News

School board to talk homework policy

Classified union deal, 2015-16 budget, retiree reception among other topics

The San Ramon Valley school board is scheduled to consider proposed changes to the district's administrative regulation on homework and makeup work Tuesday night.

The adjustments, recommended by the district's homework committee, aim to limit overall homework volume, eliminate homework over breaks, develop a more effective system for communicating and implementing the policy, and align with the Common Core State Standards and legal requirements, district officials wrote in a memo to the board.

"The proposed revisions also provide clearer language regarding what is and is not allowed under district policy," the staff report stated.

The district brought together a committee of teachers, students, parents and site administrators to make changes to the existing regulation in order to better reduce student stress and keep in line with ever-evolving instructional practices under the Common Core, district officials said.

The revised homework administrative regulation is listed as a discussion-only item on Tuesday's agenda, with final consideration due at a yet-unspecified date. The board's open-session meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. inside the boardrooms at 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.

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In other business

* The school board will consider approving tentative agreements with California School Employees Association (CSEA) units II and III, which represent the district's clerical, technical and child nutrition employees, and paraeducators, respectively.

The deals include a 2% salary increase, retroactive to July 1, and a one-time monetary payment worth 2.38% of employee's annual salary at a combined cost this year of about $1.1 million. The board approved the same raises and payments for the district's other employee unions.

* Board members will accept initial proposals for bargaining talks next school year between the district and the teachers union, the San Ramon Valley Education Association.

The two sides mutually agreed upon what topics to broach during negotiations, including class size, health and welfare benefits, hours of employment, salaries and leaves.

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* The board will receive an update on Gov. Jerry Brown's May revision to his state budget proposal, and then consider approving the district's budget assumptions for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

* Board members will discuss authorizing the closure of the district's adult education and deferred maintenance funds and transferring those funds' reserves to the general fund to be spent for those two purposes.

* The board will give special recognition to the district's speech contest winners and the San Ramon Valley Teacher Induction Project.

* Before the open-session meeting, the board will honor employees who are retiring from the district this year with a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the boardrooms.

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School board to talk homework policy

Classified union deal, 2015-16 budget, retiree reception among other topics

by /

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 1, 2015, 5:17 pm
Updated: Mon, Jun 1, 2015, 5:53 pm

The San Ramon Valley school board is scheduled to consider proposed changes to the district's administrative regulation on homework and makeup work Tuesday night.

The adjustments, recommended by the district's homework committee, aim to limit overall homework volume, eliminate homework over breaks, develop a more effective system for communicating and implementing the policy, and align with the Common Core State Standards and legal requirements, district officials wrote in a memo to the board.

"The proposed revisions also provide clearer language regarding what is and is not allowed under district policy," the staff report stated.

The district brought together a committee of teachers, students, parents and site administrators to make changes to the existing regulation in order to better reduce student stress and keep in line with ever-evolving instructional practices under the Common Core, district officials said.

The revised homework administrative regulation is listed as a discussion-only item on Tuesday's agenda, with final consideration due at a yet-unspecified date. The board's open-session meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. inside the boardrooms at 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.

In other business

* The school board will consider approving tentative agreements with California School Employees Association (CSEA) units II and III, which represent the district's clerical, technical and child nutrition employees, and paraeducators, respectively.

The deals include a 2% salary increase, retroactive to July 1, and a one-time monetary payment worth 2.38% of employee's annual salary at a combined cost this year of about $1.1 million. The board approved the same raises and payments for the district's other employee unions.

* Board members will accept initial proposals for bargaining talks next school year between the district and the teachers union, the San Ramon Valley Education Association.

The two sides mutually agreed upon what topics to broach during negotiations, including class size, health and welfare benefits, hours of employment, salaries and leaves.

* The board will receive an update on Gov. Jerry Brown's May revision to his state budget proposal, and then consider approving the district's budget assumptions for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

* Board members will discuss authorizing the closure of the district's adult education and deferred maintenance funds and transferring those funds' reserves to the general fund to be spent for those two purposes.

