GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Weekend homework could be history in the Galloway Township Public School District.

The Board of Education soon will consider changes to its homework policy based on recommendations from district officials. One recommendation is that homework should be assigned only Monday through Thursday - never over weekends or holiday breaks.

The idea has been discussed informally with teachers but never has been a part of the district's official standards, said Superintendent Annette Giaquinto, who developed the recommendations with Betty Napoli and Michael Hinman, supervisors of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

The three also have recommended that no more than 10 minutes of homework, multiplied by the child's grade level, be assigned per night. For a fifth-grade student, that would make 50 minutes of homework the maximum.

That standard has been used as a guideline in the district for a number of years but never has been made policy.

"When the three of us started on this, there was a rumor that we were abolishing homework. That is not the case," Giaquinto said. "We want to make sure the homework we are sending home is meaningful."

The recommendations are aimed at ensuring students are not assigned busywork such as 25 math problems when five would sufficiently prove a child mastered a skill. The changes would allow students to have time for extracurricular activities and quality time with their families, officials said.

"We didn't want (students) to be penalized because they're active in other endeavors," Napoli said.

School board members had mixed reactions when first introduced to the potential changes at a board meeting Monday night. Some said if the policies are approved, administrators at Absegami High School should be made aware that the homework given in the Galloway school district might not be as stringent as that in other districts.

Others, including board member Beverly Evensen, said abolishing homework over weekends and holidays would not make sense because parents may have more time to help children with assignments at those times.

Napoli said the recommendation would be that no assignments would be due on a day directly following a weekend or a holiday break. Parents, however, could choose to work with child on a long-term project, read a book or study for a test over a holiday or weekend.

The district's current homework policy has minimal detail regarding the intensity and timing of assignments.

"The Board of Education believes that homework relevant to material presented in class provides an opportunity to broaden, deepen or reinforce the pupil's knowledge. Teachers must use discretion in deciding the number and length of assignments. The board encourages the use of interrelated major homework assignments, such as term papers, themes and creative art projects," the policy states.

Giaquinto, Napoli and Hinman began researching potential revisions to the homework guidelines in 2008. The recommendations made were based upon research, parent surveys and teacher surveys.

The school board is not expected to vote on policy changes until July or August.

Contact Jennifer Bogdan


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