Running Head: BALANCE OF UNITIES
Balance of Unities: An Analysis of the Cohesiveness of the Student Body of Choate Rosemary Hall
Choate Rosemary Hall, or Choate for short, is a college preparatory boarding school located in Wallingford, CT serving grades 9 through 12 with a postgraduate year option. I attended Choate for four years as a boarding student, and while I was there, I was a member of and eventually captain of the Varsity Math Team and I participated in the Student Playwriting Festival. As a non-profit institution reliant upon alumni donations for its continued existence and upkeep, the Choate administration desires the student body to form a close-knit community that will look back upon its high school experiences fondly. At a glance, the administration seems to be quite successful, and the Choate student body appears to be a tight organization bound by a shared dedication to excellence. Nevertheless, if one probes deeper, one can find instances when the student body deviates far from its intended cohesion. Despite the student body’s nearly universal dislike of a program known as Sit-Down Lunch, the only protest against Sit-Down Lunch was very poorly attended, and no further efforts have been made to have Sit-Down Lunch discontinued. John Carroll said that organizations could be viewed from three perspectives, or lenses, and each lens proves “new insights and a richer picture of an organization” (2006, p.3). This paper, therefore, will begin by using all three of Carroll’s lenses to obtain the best possible overview of the true cohesiveness of the Choate student body. The latter half of the paper will dive into an analysis of the student body’s bizarrely tepid opposition to the hated Sit-Down Lunch. Because it deals with the interests of the individual and groups within the student body, aspects least likely to have been affected by the administration, Carroll’s Political Lens will be primarily used in the latter analysis. Strategic Design Lens
Carroll explains that Strategic Design Lens model views organizations as moving “people, money, equipment, and information…around a strategic and operational chessboard using logical principles of efficiency and effectiveness” (2006, p.3.). The success of an organization can be interpreted as dependent on having the right teams and right incentives. Like most high schools, the Choate student body is divided into grades, extracurricular activities serve as mechanisms to link students with common interests across grades, and the student government serves to align the student body and encourage school spirit and scholarly achievement. However, Choate has additional alignment mechanisms that other high schools may not have. Grade unity is particularly stressed. During monthly grade meetings, achievements made by members of the grade are disseminated, and students are reminded of their role within the school as a member of the grade. This role serves as a common identity for the grade, a starting point from which grade members can relate to each other. Because the juniors are assigned the task of “taking full advantage of the school’s resources to look attractive to colleges,” they become known to themselves and the rest of the school as “the people who are tired and overworked all the time.” Choate successfully encourages active participation in the community by promoting student initiatives and student leadership. Signature Programs exist to allow students to do faculty-mentored independent research in whatever field they are passionate about. Also, the school is very willing to accommodate on-campus charitable projects that involve the entire school and has gone so far as to permit the Make-a-Wish club to sell as part of its fundraiser passes allowing buyers to break dress code. The role of older students as leaders is both explicitly repeated at all public occasions and implied by the conferring of substantial privileges upon promotion to a higher grade. The...
References: Carroll J.S. (2006) Introduction to Organizational Analysis: The Three Lenses MIT Sloan School, Cambridge, MA.
Ressler, D. (2006, October 13) Community Lunches: New, Improved, Annoying. The News. Retrieved from http://thenews.choate.edu
The News Masthead (2007, May 11) Marchers Confront Headmaster. The News. Retrieved from http://thenews.choate.edu/archives/
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