Status of the new Homework Policy

What is going on with the Homework Policy? In short, the homework policy was updated early in 2019 but has not been implemented in response to concerns about the rollout process and a desire for more input from teachers. The Homework policy currently in effect can be found on the SPS website (file IKB). The goal of updating the homework policy was to better reflect current research regarding the value of homework as well as input from parents/guardians and staff. Early in 2017 a task force of SPS administrators with representation from STA (Somerville Teachers Association) lead the research, analysis, and recommendations provided to the School Committee. The most significant changes were reducing the amount of homework versus the current policy. However, after the updated Homework Policy was approved in February 2019 it was clear that many teachers were unaware of the initiative and had concerns about the changes. Therefore, the implementation of the new policy was delayed. Concerns included homework limits, in particular for middle graders, risking preparedness for high school and beyond as well as a desire to explicitly emphasize the importance of reading. 

Moving forward administration and the STA agreed to host staff focus groups over the next few months to provide input to the School Committee with the overall goal of finalizing an updated HW policy for implementation at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Thanks to SPS teachers for speaking out and agreeing on a path forward. Thanks to the many advocates for their attention to this topic and patience as we reconsider the Homework Policy to best factor both current research and the values of our school community. If you are interested in viewing a copy of the Homework policy that was approved in February 2019, but which has not been implemented, you can find it in the SC Meeting Minutes from February 4, 2019 (search on “Homework Policy”).

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Laura Pitone for Ward 5 School Committee
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