The following article by Jessica Flaxman, Shady Hill School, for the KlingBrief from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University highlights a book about girls and anxiety. Our ISHC National Database includes some comparative data for your review. How does your school’s ISHC data compare?






Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour

Ballantine Book, February 12, 2019

“There has never been a more academically impressive generation of girls than the young women we are raising today,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour in Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. Nor has there ever been a more stressed generation of young women: “A staggering 31 percent of girls and young women experience symptoms of anxiety compared to 13 percent of boys and young men.” Despite that fact, Damour argues that stress and anxiety are necessary for achievement, and that girls can learn to manage them both. Damour calls on parents and teachers to seek ways to help girls differentiate among types of stress (life events, daily hassles, and chronic stress); identify what stresses them individually; and take steps to cope with the waves of worry that come with striving and caring about success. Damour paints a positive and empathetic portrait of today’s pressured girls and reminds the adults in their lives “to frame the demands of education in positive, capacity-building terms, because doing so actually changes how our daughters experience school.” Teachers and parents alike can be cautious about the ways in which they implicitly or explicitly praise girls for being overprepared, perfect, or compliant at school. Damour posits that actually conditioning girls to stress – helping them to understand what stresses them and why – and then strengthening them so that they can handle the “weight” they pick up, will serve them better than agreeing with them that they can’t handle the challenges they face.

Jessica Flaxman, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA


Dear ISHC Participating Schools!

We are now approaching the end of this year’s ISHC Survey session, on May 17th, 2019. This has been a busy year for us. We have added many more schools to the ISHC National Database. In collaboration with Indiana University, we have redesigned the survey and the reports. The new Standard Report format includes much more data than the prior reports. ALL of the survey questions are presented in breakdowns by gender and grade and are compared to the ISHC National Database. The Conclusion section of the report is the real gem! It identifies those survey questions where your school shows a statistically significant difference when compared to the ISHC National Database. These differences serve as a valid and reliable basis for your analysis and follow-up actions with your school community.

For those schools who administered the ISHC Survey this year we attach an evaluation form. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and return it to us. We depend on your feedback to improve our survey and the reports. We also attach the ISHC Registration form for next academic year. Please send it in as soon as you can arrange your most convenient survey date. We can then send you a contract and secure your survey date.

We hope you have a rewarding Spring semester…we know it will be busy!

We look forward to working with you,

Rosemary and Peter

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? Let Children Get Bored Again

Let Children Get Bored Again
by Pamela Paul

There are so many sentences we wish to quote in this article:

“The ability to handle boredom, not surprisingly, is correlated with the ability to focus and to self-regulate.”

“It’s especially important that kids get bored – and be allowed to stay bored – when they are young.”

“Nowadays, subjecting a child to such inactivity is viewed as a dereliction of parental duty.”

“Because there is nothing better to spur creativity than a blank page or an empty bedroom.” Lin-Manual Miranda

Here are some related stats from the ISHC National Database: It makes one wonder if our students have downtime or have experienced boredom. It might be good to ask them that?

After school hours do you have time to read for pleasure | None 74.5%

While I am doing my homework I

  • Listen to music – 69.4%
  • Text – 43.8%
  • On the social network – 40.6%
  • Instant message – 29.2%
  • Access the internet – 89.8%
  • Talk on cell phone – 12.8%
  • Watch movies – 19%


Hello! Announcing the ISHC Survey Session for Fall 2019: beginning October 10th through November 16th. Please plan ahead and let us know of your interest in surveying your students in the Fall. A Registration form is attached for your use. Once we receive it, we can send you a contract and secure your survey dates!

We are in the midst of our first year of working with Indiana University, Center of Survey Research (CSR). The schools are receiving our new, improved report format. It includes Part 1: Aggregate Results and Part 2: Statistical Analysis (including a PDF for use in presentations).

Here is an example of Part 1: Aggregate Results

Here is an example of Some Composite scores included in Part 2: Statistical Analysis:

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? There’s No Extra Credit at Work

There’s No Extra Credit at Work
by Lisa Damour

New York Times February 10, 2019

Opinion | Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office

This article talks about how schools may encourage an imbalance in confidence building in boys and competency building in girls that puts girls in a disadvantaged position in the competitive workplace. It stimulates us to think about what learning behaviors we reward in our students and to question why.
Although we don’t ask questions that directly address confidence in the ISHC survey, we have selected questions related to this topic that demonstrate gender differences as expressed by the students in the ISHC National Database.

Note: M=Male, F=Female, > greater than.

Spend more than 2 hrs on school work out of class F>M

More than 7 hours sleep M>F

Motivated to satisfy self F>M

Motivated to satisfy parents M>F

Received diagnosis of Anxiety F>M

Cheat on tests and quizzes M>F

Academic pressure from parents same

Academic pressure from teachers F>M

Academic pressure from self F>M

Feeling sad and hopeless for more than 2 weeks F>M

The males exceed the females in only three areas: sleep, cheating and parental motivation. These differences are not in any way conclusive but they may encourage dialogue with your faculty and students.

Hello March 2019

Hope you are enjoying this unpredictable winter season whatever climate zone you are in.

