Task Force on Student Stress



When the results of the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that Holliston students were reporting feeling high levels of stress that was causing negative impacts on their health and academic performance, no one was surprised. In fact, all constituencies -- students, parents and educators -- agreed that something had to be done. What people could not agree on, however, was from where this stress what emanating. Educators blamed parents for “over-programming” their children and not prioritizing school work above all else. Parents blamed educators for not being more flexible when setting academic and extracurricular expectations. Students found themselves in the middle, with both groups pointing fingers at the other, waiting for the other to “blink” and fix the problem. In the meantime, stress levels increased.

In an effort to bring all constituencies together, the Superintendent of Schools formed a Task Force and charged them with the task of studying the issue of student stress and issuing a series of recommendations to address this growing problem. This group met several dozen times during the 2015-2016 academic year and produced this report, containing 19 separate recommendations to be implemented over the course of several years, all designed to address the issue of student stress. Some of the recommendations will require significant work on the part of our community while others may not ever be implemented unless and until the state policy makers adjust their requirements. Many of these recommendations can and should be implemented over the course of the next several years. We are confident that careful and thoughtful implementation will have a positive impact on our students without negatively impacting the rigor and high-level expectations for which the Holliston Public Schools are known. 

We welcome public feedback and involvement. This report should only be the beginning of the conversation about how we keep our students’ mental health at the forefront of our thinking.



Read the Full Report

2016 Final Report of the Superintendent’s Task Force on Student Stress

Progress Check 12-15-16