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Students Researching Belonging in Somers 

Students Researching Belonging in Somers Building a tower out of marshmallows can help build relationships. That’s what members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) found after leading a group of Primrose students in an activity to assess the young students’ sense of belonging in school. 

“Afterwards we did a reflection with the kids and discussed whether there was anyone that didn’t get to share their ideas, whether one person did all the work, and any different strategies they might have used,” said SSAC member and freshman Millie McCormack. 

The findings of the marshmallow research will be part of a larger body of work currently underway by the 26 members of the SSAC. 

“We are trying to figure out how to better promote belonging throughout the district,” said Sam Parson, a junior on the council. 

Parsons was part of a team that led focus groups with teachers at Primrose to discuss the challenges of fostering a sense of belongingness in their classrooms. 

video screenshot linking to video - students working together on floor“We found that often times things that might inhibit a sense of belonging are things that teachers might not necessarily have control over,” said Parson. “We found the most important way to support belonging is the way teachers respond to student differences.” 

The SSAC was formed this year by Superintendent Ray Blanch and Claire Comerford, director of learning – secondary, to give students voice and direct impact on the school community. Their work this year to foster more belonging in Somers schools will be presented to district administrators and the Board of Education, with recommendations on how to put their findings into action. 

“This group of students has undertaken this research with dedication and enthusiasm,” says Dr. Blanch. “They sincerely care about making all students feel they belong in Somers and their insights will make a noticeable difference in our schools.” 

Sam Parsons says that a feeling of belonging helps students be themselves and reach their full potential. “I hope our work will help students go through their school career with more open minds, more kindness, and less judgment.”

To hear more about the research from some of the students, click here