Homework assignments have always been part of the educational process for every student who attends school but sometimes questions arise about the amount of homework or the type of assignments that should be given.
School Board members began grappling with these issues a year ago when they formed an ad hoc committee to help review, gather input, and craft an updated Board policy and administrative regulation on homework and makeup work. Committee members included parents, principals, and other District administrators.
The revised homework/makeup work policy that was approved by the Board on October 1 noted that, “the latest research demonstrates that an optimal amount of homework has a positive impact on student achievement. The optimal amount of time students should spend on homework begins with 10 minutes a day in the first grade and increases by ten minutes per grade level, not to exceed a total of 120 minutes a day in the 12th grade of all classes combined. Research indicates that excessive homework may have a negative impact on students’ health and well-being. In particular, studies show that the health of students through 12th grade is compromised when there is insufficient time for at least nine hours of sleep and one hour of physical activity daily.”
Prior to the vote, the Board heard from the broader educational community. PTA Council President Shari Davis expressed her organization’s full support for the revised policy. Parent Leslie Bochko voiced her support as well but emphasized the need for parents to be closely involved with the development of the individual homework plans that will be tailored to the individual school sites based on the policy.
Bochko explained that, “homework just doesn’t effect the child that’s doing the work. It impacts the entire family.” Homework can diminish family time, leave less time for sports or the arts or cause “kids to have less time to just be kids.”
Another parent, Debbie Bernstein who had been a member of the ad-hoc committee, echoed Bochko’s request that parents be involved with the development of the homework plan for each school site because this will give them “a chance to work with the teachers. We didn’t have a chance to do that as a committee and it’s important that we communicate with each other.
The District’s homework policy was last updated in 1989.
In other actions, the Board approved the hiring of four 75 percent Instructional Assistants in order to meet the increased caseload in the District’s Special Education department. These assistants will work in the area of behavior intervention. The total cost to the 2009-2010 budget for these new employees will be $118,268 or $29,567 per position.