Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter - November 2016

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Challenge Success Partnership

In the spring of 2016, ABRSD entered into a partnership with Challenge Success, out of Stanford University. Challenge Success aims to "provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids." The team at Challenge Success collaborates with educators, parents, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.


This month's newsletter will focus on HOMEWORK.

Changing the Conversation about Homework: From Quantity and Achievement To Quality and Engagement

Our district is engaged in a number of important conversations about homework. We are focused on expanding the conversation from quantity and achievement to quality and engagement.


To read a Challenge Success white paper on this topic: http://www.challengesuccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ChallengeSuccess-Homework-WhitePaper.pdf.


For more research around HW, check out our AB Wellness site: http://abschoolswellness.weebly.com/homework--workload.html.

Did You Know?

In spring 2016, we administered a Challenge Success survey to our nearly 2900 6th – 12th grade students, who were also asked how they felt about the amount of homework

they had each night.


  • In grades 9-12,, 47% of students felt they had the “right” amount, while 52% reported they had “too much” HW.
  • In grades 6-8, 67% of students felt they had the “right” amount, while 26% reported they had “too much” HW.


The survey also asked students how much time during weekdays and weekends they spent in various activities, including time spent on school-assigned and non-school- assigned homework (e.g. language or religious school, tutoring, SAT or ACT prep homework), extracurricular activities, and using the computer/cell phone for recreational purposes (Instagram, email, texting, etc.).


On average, students reported doing between 0 and 7 hours of school-assigned and non-school-assigned homework per weeknight and on a typical Saturday or Sunday. This data is outlined in the chart below:

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Video Resources: Homework

What science says about the benefits of homework Madeline Levine
Homework during the elementary school years - Denise Pope

Student Voice

Challenging the Verb "Achieve" by Emma Seevak
“Our current fast-paced, high-pressure culture works against much of what we know about healthy child development… our largely singular focus on academic achievement has resulted in a lack of attention to other components of a successful life – the ability to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers.” (Pope, et al. , 2015)

Teacher Voice: What Teaching 8th Graders Has Taught Me About Homework and Stress

By 8th Grade Teacher Paul Franz, LePort Schools in Fountain Valley, California

Books to Consider

November Stress-Buster Tip

Settle Your Glitter by Momentous Institute is a free app for iDevices and Android. According to Common Sense Media, "Settle Your Glitter is a beautifully designed tool that helps kids name their feelings, determine how strong their feelings are, and focus on their breathing. Pairing deep breaths with a calming visual, Settle Your Glitter is an easy way to help kids independently regulate their emotions. Younger kids who struggle with hyperactivity or impulsivity might find this tool especially helpful."

The Well-Balanced Student with Denise Pope, Ph.D.

Tuesday, Nov. 8th, 7-8:30pm

36 Charter Road

Acton, MA

In a high-stakes, high-pressure culture, family and school expectations may have unintentional but damaging effects on students. Increasing demands on students may lead to unhealthy stress, resulting in burnout, disengagement, or debilitating physical and mental health symptoms. Join us as she examines the tension that families, students, and teachers often experience over issues such as homework, grades, and the culture of competition, and offers tools for creating a healthier community of learners.


This learning event is for all parents/guardians and grandparents with children preschool through grade 12, and for any interested community members.

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Challenge Success Mantra

At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. We provide families and schools with the practical, research-based tools they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.