Posts tagged ‘CPS sehs stress’

Stress in SE High Schools

Stock photo students always have their head in their hands

Stock photo students always have their head in their hands

I read this article that someone posted on Facebook last week, that has stuck with me and has been causing me some angst.  It’s on the Lane Tech school web site, written by the editor-in-chief.   One of my initial thoughts was how well written this was (I have to admit I thought it was a newspaper article, didn’t realize it was on the school site until I went back to post it.)   I read this just a couple weeks after I read about a suicide cluster of HS students in Palo Alto that was pretty disturbing.  The Palo Alto link is here if you haven’t read it.  To summarize, (as you can probably guess) there is so much pressure on these kids from high achieving families to excel, succeed, do more – that they can’t take the stress.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/12/the-silicon-valley-suicides/413140/

Which makes me wonder if this title of this Lane Tech article is fully accurate.  Does the CPS Selective Enrollment machine create perfectionist students?  Or is that a societal influence right now among school with high expectations?

My angst comes from worry about whether my kid is cut out for a school like this and raises these questions:

Are the majority of kids in SEHS experiencing this level of stress?

Is there a way to have a kid in a competitive/rigorous school and avoid this level of stress? (The article does talk about resources at Lane to help kids deal with stress, and the editor also encourages de-stressing among fellow students.)

Or are students who are high-achievers going to feel this level of pressure no matter where they attend school due to the general pressure on this generation to achieve academic success?
Curious about your thoughts based on experience, feedback on students you know in school, (or conjecture if that’s all ya got.)

Excerpts from the Lane Tech article are below:

CPS Selective Enrollment Machine’ creates anxious, perfectionist students

http://lanewarrior.com/4786/opinion/cps-selective-enrollment-machine-creates-anxious-perfectionist-students/

“Countless times I have heard my friends talk about how it feels wrong on the days that they do not have work to do for school. They cannot go to sleep because they feel like they should be doing something.”

“Recently, I went home and was so overwhelmed by exhaustion that I went to bed. As I lay in bed, I could not go to sleep because of the revolving thoughts in my head.

You are not going to have enough time for homework. You still haven’t started on that project. When are you going to schedule that meeting for club? Did everyone pay for those sweaters that you got for club? Are you being a good leader? Is everything on track? People depend on you now.”

“Jack Cox, Lane’s social worker of 24 years, said that the reported levels of anxiety and stress has had a spike over the past five years.  “More and more anxiety,” Cox said. “I’ve had many many kids being formally diagnosed out in the community by psychologists. They’re being diagnosed with generalized anxiety or social anxiety. It’s very noticeable.” “

The author speculates that the pressure to achieve good test scores (ACT/SAT) puts pressure on both the teachers and the students at SEHS.  In addition, many students at an SEHS school are striving to be the best.  But of course not everyone can be “the best” which creates additional stress.

January 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm 192 comments


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