PRINCETON: Schools superintendent announces homework-free holidays

Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane has outlined a homework-free schedule for students across the district during winter and spring breaks as well as other designated weekends throughout the year.
The announcement came hand in hand with the approval of a school board resolution at the Sept. 29 meeting that calls for breaks to be “true holidays from assigned and suggested schoolwork for children.”
There will be no homework assigned over the long weekend of the NJEA Convention, Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks and Mother’s Day weekend. To preserve the intent of the scheduled breaks, no projects will be due or tests given immediately upon return from these holidays.
At a time when students across the nation are reporting unprecedented levels of stress, these breaks will allow students to “mentally step away from focusing on homework, projects and studying for tests,” said Mr. Cochrane. He underscored the importance of unstructured time so students can read for pleasure, explore topics about which they might be passionate, spend time with family, and engage in outside and extra-curricular activities.
“Last year, homework was a focus of many our Wellness Committee meetings,” Mr. Cochrane said. “Students also raised the issue prominently in surveys and focus groups.” Discussions centered not just on perceptions about the amount of homework, but upon how homework connects to learning, and the way that homework is posted and graded.
In the coming year, Mr. Cochrane will continue to work with district teachers and administrators to identify other ways to ensure that homework enhances both learning and balance for students.
“This is a relatively small step, but it’s part of a significant shift in thinking and practices, here in our community and across the nation,” said Mr. Cochrane. “It signals to all of us that meaningful changes are coming.”
Visit the school board website at www.princetonk12.org/Board to download the Sept. 29 board resolution.