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May 03, 2017

West Chester School District proposes no homework on weekends, breaks

Education Schools


School officials in West Chester say after months of research and input, they're ready to change the way they do homework.

In a letter to the school community Monday, Superintendent Jim Scanlon said a new homework policy had been developed, the product of a 100-member committee of parents and staff working on the issue since January.

"We are very aware of the impact the amount of homework our students receive can have on them and their families, and we wanted to work to address the need for balance in our students’ lives, while not comprising student achievement," Scanlon wrote.

The policy sets out goals for teachers when assigning homework, instructing them to "be mindful that homework supports student learning" and "recognize that all students can benefit from meaningful homework."

Among the more substantial changes is barring teachers of all grade levels from assigning homework over weekends or during breaks like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The policy also calls for staggering the days teachers of specific subjects can give tests. For example, high school English teachers can only test on the first and third days of a school week, while science teachers can test on the second and fourth days.

The proposed changes are meant to better help students manage their time. In his letter, Scanlon explained why more radical steps weren't taken to try and ease the burden on students.

"Some committee members expected us to set strict time limits on homework, but we’ve found the many variables involved make it too difficult to do so; That is, what’s a half an hour of homework for one child could easily turn into an hour and a half for another who isn’t focused and who dawdles," Scanlon explained.

The policy goes to the school board for final approval on May 24.