Ellington redefines homework - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Ellington redefines homework

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A police in Ellington is redefining how students and parents think of homework. (WFSB) A police in Ellington is redefining how students and parents think of homework. (WFSB)
ELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Bring on the homework, projects and tests once again.

Students across the state, including Ellington, headed back to school this week.

Ellington, however, has redefined and changed the way most think of homework.

Many teachers feel homework is a crucial step in the learning process. In Ellington, however, it's not counted toward the academic grade.

For students in grades kindergarten through 12, it's an independent practice and learning that happens outside of the classroom.

It may include reading, working on long-term projects or practicing new concepts that were just introduced in class.

The superintendent of Ellington Public Schools, Dr. Scott Nicol, said it wouldn't be fair to judge students on something that's so new to them.

"Now, I don't see a time when independent practice and preparation outside of the school isn't necessary to perform at high level," Nicol told Eyewitness News. "Outside independent practice, when students are learning new skills to assess that and to include that in the grade is counterintuitive."

Nicol said the district added a "flex block" during the school day last year to help students balance the work they need to do with extracurricular activities. The block allows time for students to get together with their peers to work on group projects and to meet with teachers to get additional help. They can also retake tests.

"We're in the second year of a redo, retake policy," Nicol explained. "What this means is, we want to ensure that every single Ellington High School student when they graduate has mastered the skills and concepts required of the curriculum."

Nicol said the policy seems to be working. Ellington High School has been named three out of the past six years to the National Advanced Placement Honor Roll.

He said to receive that distinction, schools must offer more AP courses and by increase performance on AP tests.

As part of the curriculum in Ellington, students are encouraged to read every single day.

Nicol said families can support this goal by setting aside reading time every day.

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