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NHS advocates for less homework

In the school’s competitive atmosphere, a heavy academic workload is proven to be detrimental to student health and sleep habits. In an effort to modify the student workload, the school recently partnered with Challenge Success, an initiative focused on balancing education, adjusting its curriculum to promote a more balanced education.

“Since discovering the amount of sleep our students get regularly, the staff as a whole has pushed to lessen homework for students,” science teacher Karen Zhou said. “We also believe that the best way to handle this issue is to educate the community about ways for students to balance their schoolwork.”

Since partnering with the initiative last year, the school has adopted the vision statement that the “school community values engagement, balance and growth,” and has taken steps to uphold this statement by planning informational parent meetings to help families start a conversation about healthy habits at home, and by providing resources on the school website for students to gain information about sleep and well-being. Such resources include helpful articles and videos that stress the importance of living a healthy lifestyle as a student.

A survey done by Challenge Success reports that Northwood students average about six hours of sleep a night, almost three hours less than the recommended nine hours of sleep for healthy teenagers. Students also have trouble focusing on their homework: the survey found that only 13% of students refrain from multitasking while completing their assignments.

In regards to homework, teachers make decisions to alter the amount of homework they assign as departments during staff development days each year. The homework policy for each department is adjusted to fit the level of difficulty for each class.

“Homework is being rebranded as practice material rather than busy work or extra work assigned outside of class,” Social Studies Department Chair Greg Guy said.

Aside from homework, the department chairs and the staff also have agreed upon academic breaks to ease students’ stress throughout the year. No homework is allowed to be administered over the semester break in December. In adopting these policies, the school is moving towards providing a more effective, balanced education so that students can focus on their studies along with maintaining their personal health and well being.

“I think that adjusting the student workload is a great move on the school’s part,” senior Joy Chen said. “Removing busy work that students have to do allows students to synthesize the information taught in class better, as well as spend more time either catching up on sleep or spending time on other subjects that they are struggling on.”