AP Psychology Research Presentations by Robert Leslie

On October 11, our local AP Psychology students presented their surveys on how the school image, culture, and environment affects our students and our community. As nervous as some of them were, they did a fantastic job and brought up a lot of key information about how our school has done so far at including others and making them feel at ease in our school. They even presented ideas for how the school could be further improved. The students were split into groups, each of which focused on a different topic.

The main argument that was the most recurring and one of the most crucial aspects of our school is, “how good are we at including others?” The specific groups that touched on this subject were the extracurricular activities, community, and faith groups. The extracurricular activities group found that the sports and clubs that are offered try to include any that join, and they even positively correlated to increasing a person’s satisfaction with the school. Suggestions from this group included newer equipment for these activities and even more activities being available. “Archery, anyone?” they asked.

The community group focused on whether or not the international students felt included in everyday activities. Their results found that for the most part they felt included but simply weren’t confident enough because of language barriers. Recommendations from this group included a culture day for the students to share their specific cultures with the school and a buddy system to pair an international student with a domestic student to allow the student to be more included in everyday activities.

The faith group studied how well people were able to express their faith openly in the school and if the school helped to grow their faith. They found that most of the time, students felt the school helped them grow in their faith and that they felt comfortable in expressing their faith. However, there were others who said that they wanted to see others expressing their faith as well—that they felt comfortable sharing but didn’t see it enough with others and didn’t feel like the environment called for it. They suggested improving chapel, something the chapel leadership group has been trying to accomplish by taking suggestions and adapting chapel to the student’s needs. They also thought that there could be more Christian events and a verse of the day read every day and more prayers in classrooms.

The other important aspect of our school that they studied was the image of our school. Some people mentioned that the school isn’t all that appealing to look at. They researched how the school is portrayed to other potential students and to our current students. The image group surveyed not only the current students, but also eighth grade students from other schools and the SeaLu alumni. They found that the alumni had a positive recollection of the school, and that the school has a strong atmosphere for sports and academics. The majority views it as positively helping faith.

The pride group studied what their name implied. They wanted to see whether the students were proud of their school. Even though they found that many of the students were disappointed in the appearance of the school, they still found that the school was comfortable and enjoyable.

The final and most important piece of any school was studied by the academic group.  They decided to see how well the academics portion kept each student at just the right stress level to make them work efficiently without collapsing. They found that for freshmen and sophomores the level of work kept them at a good amount of stress to where they were pressured to work but could still enjoy themselves. The juniors and seniors seem to be struggling with the workload, though they also carry the burden of being very close to college. Overall they found that the stress level was fairly good and that if anything were to be improved it would be simply more time to do classwork to better understand the subjects.