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Note from the Principal
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 12:55 PM

Dear Families,
I heard there was a great turnout at the Minneapolis Event Centers on Friday evening! I'm sorry I had to miss this fun event!  Thank you to our PTA Auction Committee who put so much time and effort into making this a fun and successful event.  Again and again I am in awe of the support our families and community provide for our students and staff.  Without you, so many of the experiences we provide for our students simply would not be possible.  
As we launch into the second quarter of the school year and with all that is going on in the world and in our country, I find myself reflecting on our Burroughs Community School Mission:  Our mission is a commitment to inspire all students to be College, Career and Life Ready, well-educated with a sense of determination, bravery and the capacity to fulfill their aspirations.  Burroughs students will be Global Citizens who give back to society and continue to be lifelong learners.
How are we working towards and upholding this mission in all we do with our students is a question I ask myself on a daily basis. The emotions that these current events bring up for both our student and adult community are very real and impact how we show up each day.  We are mindful of this and work every day to create safe, nurturing and non-judgmental learning environments where our students can share their feelings and as a community we can come together to support one another in this journey of school and life.  We expect that each child is treated with kindness and respect and sees themselves a valued member of our community.  
This will be my last note until I return from maternity leave in February.  Until then, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  Please do not hesitate to reach out to Kelly Woods or Jackie Hanson with any questions that may arise.
Instructional Insights

Homework is a controversial topic in schools these days and a topic that we are discussing here at Burroughs.  What should be assigned for homework?  How much homework should be expected? What should we expect from families in regards to homework?  Should homework assignments impact a student's grade? These are all questions we grapple with as we attempt to strike a balance and have homework be a tool that supports student growth and learning.

Personally, having taught both elementary and middle school for over a decade, I have come to believe that homework, if purposefully assigned, has some benefit.  Some of the benefits I experienced for my students included developing study routines, developing a routine of nightly reading, providing a regular opportunity for students and families to talk about what students are learning at school and providing students with an opportunity to practice important academic and social skills.

With these benefits in mind, I have also come to believe that homework should not cause additional or undue stress on students and families; and a student's success with homework should also not be dependent on the resources they have access to outside of school. Teachers should have clearly defined parameters for homework that include a reasonable and developmentally appropriate guideline for the amount of time students should be spending on homework each night.  I also strongly believe that although homework assignments can have an element of challenge for student thinking, homework should not be the strategy that is used to challenge students.  Students should be constantly challenged during their school day to think deeply about what they are learning.  

This year, we are working towards developing consistent guidelines around homework.  To this end, grade level teams were asked to discuss their homework policies and come to consensus as a team about how they will handle homework.  Many grade levels have decided to go with a research based guideline of 10 minutes of homework per night, per grade level that a student is in (example: 2nd grade = 20 minutes a night) with reading being the main focus of that homework time.  As we begin to develop a more consistent policy around homework, we will be sure to keep families in the loop.  In the meantime if you have questions about homework for your child, please contact your child's teacher.

There is a lot of research out on the benefits or lack of benefits in regards to homework.  This recent article about homework provides some interesting food for thought.