* The board will give special recognition to the district's speech contest winners and the San Ramon Valley Teacher Induction Project.

* Before the open-session meeting, the board will honor employees who are retiring from the district this year with a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the boardrooms.

Comments

IMCurious
Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:26 am
IMCurious, Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:26 am
1 person likes this

Oh, by all means... Let's dumb it down. The U.S. can't complete now!


Teacher and Parent
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:55 am
Teacher and Parent, San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:55 am
19 people like this

Less homework is not dumb-ing down the curriculum. It allows children to use other parts of their brain and become more well rounded. It also takes away stress from kids and families. There is NO wasted time at school ( like in the old days), kids are working harder than ever and expected to do more than ever. The homework situation is out of control !!! Ask any middle or high school student in the district how much time they spend on homework.


Alamo Ron
Alamo
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:05 am
Alamo Ron, Alamo
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:05 am
2 people like this

How about asking any student outside the United States how much time they spend on homework?

Here's some answers:

Web Link


FormerResident
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:33 am
FormerResident, San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:33 am
7 people like this

My children used to be in this school district. There is more to a childhood than just massive amounts of homework.


Jim
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:48 am
Jim, San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 7:48 am
12 people like this

IMcurious and Alamo Ron,

Both my kids graduated from SRVUSD schools, both good students, both college bound, smart kids. What I can tell you is that the school TORTURED the kids with homework. We had one teacher who gave 60 math problems a night that took my wife an hour and a half to do herself. Imagine what time it took a kid. They also started giving assignments during dead week as well as being due the first day back from every vacation. The kids never got a break. My kids did 5 to 10 x's more homework (at a much higher level) than I ever did. I can tell you the students falling behind in CA or the US are not going to school in the SRVUSD.


Member
Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 8:04 am
Member , Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 8:04 am
11 people like this

IMCurious and Alamo Ron- I grew up in Europe and went to HS there as well. We had about 10 hours or less of homework a week, and when I started college here in US (one year after I came here), I saw that I was quite a bit ahead of my fellow (American) students in math, science and even English grammar. I now have a high schooler in this district; who is a top student, but spends ridiculous number of hours on homework!! There is no such thing as "break", because many teachers in the school give a LOT of homework that is due the day after the break and give homework on EVERY weekend. If the website Alamo Ron provided is correct, watch out China, Danville is at about 20 hours a week of homework! These kids no longer have the time to truly absorb what they've learned because after all that homework, there is no time for anything else!


alamo Ron
Alamo
on Jun 2, 2015 at 8:18 am
alamo Ron, Alamo
on Jun 2, 2015 at 8:18 am
1 person likes this

Homework assignments tend to be self-limiting. The teachers have to grade all the work they assign, don't they?

Q. When do you think teachers grade homework?

A. At night because they don't have time during the day. They do it at home because it's their *homework*


Ellen
Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:08 am
Ellen, Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:08 am
4 people like this

There are many high school teachers that never even look at completed homework assignments. The TAs (students assisting teachers as an easy elective) are often tasked with stamping piles of busy work for completion.


Mike
Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:54 am
Mike, Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:54 am
8 people like this

Ellen. Your comment is so unfair to the vast majority Of teachers who are doing a fantastic job of trying to teach the students and fend off entitled parents. Most teachers work their butts off not only teaching, but also motivating their overcrowded classrooms, with combinations of extremely bright, average, slow learners, and apathetic students; and then spending hours well into the night correcting nod grading papers, preparing lesson plans, answering parent, emails, and more. TAs do sort and stamp some of the work, but it is unfair and insulting to say that teachers never look at completed assignments. You are just plain wrong in this case.


