Mr. Schneider recently sent out an email about the Advanced Action Research group, formerly known as SPARC. AAR is a group of 14 juniors (Michael Ahonen, Chris Aufiero, Daniel Bittner, Luke Carroll, Sebastian Costantini, Adam Figler, Owen Gerah, Dietrich Jacobs, Charlie March, Matt Martines, Albert McField, Ethan O’Neill, Lawrence Tang, and Salman Yonis) led by Dr. Tift, with the goal to research the school and make it a safer environment for everyone.
This year, they decided to split up into two groups and research issues of BIPOC student experiences of stress on the campus and the mental health of students. In the winter, the group sent out a confidential Upper School survey with questions regarding mental health, racial climate, and political climate. From the results of the survey, the group meticulously analyzed data and came to conclusions. Next, they conducted in-person focus groups that delved deeper into the results. On April 25th, the students convened at Belmont Hill to watch other schools’ online presentations, as well as give a presentation on their findings. Within the presentation, the students found what worked and did not work within the new DEI program, what students think about the history curriculum, and if the school is genuinely a race-neutral environment. Additionally, the members discovered how accessible the mental health resources at Belmont hill are, how students decide when to seek help, and how often students show how they actually feel.
Dr. Tift, when asked about how the group worked all year long, said, “In a pandemic year, this group came together starting in August with high energy and positive attitudes, and they worked all year resulting in an excellent and deeply meaningful presentation that will help our school continue to grow in crucial ways.” AAR did great work this year, and the next AAR team will build off their presentation.