Student-Led Research Aims To Improve Crescent School Culture For All Students

Are school traditions inclusive for all students? How do students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) experience the school culture? Through a collaborative research project, Grade 10 students at Crescent School are digging into the answers to these challenging questions. Their findings will help them make recommendations to improve the school experience for all students.

Working in two groups, the 11 students are following the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework: define the issue or problem, investigate various solutions, and then determine the best course of action. The students chose to explore two issues:
  1. What are students' perceptions of the strengths and limitations of Crescent's House system for inclusion and belonging?
  2. In what ways do BIPOC students experience racial bias at Crescent?
“We are undertaking this research to try and create a positive change at Crescent School and to leave a legacy that improves the lives of future students,” says Luke Hilborn, one of the students researching the issue of inclusion and belonging in Crescent's House system. (Each Crescent student is assigned to one of six Houses, which build camaraderie and school spirit through games and fun activities, community service and friendly competitions.)

“We are trying to find ways to decrease and hopefully completely eliminate the bias at our school towards BIPOC people so that we are a more inclusive space and in turn, help all students reach their full potential,” says Shay Kothari, one of the students researching the issue of racial bias.

The students are designing a research plan, determining their data collection tools and workshopping the plan with their research advisors. They began their work in September 2019 and are on track to complete their research and make recommendations by April 15, 2021.

The students' project is part of SPARC (School Participatory Action Research Collaborative), a research consortium that mobilizes student insights and voices to improve school culture, policy and practice. Crescent is the only Canadian independent school participating in this program. Their research is guided by the Crescent Centre for Boys' Education (CCBE) and external research consultants Dr. Joseph Nelson (SPARC), Dr. Michael Reichert (Centre for the Study of Boys' & Girls' Lives) and Dr. Gina Valle (Diversity Matters).

(Photo shows Crescent School students Luke Hilborn and Shay Kothari.)

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