Blacksburg school no longer assigns homework to students

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) It's usually a treat for students when they come home with no homework. At one school in Blacksburg, no homework is a new policy.

"It's really fun because we get extra time to do whatever we need to," said Miles Ermann, a fifth grade students at Margaret Beeks.

He spends more time focused on school work in the classroom rather than at home.

"Most of the time I don't really miss it, because my brother he has a lot of homework and he barely gets to go to soccer practice or whatever," Ermann said.

He and his classmates now have more time after school to spend with family or play sports. This is the first year the entire school eliminated homework for students. Of course its a hit with the students, but does it really work? Teachers like Shelley Seckers says yes.

"I think they're more successful during the day. They value their time here and they spend it working hard and then at the end of the day they go home knowing they can relax and enjoy themselves," said Shelley Seckers, a fifth grade teacher.

It was an idea from the principal after a few teachers tried it out last year. It worked, and is backed by research.

The principal had to do his homework first. He looked at the data and research from Visible Learning, an organization that shares the latest trends in education with teachers. The findings prove homework sometimes isn't necessary.

"Just taking that homework out of the equation and leaving that to us during the school day for right now is something we decided to do," said Micah Mefford, the principal of Margaret Beeks.

Turns out keeping track of homework is often as stressful for the teachers and parents as it is the student. The world is changing too.

"A lot more single parent households, a lot more two parent working households, students are involved in a lot of extracurricular activities so there are lots of ways they are spending their time that are great ways," Mefford said.

Although there is no graded homework given, teachers are encouraging their students to read for 20 minutes every night.

The principal tells WDBJ7 this is only a trial run right now. His team is now looking at ways to make homework more meaningful.