No homework at Gaithersburg Elementary

Gaithersburg Elementary School’s principal has declared “no homework” for all students! Sounds like a dream come true, but there’s just one catch – kids must read every night.

Principal Stephanie Brant says her staff found that homework didn’t connect with their curriculum and even took an emotional toll on students. With the school district’s support, going “homework free” has been a huge success with students and their families.

“The amount of time you spend reading is really a predictor for how many words you know,” said Brant. “And really a big predictor for student achievement and success.”

Students say they get through at least two books a week. And while they have their assigned reading, they can choose whatever book they like, outside of the classroom.

The Maryland School Assessment showed mixed results at Gaithersburg Elementary. After the policy went into effect last year, 5th and 4th grade reading scores held steady or improved. Third grade reading went from 76% to 64%. Fifth and 3rd grade math scores dropped.

“What we found out is that the culture of our students is more positive,” noted Brant, saying that the focus is more on the process rather than the product.

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