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Morristown Central School approves new program to help students with back homework


MORRISTOWN — Morristown Central School is launching a program to help students recover when they’re behind in their studies.

“The general concept is that we’re not going to allow students to take zeros,” Principal Jeffrey M. Durant said. “A lot of times, students do homework and they get a zero and they’re fine with it. We’re going to make sure they’re held accountable.”

The voluntary program will keep children in grades three through nine who are behind on their homework after school for an hour on Thursday afternoons to give them a chance to catch up.

Mr. Durant said that “it’s not detention,” but about “giving them that extra time, extra quiet space for them to work.”

The program will involve two teachers staying after school with students to give them additional guidance. Throughout the week, teachers will keep track of those who aren’t staying on top of their work, and on Wednesdays, they will report those data to the principal’s office to prepare for Thursday’s session.

“We’re hoping they will take the opportunity to receive some sort of credit for back work to gain success,” Mr. Durant said. “It’s not detention.”

The program is similar to the Opportunity Room that operated at the district several years ago.

Board of Education Member Mary Anne Bailey said, “My kid got snafued a couple times, and I think that’s good because we need to do that.”

“I thought it was great, personally, when my kid could be caught,” Ms. Bailey said. “That’s the benefit of a small school. Everybody knows you.”

Mr. Durant said that if teachers don’t help students catch up, “they’re just going to fall further and further behind.”

While the program will not be mandatory, Mr. Durant said, parents will be notified when their children fall behind and when the school thinks the extra homework time could be helpful.

Busing will be provided for the students who do stay. The program will cost the district less than $10,000, Superintendent David J. Glover said.

The board approved the program at its meeting Wednesday night, with James Michaels opposed.

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