CIHS student researchers take on community issues (Photo gallery)
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
Students at CMSD’s Campus International High School are not content to let others handle community problems. They are rolling up their sleeves and going to work.
The 200 ninth- and 10th-graders – that’s the entire student body until the two-year-old school finishes expanding – unveiled research findings and proposed solutions Friday at the second annual CIHS Campus Conference.
Mental health, including weighty subjects like depression, suicide and domestic violence, was a common theme during presentations at Cleveland State University, home to both CIHS and the District’s Campus International K-8 School.
The research is in keeping with the spirit of the partnership with CSU, which studies practices at the two schools in hopes the rest of the District can benefit. It also supports the emphasis on participation that is central to the schools’ International Baccalaureate model.
Ten teachers oversaw the research. The school set aside two hours per week for the work.
“Everyone is contributing to the life and knowledge of the greater Cleveland State community,” said Molly Buckley-Marudas, a CSU professor in residence at the high school.
Ninth-graders worked in teams, the 10th-graders individually. Information was gathered through observation, surveys, interviews and focus groups.
A sophomore named Josh could not find clear evidence that retailers were throwing out clearance clothing and other items that could benefit the needy. So he turned his attention to individuals and came up with the idea of getting stores to install clothing recycling bins, like grocers and others offer for plastic bags.
Freshmen Jonathan, Dwight and Leland were concerned about youth turning to thoughts of suicide.
Interviews with 30 school-age respondents, as well as a few adults, led to the conclusion that media focus on social media and cyber-bullying as a driver is exaggerated and that the problem is more rooted in underlying conditions like depression. Their proposed solution: talk therapy in schools.
The subject matter was grim, but the team found academic benefits in the process.
“I hadn’t been through a study before,” Jonathan said. “It definitely gave us the mindset of how to stay on task and what to look for and what to rely on.”
“It made me pay attention and concentrate more,” Dwight said.
The symposium involved two other CMSD schools this year – MC²STEM High School and Willson PreK-8. Buckley-Marudas said that over time, she hopes to include schools throughout the District, Northeast Ohio and eventually the state.
“We want this to grow,” she said.
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