TJHSST Parents Learn About the Well-Balanced Student

By TJHSST Challenge Success Team
September 23, 2019

TJHSST joined the Challenge Success network of schools in 2018 to study areas of opportunity for  enhancing student experiences and reducing stress. Through a series of surveys, conversations, and research guided by Stanford University, we have determined three focus areas for the 2019-20 school year: decoupling rigor and workload, managing expectations, and emphasizing the importance of sleep.

Jon Kleiman, a school program director at Challenge Success, helped us kick off this work last month, during his parent forum entitled, The Well-Balanced Student. (Jon also hosted a similar event for TJ staff.) More than 200 parents and several students watched as Jon shared results of the Challenge Success survey administered to TJ parents in spring 2019. Survey findings include:

  • “Difficult or stressful,” used by 53% of students in Fall 2018, is the most common category of words students use to describe TJ. “Challenging or rigorous,” used by 53% of parents, is the most common category of words parents use to describe TJ. 
  • 52% of parents report that their children are “often” or “always” stressed about schoolwork or the academic experience. 77% of students report feeling “often” or “always” stressed about schoolwork.
  • 66% of parents feel their children have too much homework, and 66% of students feel they have too much homework.  

Perhaps the most eye-opening part of the evening occurred when parents participated in an activity demonstrating the demands placed on a student from individual teachers, parents, advisors, coaches, clubs, and/or others involved in a student’s life. The activity shed light on the enormous amount of pressure many students face every day.

As Jon explained, focusing on student wellness at TJ, is not about “dumbing down” school or ensuring children lead stress-free lives. Instead, it is about increasing rigor in ways that allow students to actively participate in rigor without risking their health and well-being. Find out more about Challenge Success at TJHSST