Education Council created the Work Life Balance Committee, a new group that aims to analyze and reduce Marlborough students’ stress and increase the quality of students’ sleep. Spanish Department Head Eric Reinholtz and history and social sciences instructor and 10th Grade Dean Tom Millar will be chairing the group.
According to Millar, the increasingly competitive college admissions process is the root of the issue.
“Students have the sense they have to take the most advanced [classes] and not only do they have to take all the most advanced ones, but they have to do well once they are in them,” Millar said. “The easiest sacrifice that people are going to make is sleep.”
The committee, which began meeting in late October, consists of representatives from each core department, as well as performing arts and athletics, and two representatives from each class in the Upper School, as the committee Departmental representatives were chosen based on who volunteered and who had space in their schedule, while student representatives were nominated by deans in order to get a wide range of academic experience.
The group’s first stage will be to gather data through surveys; after reviewing results, Millar said that the group will make recommendations to the administration for implementation.The committee will focus on students’ entire workload, including any and all activities that students devote hours of their time to during the week.
“I think [workload is] something that the School, the teachers and administrators are always talking about, but this is a more concerted effort to take a more holistic approach,” Millar said.
Sands said the administration wanted to create the committee to understand the pressures of a Marlborough student.
“We want to have a more quantitative and qualitative view of what your lives look like, what that work life balance looks like,” Sands said.
Alexa ’17 said in order to understand students’ workloads, the committee must involve students, not just the administration, faculty and parents
“I think it’s one thing for the faculty and parents to ‘understand’ the issues we face as students balancing the workload while trying to maintain our mental health, but it is a completely different situation if we have students leading this kind of committee,” she said.
In terms of what the committee will be specifically focusing on, Millar said they might evaluate the number of advanced courses students are allowed to take because more difficult classes require more time, especially for students who are going from a regular course to an AP course.
Sands echoed Millar’s comments.
“For all the many, many reasons Marlborough should be proud of itself, being proud of how little sleep we get is not a tradition that is in anyone’s best interest and it’s one we have to break,” Sands said.
Although the committee will be making recommendations, it does not have the power to enforce them. Those changes will be up to the administration.