Douglas School is NOT a School with No Homework. There are times that homework is a necessary part of learning a skill or a concept. Homework is assigned when it is absolutely necessary. If homework is NECESSARY it is based on the learning of the student or students at that time. Classroom and Special Education teachers are experts at identifying the edge of children's understanding and prescribing the work necessary to move a student forward. This will look different between classrooms and between children. It is true that our norm has moved from nightly homework to no homework unless absolutely necessary.
International studies that compare levels of homework, and our own efforts to decrease homework at Douglas in the past years, have shown that, in elementary school, there is no positive achievement in any subject for students who have any level of homework. In fact, the only correlation is between increased homework and negative attitude toward school. Most students get everything they need to learn a skill or concept in their 6 hours in school. The added homework does not improve this.
Homework also doesn't teach time management - parents and teachers teach time management and it can be taught without homework. Our Administration, in coordination with the Jr. High Administration, agree that 6th grade teachers do not need to teach children how to organize themselves for the Jr. High. 6th grade (and each other grade K-5) prepare for the next grade by teaching the skills and concepts assigned to their own grade. The Jr. High receives students from 6 different elementary schools, with 6 different homework approaches (as a district we are just beginning to address this topic), the 7th grade teachers carefully teach children how to organize and manage their evenings for 7th grade homework (and they approaching this more as a team this year than they ever have before). There are some students who are good at organization and some who are not. This has little to do with the school from which they've come.
There is no simple way to know how this will work except to try. Teachers and I will be keeping a close watch on student achievement. We will keep you apprised of changes. As always, I am available for questions or further discussion.
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