The parents and faculty of the Riverside School came together on November 16th for the first of a series of “Coffee House” discussions that are being hosted by the Parent Advisory Committee. The very interactive and lively event was led by Riverside parent, Sandra Laflamme, with guidance from a professional facilitator from National School Reform. The topic of discussion was homework. Michelle Ralston, head of school, stated “The parents and faculty were asked for their input and participated in a variety of activities that allowed for contributions by all who attended. The information that was gathered that evening will be used to help inform a possible revision to The Riversides School’s homework policy.”
Given a little homework themselves, the participants were asked to read several articles about the pros and cons of this topic prior to the gathering. This provided a framework for what proved to be lively discussions and observations. Some of the more telling responses included, “homework should help teach delayed gratification and the love of learning” while others pondered the idea of “quality over quantity.” Still the “consideration of what needs to be in place for homework to be successful” was the theme that prevailed.
Many agreed that proper stimulation and time management skills coupled with assignments that allow for student ownership and choice are the clear benefits of homework. Furthermore, it was stated that the importance of these experiences is to facilitate and enhance parent understanding of their child’s learning.
Parent involvement has always been a central component of The Riverside School and one of its strongest traditions. Parents are called upon throughout the year to perform a variety of tasks and the response is resounding. The goal of the Parent Advisory Committee is to support two-way communications between the head of school, faculty, and parents by providing a point of contact for parents within one grade level when questions arise related to Riverside’s program; assisting Riverside in keeping parents updated and involved in program events and aware of classroom needs; to assist the Head of School in the facilitation of “Coffee House” discussions for all parents. It is with this charge that parent involvement will continue to thrive at Riverside.
The next “Coffee House” is scheduled for January, 19th. The topic will be: Grades and Grading.