Contrary to the belief of students everywhere, homework does have a purpose. And when it doesn't get completed, they fall behind.
Incomplete homework assignments and their effect on lesson comprehension is one of several reasons Steamboat Springs Middle School officials hope to start an after-school study club.
Also of great concern to school officials is the number of students testing below grade level in core subject areas, Principal Tim Bishop said.
"We've seen a number of kids who had skills below grade level in math, reading and writing," Bishop said last week. "It's been a frustration for us, and we've been looking at different ways of addressing it."
Providing those students with additional academic support can be instrumental in improving achievement, Bishop said. The proposed study club, which will meet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the school's media center, will provide students about 45 minutes to work on and receive help with nightly homework assignments and other school projects. The second half of the study club will be devoted to skills development with help from a computer program that can be tailored to the specific needs of individual students, Bishop said.
"Research has shown that at the middle school level, great leaps and bounds have been made in math through these after-school clubs," Bishop said.
The study club will be open to all interested students, not just those who may be below grade level in certain areas. However, school staff will identify students who they think could benefit from the extra academic time and suggest the study club to them and their parents.
Students who participate in the club will be asked to attend two sessions each week.
One or two certified staff members will oversee the club each day it meets, but Bishop and Assistant Principal Jerry Buelter hope parent and community volunteers will make up the bulk of the volunteers needed to provided individual and small-group student help.
An informational meeting about the study club is at 4 p.m. Thursday in the middle school media center. The meeting is primarily for potential volunteers and interested parents, not students.
Bishop and Buelter hope the club can begin Monday with as many as 40 students attending.
A similar after-school club implemented at Strawberry Park Elementary School several years ago has been very successful, Principal John DeVincentis said.