All posts by Maya Sanseverino

Diversity in the middle school

Recently there was a survey sent out. It asked questions about how you feel about your race, your family’s money status, and much more. About 150 people took the survey. There was a range of answers to all the questions.

 The Scale for the survey is as follows: Green=4: comfortable. Yellow=3: kind of comfortable.  Red=2: kind of uncomfortable. Blue=1: uncomfortable purple=unsure.

Some answers to questions ranged from comfortable to uncomfortable, with comfortable usually being the strongest response. Here is a graph with the answers to the question below:Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my sexual orientation at school.. Number of responses: 149 responses.

In the above question, comfort dominates. But there are also questions like the one below….

Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my family's money status at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.

…where there is much more discomfort.

In order to better understand these results, asked Kate Zipin, who sent out the survey, some questions.

The first question was, “Why was the survey sent out?” 

“I’m part of the Middle School Diversity Committee , which is a group of faculty that meet and talk about issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Middle School. We wanted to get a sense about how students were feeling with their racial identity, their gender identity, and their class to see what needed our attention the most.”

Kate talked about how they(Middle School Diversity Committee) met to discuss the questions they wanted to ask, but also how their overall goal was to see how comfortable the students were in Middle School. 

I then asked why the survey was important to send out. Kate said, 

“We (Middle School Diversity Committee) wanted to send the survey out, ideally everyone was doing it at the same time in homeroom so that we would get every kid. While we didn’t get every kid, we probably got two thirds of the Middle School. We wanted to send it out via email so that it felt like we would get individual experiences. The survey was anonymous so no usernames were collected, no names were collected. That was to really, hopefully, get the best and most authentic responses knowing that some of these questions are kind of tricky. If you don’t feel comfortable sometimes it’s not always fun to say it out loud.”

I then asked Kate if there was anything else she wanted to tell me about.

“We (Middle School Diversity Committee) sent the survey out as hopefully a primer for where we want to go from here, and what kinds of issues we want to tackle. Our original goal was to be able to show this data back to the Middle School and be like, “Hey, these are the things that people feel comfortable with, and these are the areas that we as a community want to grow.”

Here are some more results from the survey:

Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my racial/ethnic identity at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my religious identity at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my family structure at school. (adopted, divorced, single parent, gay parents, grandparents, guardians, two parents, etc). Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my gender/ gender identity at school.. Number of responses: 149 responses.

Being a new student

Every year new students start at GFS. They come from larger schools, smaller schools, or schools the same size. I interviewed some new students from sixth, seventh, and eighth grades to see their perspective on being new.

I asked Jayden from eighth grade, “How is GFS different from your old school?” Jayden said, “The classes are bigger and the teachers are more enthusiastic. I’m not afraid to ask questions, there is more time to do homework, and I don’t have the same classes every day.” 

I asked Alayah, a seventh-grader, if she feels included and has friends. She answered, “Yes, the kids here are open and accepting.”

Jerry from sixth grade said, “I have friends.” 

Continue reading Being a new student