State College

SCASD delays vote on changes to elementary homework and recess policies

The State College Area school board on Monday delayed a vote on proposed changes to the elementary school homework and recess policies. The changes come on the heels of the board’s decision in December to lengthen the elementary school day.
The State College Area school board on Monday delayed a vote on proposed changes to the elementary school homework and recess policies. The changes come on the heels of the board’s decision in December to lengthen the elementary school day. AP, file

The State College Area school board delayed a vote on changes to the elementary school homework and recess policies at its meeting on Monday.

The decision was based on the board and administration’s desire to continue development of the language within the new policies.

The proposed changes come on the heels of the board’s decision in December to lengthen the elementary day by 45 minutes and move the start time from 8:44 to 8:10 a.m.

During the development process of the extended elementary day proposal, the homework and recess policies were reviewed and revised.

The most notable changes to the homework policy, which was adopted in 2002, are the district’s expectations for daily reading and maximum homework requirements.

Under the new 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 proposed 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.

One specific area that Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said will be reviewed is the temperature parameters that govern whether recess is held indoors or outdoors.

Under the current policy draft, if the temperature is above 15 degrees, and providing children have appropriate clothing, recess will be a full outside period. If the temperature is between 10 and 14 degrees, there will be a 15-minute outside recess. If the temperature is below 10, teachers will have the option of taking a “brisk” five-minute walk in addition to indoor recess.

The proposed policies will next be reviewed by the board’s Culture, Climate and Learning Committee. No timetable has been set for a vote on the changes.

Any changes made would go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi

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