We are in full swing for this semester (2/5-5/17) survey schedule. There is still time to register for administering the ISHC surveys the end of April or beginning of May if you wish. Registrations are due by April 19th. There is an advantage to having the data to work with over the summer.

But there is also a benefit to starting off the school year fresh by announcing the survey to parents and students when they return to school in the fall. We are already scheduling for the fall. The new 2019-2020 registration form is attached for your use.

Click here for 2019-2020 Registration Form

The newly designed survey reports are rich with data and are being well received by the schools. If you have any questions please email us at Rbaggish@gmail.com or call 860.989.8289.

Best Regards,

-Rosemary & Peter


A thoughtful article in INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Winter 2019 written by Alison Baron, a fourth-grade teacher at the Park School In Baltimore offers practical guideline for evaluating a school’s homework philosophy and policy.


A look at the historical use of homework in education, where we are today, and what schools need to consider as they evaluate their approach

By Alison Baron

Trend Lines: How Important Is Homework?

Homework is a constant and sometimes controversial endeavor in all of our schools. The ISHC National Database shows the following distribution of time spent on homework each night in Middle and Upper Schools. These hours are contaminated by the percentage of students who report multi-tasking during homework time.

We offer you this interesting data to consider as you think about YOUR faculty’s and students’ homework efforts.

ISHC Update January 2019

Dear ISHC Schools,

Effective February 2019, we will begin the Winter/Spring session (2/5-5/17) of surveys in your schools. We are offering one Standard ISHC Report ($3000), a comprehensive document with charts and graphs for every question, and breaking down all of your answers by grade, gender and with comparison to our ISHC National Database. To give you a preview, your results will also be presented in 8 categories:

  • Health and Exercise
  • Homework time / Multitasking
  • School Life (grades, motivation, school climate)
  • Computer Use/High Risk Internet Behavior
  • Social Life
  • Community and Parental Involvement
  • Drugs/Alcohol Use (High risk Behavior)
  • Mental Health and Ability to Ask for Help

Attached to this message is the ISHC Registration form for you to complete and return to us so we can secure your date of choice on our survey schedule.

The schools that surveyed in the Fall 2018 will receive their survey reports at the end of this month. We regret the delay in reporting back to those of you who surveyed this fall, but it has taken special attention and expertise on the part of Indiana University’s Center for Survey Research and us to redesign, program and test the accuracy of the reports. We sincerely hope that you will think the product is well worth waiting for! Now that all of the upfront work is done, the return time for the Winter/Spring schools’ reports will be within a month of the survey dates. We look forward to your reactions to our new reporting format.


Peter and Rosemary

ISHC Update November 2018

No other behavior, outside of school, affects a student’s school (academic and social) performance more than his or her sleep patterns. The ISHC survey data demonstrates that, as well as the relationship between sleep and mental health. We cross tabulated students’ reported hours of sleep (ranging less than 6 to greater than 8 hours)and it was striking to see the students who reported 7-8 hours of sleep reported a lower frequency of the following mental health related behaviors:
Dx of depression
Dx of anxiety
Dx of eating disorders
Sad and Hopeless feeling for > two weeks
Seriously consider suicide
Had a suicide plan
Cheated on tests and quizzes
Intentional self harm
Sexual intercourse
Oral Sex
Students and Parents may benefit from seeing and discussing this data as a motivator to increase and protect students’ sleep time.

The Science of Adolescent Sleep by Perri Klass MD includes multiple studies that explain the influence of inadequate sleep on Teenagers mental and physical health. The link to the article is:
You might want to consider sharing this article with your students in their health/bio classes and with their parents to encourage healthy sleep behaviors.

ISHC UPDATE: October 2018

WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL! We are gearing up for a busy survey schedule this Fall session, October 10th- November 16th. We have much more flexibility with dates than we have had in the past, so please let us know your preferences and send in your registration form as soon as you can.

REGISTRATION FOR SPRING (2/5-5/17) 2019 IS NOW OPEN. The registration form is attached. We encourage you to send it in as soon as you can to secure your preferred date.

Our National Database collects data on all of the survey questions. There are many areas that invite further investigation. One in particular is about our students’ help seeking behaviors. We have been curious about the relatively low frequency of students seeking help from adults in their school communities:

ISHC National Database ( 2016-2018 25,100 students and 56 schools)
Teachers 25.5%
Advisors, Counselors 24.5%
Coaches 14.2%

The article cited below regarding college campuses might shed some light on the obstacles students perceive in reaching out within their school communities. It begs the question of our schools’ capacity to be caring, empathetic and nurturing in both our practices and policies when students turn to us for help.

Anemona Hartocollis
New York Times 08/28/18

At a time when students feel most vulnerable, they ask for help and are sent away. They are “offered” medical leave which separates them from the school environment they want to be part of. Policies that support this type of reaction to genuine help seeking behavior in colleges and in independent schools need to be reviewed and revised to allow for more rather than less support in the school environment. The ISHC National Database shows that for 25,100 students in 56 upper schools from 2016-2018:

33.3% have sought professional help from mental health professionals
32% of them were diagnosed with depression
21.5% reported that they felt sad and hopeless during the past year and couldn’t keep up with their routines
11.4% seriously considered suicide
39.4% of those with plans did NOT tell anyone

How does your school measure up?