CS@WHS and Principal Chisum....Coffee in a "Fishbowl" on March 29th

The Challenge Success student team will be hosting a "Fishbowl" moderated discussion with a diverse cross section of current WHS students during the monthly Principal's Coffee on 3/29.

The Fishbowl format offers a unique opportunity for parents to listen in as a small group of students share their experiences and feelings on a variety of topics agreed to prior to the session. Students sit in the center of a circle and weigh in on the issues that concern them most at the school and ways to make effective changes, while parents sit in the outer circle listening silently. After the session, the adults participate in a debrief to discuss reactions and ideas for future school changes.

The questions to be discussed might include:

  • When you are on your way to school on a Monday morning, what are the three adjectives that describe your state of mind or how you are feeling?
  • What is one of the most challenging aspects of performing well academically here?
  • What do you wish the adults in this community really understood about the challenges of being a good student here?
  • Have you had to (or felt that you will have to) give up something you love in order to stay on top of the workload or handle the pressure here?
  • If you were a parent, what is the number one thing you'd try to help alleviate student stress?
  • What do you think our school teaches students about dealing with failures?
  • How do you define success?

Challenge Success @ WHS

The goal of Challenge Success at Wellesley High School is to help the entire community by

  • promoting a broader definition of success
  • reducing unhealthy pressures and demands
  • helping students build resilience and achieve balance


WHS Principal Jamie Chisum discussed the Challenge Success initiative with The Swellesley Report - read it here.

Watch the student produced video from Back to School night where students talk about achieving balance in their lives.

What is Challenge Success?

Based at Stanford University, Challenge Success partners with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future, encouraging educators to create policies and practices that “foster interpersonal and collaborative skills, adaptability and resilience, and the critical thinking and creativity needed to solve complex problems” (Challenge Success). Challenge Success advocates Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time (PDF) as protective factors for kids.

Challenge Success has worked with over 100 schools nationwide over the past decade, including many in the Metrowest, engaging schools and communities in implementing proven strategies for effective change, drawing from research data as well as best practices from other schools. In the fall of 2016, with generous support from WEF, the PTSO, and a private donor, Wellesley High School launched the Challenge Success Initiative to respond to increasing student stress and anxiety.

The Latest from Challenge Success

Challenge Success has surveyed over 100,000 high school students and found that the college admissions process is one of the primary root causes of stress for students. Their findings are summarized in A "Fit" Over Rankings: Why College Engagement Matters More Than Selectivity. Also, you can watch this 90-second video explaining the paper and read an "Open Letter to College Applicants (and their Parents)" written by Paul Franz, Challenge Success Research Associate.

Follow Challenge Success on Facebook and Twitter

Follow our students on Instagram: WHSChallengeSuccess

To get involved, email: challengesuccesswhs@gmail.com