Homework Policy Update

Posted August 30, 2016

Dear Cory Community,

We wanted to thank all of you for the time you took to take our survey on refining the homework for our school. As you may or may not know, this topic was brought up from you, our community, during both our Fall and Spring Forum this past school year.  The Collaborative School Committee (CSC) then brought it forward to the staff at Cory and designed the survey that was recently released to all of you.

We received an incredible amount of responses (319 to be exact!) and are appreciative of your thoughtful feedback.  Based on the below percentages in conjunction with the additional comments and staff results, we have chosen to move forward with refining our Homework Policy.  Below are the results:

Choice 1:  Keep as is:  75.9% no, 24% yes

Choice 2: Refine policy to offer Alternative Homework:  67% no, 32% yes (optional projects, grades 1-5)

Choice 3: Refine policy to offer Alternative Homework 49% no, 51% yes (optional projects, grades 1-3; limited homework, grades 4 & 5)

Here are some of the trends we discovered as we read through the comments from the community:

  • Teacher feedback is valued.
  • Need to communicate that feedback will still be provided regardless of level of homework.
  • Parents liked the tic-tac-toe, “passion” projects for homework.
  • Nightly reading is an important component of homework.
  • Choice number 3 was a good balance for homework.
  • Suggestions of 10 minute rule per grade.
  • Homework in grade 4/5 helps kids prepare for middle school but homework in grades 1 to 3 was too much and often ended in tears.
  • Homework causes stress in some children.
  • Simplify homework so that the children can do it in more independently.
  • Homework helps to establish positive study habits but it should be limited.
  • Concerns that eliminating homework will negatively impact test results.
  • Appreciated research links given.
  • All kids and situations are different and flexibility is needed.
  • Allow flexibility for when kids do homework (some nights are more time limited so having the ability to time manage and shift homework helps).
  • Homework has more value as kids gets older.
  • Some parents commented on the need to provided differentiated homework by level.

As a reminder, the below research articles were used in helping us come to a consensus on refining the homework policy:

1. Time Magazine: http://time.com/4250968/why-parents-should-not-make-kids-do-homework/  

2. American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/homework.aspx

3. National Education Association: http://www.nea.org/tools/16938.htm

4. Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/research-trends-is-homework-effective-youki-terada

5. PRI: http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-04-23/homework-good-your-childs-brain

6. DataWorks: http://dataworks-ed.com/homework-or-no-homework/

7. Lifehack:http://www.lifehack.org/385878/research-finds-the-effects-of-homework-on-elementary -school-students-and-the-results-are-surprising

Based on the feedback from the community and the staff, we have refined our policy as noted below:

While we believe homework can be beneficial to older students in Middle and/or High School, the recent research suggests that the cons of homework outweigh the pros for the elementary aged students.  In order to help our students increase family and sleep time, we have refined our Homework Policy to reflect this research. Both formal and informal feedback on classroom work will continue to be communicated to students and parents regularly.  Teachers will communicate any concerns to ensure parents have ample time to partner with the teacher in assisting the student.  Communication to parents regarding student’s academic and social success and growth areas will continue to be done via parent-teacher conferences and/or any other system that is deemed necessary by the teacher.   Please note that there are certain times of the year where we do require work to be completed at home for all grade levels, such as Science Fair Projects and Young Authors.

  • Grades 1-3:  Required 20 minutes nightly reading for all students.  Families will be offered alternative projects that they would have a choice to do at home.  This would be for personal enrichment for your child’s growth  These would not be formally graded, as the purpose is to provide personal enrichment. Students will continue to receive regular feedback on classroom work and this will be sent home for parents to see.
  • Grades 4-5:   Required 30 minutes of nightly reading for all students and limited required homework would be given in the areas of Literacy and Math. Homework completion will be tracked and feedback will be given when applicable.  Homework will be limited to take no more than 30 minutes total (not counting reading) on any given evening.Families will also be offered alternative projects that students would have a choice to do at home.  These projects not be formally graded, as the purpose is to provide personal enrichment. Students will still receive regular feedback on classroom work and this will be sent home for parents to see.

Thank you again for your time in assisting us with feedback!


In partnership, 

Cory CSC

Sue Weisenburger, Co-Chair

Laura Quartarone, Co-Chair

Adam Brown, Parent Representative

Bill Esbenshade, Parent Representative

Jen Daily, Parent Representative

Jennifer Harris, Principal

Brendan Doyle, 1st Grade Team Representative

Kim Nagel, 2nd Grade Team Representative

Patty Kozma, 3rd Grade Team Representative

Katie McOwen, 4th & 5th Team Representative

Dawn Miller, Specials Team Representative

Jane Hall, Paraprofessional Team Representative