middle and high school completed the wellness survey in the spring of the 2018-19 school year, which included new questions about acceptance in relation to race. The summary report states that 78% of white students described themselves as feeling very welcome at Lab while only 45% of students of color expressed the same. 

The data also included a higher proportion of self-identified female students who self-harmed or felt negative thoughts for two consecutive weeks in comparison to self-identified male students. This was also true for experiencing unwanted sexual advances, the report stated.

Title IX Coordinator Betsy Noel organized the survey and compiled the report. She said that it’s important to look at the 2019 results with a growth mindset. 

We need to look at whether or not we are satisfied with where we are or we want to change,” she said.

The Laboratory Schools administration responded to the data in 2018 by holding meetings open to faculty, staff, parents/guardians and students. Following these meetings, students and administrators worked to tailor the survey to the Lab community.

To approach the wellness data this year, the administration will hold community meetings open to the larger Lab community during the upcoming school year. The meetings will be Sept. 17, 8:30 a.m., and Sept. 24, 6 p.m. in the Gordon Parks Assembly Hall.

Ms. Noel said the Lab administration has also formed wellness councils composed of parents/guardians, staff, faculty and students. The parents, administrators and faculty have already been selected. Students will be selected in the fall based on interest.

“The hope is to get a broad call of students,” Ms. Noel said. “We want a variety of perspectives to really create a strong representation of the student voice and student needs.”

 While the administration is setting up opportunities for the community to discuss the data, Ms. Noel encourages students to step up themselves. 

“There’s only so much adults can do for students, and we are going to keep working on what we can,” Ms. Noel said. “But students also need to take initiative themselves and ask what students can do for other students. That’s how we move forward as a community.