Workload committee administers survey

Nikta Mansouri

The workload committee is currently surveying students about stress levels, time spent on extracurricular activities, sports commitments and social media. The survey’s goal is to understand students’ experience at Harvard-Westlake, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said.
“We’re asking those questions to make sure that we understand what the students’ experience is and that we’re doing what we’re saying and that we’re saying what we’re doing,” Huybrechts said. “We have a mission at this school and we want to make sure that we are doing what we say we are doing. That is the reason for this survey.”
Factors at school like sports and academic work can enhance students’ lives but also be sources of stress, Huybrechts said.
The survey, which is administered every six years, has led to many changes at school such as the three hour per class per week homework limit, the quarterly homework surveys and the Sports Council committee.
“We’re trying to find out if there is balance in kids’ lives and, if not, where the imbalance is,” Huybrechts said. “The answers to those questions will inform us as we think about students’ schedules, student workload and potentially some changes.”
Students are taking the survey online, using a Google Docs form, which is different from previous years. The survey also includes questions based on psychologist Carol Dweck’s presentation to parents and faculty about mindset. The survey was updated to include a section on social media due to its increasing influence on students’ lives since six years ago, Huybrechts said.
At the end of the survey, there was a free response section where students were able to write what they liked about Harvard-Westlake, what they disliked and what they would want to change.
Each grade had a slightly altered version of the survey to better understand each specific grade. For example, sophomores had a longer version of the survey so that the committee can better understand the ninth grade to 10th grade transition.
The committee will start analyzing the data by Dec. 1. They will then review the data and make recommendations to the school based on the results in the third quarter of the school year. The committee is made up of six teachers, one junior and one freshman. Two of the teachers, chemistry and criminal law teacher David Hinden and middle school Dean of Faculty and Latin teacher Moss Pike, are overseeing the project.
“We’re confident again that we can help our community, should there be important issues to address,” Pike said.