Dr. James' Recent Introduction to the Board of Education:
As you know we have been working on reviewing our homework practices for some time now with a significant focus this year.
As the year began we asked teachers to shift some of their homework practices and convened a comprehensive group of teachers and administrators that we call Connectors, to engage in the process of researching both what we do internally with regard to homework, what the research says about homework and to subsequently make recommendations regarding best practices and guidelines moving forward.
Recognizing that parents play a significant role in this conversation as well, we also convened numerous parent focus groups in an effort to gather parent input.
Having been an elementary teacher with significant literacy training from Columbia, Reading Recovery and more, math training from AUSSIE and a degree in special education, and having raised three children here in Commack with one more in third grade right now, I do have my own personal, professional guiding principles around homework:
- Homework should be:
o Balanced and well-designed – Quality over Quantity
o Developmentally Appropriate – this one is very important
o Linked to Current Work
o Should have a clearly articulated purpose that is shared with students and parents
o There should be some level of predictability, coordination and support. We have to understand that everything we send home affects the home, the child and subsequently the school in some way
With the above said, the guidance given was to set out to develop some guidelines or best-practices as defined by Commack educators and supported in the research – it was this as opposed to the development of a prescribed set of practices and times that may not allow teachers to assign homework based on their current teaching or student needs. However, some guidance or parameters are necessary to allow for a level of alignment and reasonable set of expectations for teachers, students and parents.
There are certainly pros and cons to homework – depending on the type, purpose and duration given to a particular student at a particular stage in his or her development. That is why the charge was to:
- Review the research on homework;
- Engage all of our elementary teachers and other instructional experts in deep conversations about homework best-practices;
- Consider the varying needs of our students, how what we do affects them, the home, the family;
- Consider the benefits, or lack thereof, of what we send home; and subsequently;
- Recommend age appropriate, balanced parameters that allow teachers to develop and assign homework based on instructional and specific student needs being sure to articulate the purpose of such to students and parents.
Please click the link on the right to read the report in its entirety.