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Challenge Success Provides Insights Into Well-Being of Upper Campus

Courtesy%3A+Haley+Hemm%0A
Courtesy: Haley Hemm

Throughout the beginning of this school year, a group of students and faculty have been working to improve the well-being of the Upper Campus community. The Challenge Success Team is made up of seventh grader Alex Dongnguyen, freshman Ellis Matula, junior Jonathan Detkin, faculty members Ellie Pojarska, Sarah Prestwood, Haley Hemm, as well as other Pinewood parents. The Challenge Success Team is part of a larger, Stanford-backed program that promotes similar ideologies about improving the student learning experience at schools around the country.

“I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor for our community to review and, if needed, rethink the purpose and meaning of homework and assessments in relation to the learning experiences and outcomes for our students,” Pojarska said.

Although these initiatives are beginning now, they are long-term goals that will take several years to accomplish in order to achieve.

As a part of the larger Stanford Challenge Success program, Pinewood’s team collaborated with other Challenge Success teams across the country to come up with new strategies and areas of focus for their work. The team attended different workshops such as “Making Homework Work,” which emphasized improving student engagement with homework, rather than simply giving more homework. Additionally, there were sessions about topics regarding the future of education, such as the role of artificial intelligence in the classroom. The conference inspired the team’s work for the future.

“There was a great mix of students, teachers and faculty, and I came out of it with new ideas, new friends and a new look on what a school can look like,” Detkin said.

The team relies on community input and participation to achieve their goals, like the Challenge Success survey that was sent out to students a couple weeks ago. With the data gathered from the survey, the team plans to use it to improve Upper Campus.

“Data from our various surveys is still being reviewed, but overall, we are likely going to target issues surrounding homework load, due date coordination, and student engagement,” Detkin said. “I think everybody in this school’s community would agree that we all want Pinewood to be the best place it can possibly be.”

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