Locke School Homework Policy

This document describes homework policies at The Locke School. In short, Locke School students read every night and practice math skills and strategies through games and activities rather than worksheets. Once the ‘core’ homework assignments are established, families can ‘opt in’ for further assignments based on student and family needs. Please read on for more details.

At The Locke School of Arts and Engineering, homework assignments are aligned to our philosophy about how children learn. We have reviewed arguments for or against homework assignments for elementary-age students in professional journals and on the internet and found compelling evidence for more harm than good related to they way American elementary schools typically assign homework.

At the Locke School, we know that children learn through active engagement- by manipulating objects and by talking and writing to develop their ideas. We know that worksheets and other rote-style learning assignments have little or no positive impact on children's learning. More importantly, worksheets assigned to ‘practice’ skills can add to a child’s sense that learning is boring and doesn’t require full attention or active curiosity. While some children enjoy completing worksheets, for many, coercion and threats are required from adults. For these reasons and others, we have established the following homework policy for all Locke School Students, K-5.

  1. All children should read or be read to every day at home. This is the single most important thing families can do to assure school success and help children develop good reading habits. Keep in mind, the habits we establish with young children are most likely those that they practice in high school when they are more independent learners.

  2. Guidelines for how long children should read are related to the age and ability the reader and will be provided by the classroom teacher. We’ll send books and digital resources home with your child, but we also encourage families to utilize their local library for a wider selection of titles.

  3. Families of students in grades K and 1 help us to track reading at home by completing a simple weekly reading log. As students read at home or are read to, the adult at home checks the box on the recording sheet and sends it back to school on a weekly basis.

  1. Students in grades 2-5 maintain their own reading logs at home and at school.

Daily homework assignments include maintaining the reading logs with daily entries and bringing the log back to school each morning. The logs allow us to collect and review reading data to support reading progress. They also encourage the development of ‘homework routines’.

  1. Practicing and applying the math skills and understandings is an important part of the work children and families can do at home. Teachers send home instructions and materials for familiar math games that are related to your child’s current learning needs as needed. We regularly assess the skills from the games with ‘quick checks’ in class, and progress is accelerated when children have additional opportunities to practice and apply the skills and strategies at home.

  2. ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENTS: Other homework supports can be provided upon request from the family when the ‘core’ homework assignments described above are completed regularly. Families can ‘opt in’ to additional homework assignments by working with the classroom teacher to develop a personalized plan for homework assignments.

  3. One compelling argument in favor of homework assignments is that they keep families informed about what children are learning in school. Locke School families can expect regular updates from classroom teachers about current learning objectives for the class on the LOCKEARTS.ORG website class page or through our class communication system, Class Dojo. Families should see the classroom teacher or Monika Vargas for information on how to access these resources. Parents, guardians and other interested family members are also invited to regularly scheduled “Principal’s Chats” and “Children At Work” events (see the monthly calendars or Monika’s Parent Information Board) for more family engagement opportunities about The Locke School curricula and classroom activities.

Your feedback on this and all our school policies is valued and appreciated. Please share comments, questions and concerns with me or Parent Coordinator Monika Vargas in person, by email, or by filling out a Parent Concern Form in the main office.

Andrea Woodhouse-Spence, Principal: aspence32@schools.nyc.gov

Monika Vargas, Parent Coordinator: monika.vargas@lockearts.org