District leaders outline revised K-5 homework guidelines

At the Dec. 11 Board of Education meeting, administrators outlined revised K-5 Homework Guidelines that were initiated by a year-long review by a committee of parents, teachers and administrators. The new guidelines will take effect in January 2019.

They call for up to 15 minutes of daily homework for kindergarten through second grade and 15 to 30 minutes of daily homework for third through fifth grade. Existing guidelines feature time ranges that escalate by grade level, from 10-15 minutes for kindergarten to 30 to 45 minutes in fifth grade.

The Homework Subcommittee of the Instructional Program Advisory Council (IPAC) spent last year working on this topic. Their process included a review of research, focus groups with teachers and parents, and a family survey that received more than 620 responses. In a presentation to the Board in June, the committee recommended that elementary homework guidelines be updated and better communicated within the district and to parents, and that the district review the feedback generated by the survey in-depth.

The updated guidelines state the objectives of homework, including providing independent practice of concepts learned in school and promoting responsibility and time management skills.

At the Board meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Lauren Gemmill noted that the process has refocused a dialogue among teachers, principals and instructional leaders about homework, its purpose, and consistency across the schools. She said this dialogue is certain to continue as teachers transition to the new guidelines, and did not rule out revising them again in the coming years based on these conversations.

Similar to the current guidelines, the new guidelines outline student, parent and teacher responsibilities related to homework. It is critical that families initiate communication with the teacher if concerns arise and that home and school work together to support the student.

Consistent with the survey feedback, the guidelines emphasize the importance of inspiring a love of reading. It is recommended that families create daily routines that include time for both homework and reading.

K-5 Homework Guidelines (Effective January 2019)