BZ
Blackhawk
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:21 am
BZ, Blackhawk
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:21 am
7 people like this

I APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS AND VERY REAL EXPERIENCE, MEMBER. PERHAPS HINDSIGHT IS 20/20, BUT I AM INCREASINGLY CONVINCED THAT " MODERATION" IS UNDER VALUED. A SUCCESSFUL EDUCATION IS ONE THAT PREPARES A PERSON TO BE INSPIRED TO THINK FOR HIMSELF, TO MEET CHALLENGES HEAD ON, TO TAKE CALCULATED RISKS, TO APPRECIATE LIFE AROUND HIM, ETC....THIS REQUIRES HAVING THE TIME TO "PROCESS" LIFE.


FormerResident
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:50 am
FormerResident, San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:50 am
12 people like this

I wonder how many hours a week kids in private schools spend on homework?

Critical thinking can be taught every day of the week, in every day life. Doing homework 50 hours a week, does not guarantee any kid entrance into College. It just guarantees that these kids will miss out on their childhoods.


Xin Han
Blackhawk
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Xin Han, Blackhawk
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm
3 people like this

less homework, less problem solving, less stimulating work = service career
more homework, more challenging work, agressive goal setting = engineering, medicine, law, finance career.


Theresa
Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Theresa, Danville
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm
6 people like this

My son is at school from 8 till 3. He has a snack and dinner that accounts for maybe 90 mins, but otherwise it's all about the homework.

He is REGULARLY up doing homework until 11pm or even midnight. He is TWELVE.

As others have posted, there is more to growing up than getting through reams of homework. The situation is seriously out of control. I hope SRVUSD will use this opportunity to view their policies and facilitate more balance in our children's lives.


Beth
Monte Vista High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Beth, Monte Vista High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm
2 people like this

I just wanted to include a current example of a few high school AP course's summer homework assignments from Monte Vista. Here are the summer assignments for AP European History:

Web Link

Note that in the first of two assignments the homework is due on August 1 and the second assignment is due on the first day of school. The first exam for this course is being given on Wednesday, August 26th, the second day of school and the reason it is probably not being given on the first day of school is because it is a minimum day.

Here is the AP Language and Composition summer homework from Monte Vista high:

Web Link

The first of 3 books is 603 paperback pages, the second is 332 paperback pages; the third book is attached and looks like it is not a lot of reading. The total number of pages for the first two books is 935 pages (to be read in the summer before school starts). All have accompanying first quarter assignments (presentation, discussion).

I am not sure if these links will work, as you may have to be registered on schoolloop to access them. I am just trying to give an idea of what the elementary school and middle school parents can plan for their summers prior to 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.

I also posted this under the other article "School Board Talks Calendar Change".


MVMOM
Monte Vista High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm
MVMOM, Monte Vista High School
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm
6 people like this

As the parent of 2 kids at MVHS, I can confirm that the homework load is huge. There are hours of homework every night, every weekend and over every break. A lot of this work is quantity over quality. My son has had to hand draw pictures in a history paper - and was graded lower because the teacher graded based on the quality of the art. The teachers are accountable only to themselves, and the administration will not say a word to stop them. There are many great teachers at MVHS, but there are many bad teachers also. Overall kids do well at MVHS a, but parents and tutors are a big part of why. I feel my education was better 25 years ago, and Imhad way less homework.

What is the point of changing the policy if they will not enforce the policy they have now?


District Teacher
Danville
on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:51 am
District Teacher, Danville
on Jun 3, 2015 at 6:51 am
5 people like this

I'd like to point out a few things:
There were very few teachers on the homework policy review panel. Each site was allowed to send one representative, but many sites never were informed of this opportunity. How this message seemed to get "lost" along the way is a mystery.

I'd be curious to see how many hours many children in the district spend playing sports. I know from experience that many families place greater emphasis on sports practice than homework, so it makes sense these families would be upset at their child having homework.

Lastly, little to no consideration was given to the fact that each student is an individual who works at a their own pace l. What might take student A only 10 minutes to complete at home could take student B 45 minutes.


Beth
San Ramon
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:12 am
Beth, San Ramon
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:12 am
Like this comment

Web Link

Please just make sure all homework is actually reviewed after-the-fact, in class, to make sure the kids are learning it before moving on. Don't just rubber stamp it and disregard if the answers are correct.


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