Stanford Survey Seeks Stress Solutions …and a new online service is on a trial run

Rjenda was tested by some sophomores. Rjenda aims to manage student workload and wellness.

Rjenda was tested by some sophomores. Rjenda aims to “manage student workload and wellness.”

Margaret Graham, Staff Writer

The entire Blake student body recently took a survey conducted by researchers from Stanford University on the topic of stress.
Senior class dean Jim Mahoney heard about the opportunity to administer the survey from faculty at a school in San Francisco. This California school also uses Rjenda, a system that could replace Moodle and aims to make sure teachers know how busy students are.  It is currently being tested by about half of the Sophomore class. Both efforts are being led by a task force called the Health and Wellness Committee. Though the survey and the trial run of Rjenda are both run by the committee, they are different initiatives.
The goal is to end what Mahoney calls “the three week cycle.” Many Blake students have two relaxed weeks and then one crazy week full of tests and projects. Mahoney said that “Rjenda would regulate the workload and help students make better choices, so they can navigate high school in a more sane way…it’s not dumbing [the curriculum] down, it’s spreading it out.”
So what will Blake do with the results from the survey? Upper School director Anne Graybeal told the Spectrum that, “The data crunching will occur once the juniors take the survey. We should get analysis over the summer.” The researchers will reveal what they learned from the survey and what recommendations they have for Blake. This report should come out sometime mid-summer and will be available to teachers, parents, and students.
But as Ms. Graybeal reminded me, “A little bit of stress is not a bad thing. It helps us heighten our abilities and sensitivities. That said there is a fine balance between healthy stress and meltdown.”