Starting in 2008, Greenwich Academy has been part of the School Participatory Action Research Collaborative, or SPARC, a consortium of independent schools based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. SPARC’S mission is to mobilize students to improve school culture and policy via youth-led action research. Since joining, more than 100 GA juniors and seniors have participated.
In collaboration with graduate assistants and faculty at UPenn, our students identify researchable and actionable topics, learn qualitative research techniques used in social science, conduct inquiry according to accepted protocols, and finally recommend actions and changes based on their findings. At the end of the course, students present at SPARC’s annual conference. SPARC students have also presented internally to the GA community, including faculty and students, the GA Parents Association, and the GA Board of Trustees, as well as to the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the National Conference on Girls’ Education.