WILMINGTON — At a School Committee meeting on Nov. 13, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Glenn Brand gave an update on the district homework policy. The policy was originally approved by the School Committee on Sept. 12, 2018, and according to Brand, is still facing some growing pains.
According to Brand, the information contained in the policy was disseminated both last year and this year, but there wasn’t significant attention given to making impactful changes at the classroom level.
“It continues to be, and full disclosure, a work in progress,” said Brand.
At staff meetings in October, discussions were held in order to ensure that the information contained within the policy was known by staff members throughout the district. Brand also stated that discussions had taken place among the leadership team throughout the fall regarding policy implementation. He identified creation of guidelines as a potential action item resulting from those conversations.
“Policy is one thing, but (there is) something that’s more practical to help guide practice on a day-to-day level, and I, from my past context, refer to that as guidelines, not policy,” said Brand.
Brand defined guidelines as a complementary piece to policy, which help to enact or clarify policy specifications. He noted potential areas for guideline creation, including homework policy on holidays and long weekends, which in practice are not completely consistent throughout the district.
Brand also noted that the continual dissemination of research and literature regarding what constitutes “good” homework would remain a priority as well.
“Not just how much, but what’s effective homework,” said Brand.
The homework policy will be revisited in greater detail at a December meeting of the School Committee.
In addition to homework policy discussion, Brand updated the committee on other procedural updates taking place in the district. One update is the continual work taking place in the area of value-setting. According to Brand, values setting at the high school level is primarily contained within the Wildcat CIRCLE of values (community, inclusivity, respect, collaboration, learning, and engagement).
Value-setting at the elementary level has a higher degree of variation throughout the district, according to Brand.
“There’s been a lot of foundational work… at our elementary levels in particularly around our development of values through the PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) program,” said Brand.
Members of the committee noted possible modifications to these policies.
Committee member David Ragsdale suggested that age level may need to play a more significant role in value-setting.
“The values seem much more aligned at the elementary level by what side of town we’re looking at than the age or the grade level we’re looking at,” said Ragsdale.
Committee Chair Jennifer Bryson also noted that some of the value categorization could possibly be over-simplified.
“I think this inclusivity is attached to being kind,” said Bryson. “I wonder if we want to sort of think about (this) as something separate.”