Student life survey initiates conversation at WHS

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Robin Wanosky

Students who attended the in-school field trip discussed the amount of homework they receive and how they are able to manage it effectively.

Heather Lee, Editor

With the school start time officially changing next year, the Weston community has a new opportunity to discuss student health in the high school. While national data spurred the School Committee to explore the impact of sleep, another set of data has opened discussions on homework and stress.

Starting 6 years ago, Weston parent Vicky Rakov started this process by collecting statistics on student stress levels, homework, sleep, and much more each year. In December of 2017, WHS students participated in an in-school field trip to discuss the results compiled from this survey.

According to sophomore Anika Joglekar, the students gave their own interpretations of the data and its relevance to their own lives. Out of the 31 students present in this field trip, she was one of the few underclassmen to participate in the discussion.

“Mrs. Wanosky created a student committee that gets to give [their] input on what the homework situation is, how students react to it, and how much work people have,” Joglekar said. “When we met in December, we met for two blocks to look at and analyze data from the student life survey.”

Initially, student committee faculty advisor and history teacher Robin Wanosky organized the in-school field trip to hear whether the statistics reflected students’ experiences in the high school.

“The data helps us see the story a little more clearly than just hearing people’s words,” Wanosky said. “I think particularly the junior and senior data was very interesting in terms of how much time they are spending on homework.”

While discussing this data, the most common struggle brought up by students was time-management.

“Particularly, the upperclassmen find a challenge with time management. [During] junior and senior years, managing [college, SATs, ACTs and AP classes] seemed especially challenging,” Wanosky said.

Following this meeting, a second in-school discussion was organized on January 29th for students to create an interactive activity for their peers in advisory.

According to Joglekar, the sophomores in the committee created discussion questions for students in order to get feedback on possible changes needed in the school.

“We chose to show the advisories some of the stats we had in the first meeting and we put in a bunch of discussion questions. Hopefully, we can get some input from the different students so we can see how kids feel about how much work they have,” Joglekar said.

According to Joglekar, the discussions will be an opportunity for student voices to be heard.

“Adults are going to be listening and taking our input into account. That’s why I think it’s useful to give your opinion, because that’s how you make improvements,” Joglekar said.

Interested in the connection between the student data and making change, school committee member Pamela Bator also noted the common goal shared by the school committee and the newly formed student committee; creating a more optimal day for students.

According to Bator, the student committee’s data is more personal due to the fact that it is derived from WHS students.

“The most amazing part of this data is that [students] can say ‘that’s me right there,’” Bator said. “We can see lots and lots of national data suggesting number of hours for sleep and homework. But when we look at our own data, it’s personal and meaningful.”

Listening to conversations on change, Wanosky said many were reminded that the students are not alone in their experiences.

“One thing that came up among the upperclassmen is the idea that you’re not alone,” Wanosky said. “If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or if you’re having a hard time managing all the homework, you’re the only one to be feeling that. I think that’s a great feedback for the underclassmen as they’re moving forward.”