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Heuvelton Central School looks to rework district homework policy

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HEUVELTON - The implementation of common core curriculum and tougher state standards has Heuvelton Central School officials reevaluating the way homework is assigned and graded.

Superintendent Susan E. Todd said an ad hoc committee made up of parents, board of education members, community members and teachers is working on compiling a new philosophy on homework for the district.

“I don’t think we plan to have recommendations come out until actually the end of the school year,” Mrs. Todd said. “We have a monthly meeting planned right now until the end of June. We really want to take our time. We don’t want to make any quick, snap decisions.”

Mrs. Todd said the goal is not to do away with homework.

“Consistent, good quality homework that goes home does increase performance,” she said.

But “quality homework” is the key.

Mrs. Todd said the district has been hearing from frustrated parents who often find the coursework as confusing as their children do.

“Sometimes when a student doesn’t understand and you send something home, they end up learning the wrong way to do it,” she said.

Mrs. Todd said the committee hopes to make homework a more useful process.

“When we send something home, it should be something that a student can pretty much do on their own,” Mrs. Todd said. “Homework really should be a method for students to practice so that they do well with all of the testing that comes later when they’ve mastered the skill.”

Mrs. Todd said one of the biggest issues the committee is looking at is how to expand the amount of time students get in class to work on their homework.

“Teachers should offer time in the classroom for kids to get started on the work,” she said.

The committee plans on sending home surveys for parents to complete within the next several months to get their input.

“It is a big change,” Mrs. Todd said. “We really want to look at the research. We want to get input from students and parents and teachers. We’re going to try to do it the right way.”

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