By JENNY ANDERSON
Published: October 23, 2011
It was the kind of memo that high school students would dream of getting, if they dreamed in memos.
Lisa Waller, director of the high school at Dalton, a famously rigorous private school on the Upper East Side, sent a letter to parents this summer announcing that tests and papers would be staggered to make sure students did not become overloaded. January midterms would be pushed back two weeks so students would not have to study during vacation.
Across town at the Trinity School, another of Manhattan’s elite academies, the administration has formed a task force to examine workload, and the upper school, grades 9 to 12, has been trying ways to coordinate test-taking with papers, labs and other projects.
Horace Mann School, in the Bronx, opened a tutoring center this year to help students manage their work. Hunter College High School, which has a tough admissions exam, is for the first time this year offering homework holidays, on Halloween, the Chinese New Year (Jan. 23) and a day nearer spring, March 14.
Armed with neuroscience, self-analysis and common sense, some of New York City’s most competitive high schools, famed for their Marine-like mentality when it comes to homework, have begun to lighten the load for fear of crushing their teenage charges.
“We have incredibly talented high-achieving kids who need to be appropriately taken care of,” said Jessica Bagby, the head of Trinity’s upper school. “We realize the pressures on them, and to the degree that we’re complicit, we need to own that.”
Ms. Bagby, you speak for all of us. Thank you. Let’s hope that NYC is on the cutting edge on this homework cutback policy.