The State College Area school board voted unanimously to approve changes to the district’s elementary homework and recess policies at its meeting on Monday.
The changes come after weeks of discussion and amendments made to the policies by the board as well as the board’s Culture, Climate and Learning Committee.
Discussions and changes to the policies came as the board members were working through the extended day proposal passed in December that lengthens the elementary day by 45 minutes and moves the start time from 8:44 to 8:10 a.m.
Under the new homework policy, kindergarten through second-grade students will have 10 minutes of nightly reading and no other homework except for a review of the communications folder.
Third-grade students will have 20 minutes of nightly reading and a maximum of 10 minutes daily or 40 minutes weekly for other homework.
Fourth- and fifth-grade students will have 20 minutes for nightly reading and a maximum of 20 minutes daily or 80 minutes weekly of other homework.
The homework policy is designed to create continuity throughout the district and reflects the board’s expectation that it will be followed by teachers. Included in the regulations of the policy is also the expectation that teachers will communicate with parents via an email platform, which has yet to be identified.
The recess policy provides 30 minutes of recess each day for all kindergarten through fifth-grade students, in addition to scheduled physical education classes. The policy also provides a 15-minute per day recess for sixth-grade students.
Under the new policy, if the temperature is 20 degrees and above, and providing children have appropriate clothing, recess will be a full outside period. If the temperature is between 15 and 19 degrees, the school’s principal will decide if the outdoor period will be 15 or 30 minutes. If the temperature is 10 to 14 degrees, there will be a 15-minute outdoor period. If the temperature is between 5 and 9 degrees, the principal will determine if the students will have a 5-minute brisk walk.
All changes will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year.