Daily Scoop: Academy takes look at student’s workload

Philomath Academy students were beginning to feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading and writing required to finish assignments. That’s one piece of information that came out of a survey that the new school sent to its students. Educators wanted to know how families were feeling about the program.

“We ran a survey just to kind of figure out where people fell in their work,” Philomath Academy Principal Dan Johnson said last month. “We discovered that 75% of our families or our students are spending between 3-1/2 to 7 hours per day on school work — some a little, some are less.”

The survey’s results prompted Academy staff to try to lighten the load.

“Analyzing that data, if students are going to school in person, they would have between 5 to 6 hours of academic class time plus some homework,” Johnson said. “But we want to be responsive to the needs of our families and what we discovered is that there was great concern about the amount of reading and writing that is really associated with the platforms we’re using at the Academy.”

The staff took a close look into each curricular area and reduced the number of researched-based assignments.

“We had a great discussion amongst the staff and we really are just asking to focus on the quality versus quantity aspect of it,” Johnson said. “So if they can really answer the question and if they can answer it well in 300 words, we’re happy with the quality answers or a quantitative answer.”

Johnson said the Academy’s staff will continue to monitor workload to lessen the chance of students becoming overwhelmed.

“We’re continuing to listen with what’s going on with our families — at least those who are willing to share and respond back to our questions — to make sure we’re really reducing some of the stress and the angst with some of the limited in-person instruction,” Johnson said. “We’re bringing kids in who are struggling. We’ll be going up to four days a week in the academy’s area to help those families that way.”

In all, Johnson said the survey produced a lot of positive comments in addition to those concerns.

“There are people out there who feel that this is a really good fit for them,” Johnson said.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).

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