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District Promotes Homework Value
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A new homework campaign was developed and recently launched by the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s Parent Involvement Committee to reinforce the importance for parents to check their children’s homework every night.

The campaign was rolled out during parent teacher conferences and its slogan is “Neat and Complete – Every Home – Every Night – No Excuses.”

“One common reason that parents stop checking their child’s homework is that they themselves are not confident of how the homework is to be completed,” said OJUSD Director of Categorical Programs Kristi Rapinchuk.

However, she added, even if a parent doesn’t feel competent about the content, they can still check to see that it is completed and neat. She also said that homework doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect but that students need to understand that it needs to be done and their parents will be checking it.

Rapinchuk reported that the district’s Parent Involvement Committee helps the district with issues on closing achievement gaps and also offers technical support to the individual school sites. She also said that the committee’s decisions are data-driven. They look at performance of the district’s subgroups and do research on actions that tend to help with subgroup achievement.

Rapinchuk noted that there is a correlation between homework and grades, as well as homework and graduation rates. She believes that by checking homework, parents are also sending a message in the home to children that it is important and of value.

The school district has an established policy that students will be assigned homework, Rapinchuk said. Many teachers in the district have homework bulletins that they send home, and a number of the secondary teachers have their own websites that list homework assignments.

Rapinchuk suggested that if child tells a parent that they don’t have homework, then the parent could respond with something like, “then let’s sit down and read.” She said that the student may then remember that they do have homework after all.

She stated that she hopes this campaign will be part of the ongoing culture of the district.

The school district is also encouraging local businesses to join in on the effort by displaying a homework campaign poster. The posters can be picked up at the OJUSD office at 168 S. Third Ave. Rapinchuk said that displaying a poster also sends a message to the community about the value of preparing the next generation to work hard and follow through.

The typical number of minutes of homework that may be assigned at schools in the district are based on the grade level. First grade is 20 minutes daily or 80 minutes per week; second grade is 30 minutes daily or 120 minutes per week; third grade is 40 minutes daily or 160 minutes per week. For fourth grade, it’s 50 minutes daily or 200 minutes per week; fifth grade is 60 minutes daily or 240 minutes per week; and sixth grade is 70 minutes daily or 280 minutes per week.

For seventh through twelfth grade students, homework varies according to the classes in which they are enrolled. Even kindergarten students may have homework, based on the individual student’s need. It could be 10 minutes daily plus parent and student reading time.