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Newton South Principal Joel Stembridge sent email last week announcing the following small, but significant, change in homework policy at the school:

As a goodwill gesture to students and their families, who experience stress due to our school’s rigorous homework expectations, all classroom teachers will adopt as a one-year pilot proposal a homework-free weekend program, whereby no homework will be due on the day of return after each of four specifically agreed-upon weekends (one each term), to take place on the following four weekends during the school year:

*       Columbus Day Weekend (early October) (Term 1)

*       Thanksgiving Weekend (Term 2)

*       The 2nd weekend in March (Term 3)

*       Memorial Day Weekend (end of May) (Term 4)*

            *does not apply to seniors

It is our hope that these weekends will allow families to plan events or trips accordingly, and will help our students know that we, the adults here at South, understand that it can be a challenge to maintain a healthy balance.  These weekends will give all of us a chance to pause, breathe, and gather ourselves.

We have also agreed to recommit to our long-vacation policy:

There is a “one-night equivalent” homework limit placed on the December, February, and April vacation breaks.  Students in Advanced Placement courses will likely have more than a “one-night-equivalent” during April break in order to prepare for May exams.

I am so happy to see this.  There’s nothing worse than a stressed-out high schooler on holiday weekends and vacations.