Less homework, more courses designed to develop day-to-day "life skills" and more training on meeting the emotional needs of students could become a new focus within the Jackson County School System.

In looking over tentative ideas to update the system's five-year plan at its Nov. 7 meeting, the Jackson County Board of Education appeared to support a move to lessen the homework burden on high school students, perhaps by changing the course structure in the system's two high schools. In addition, the board is looking at other changes to broaden the system's focus beyond traditional academic memes.

Why it matters: School surveys indicate that a lot of students feel a high level of stress, administrators said at the BOE meeting. Superintendent April Howard said the system is looking at a different class schedule that would be more flexible and that the system had considered a two-week moratorium on homework. 

Although no action was taken, board members seemed to agree with the general idea to include more "real life" learning in the system's curriculum.

"There's more to school than tests," said board member Michael Cronic.

What's Next: Among the ideas being discussed in the system to broaden students' experiences are:

• Earlier guidance for students to plan their academic career, perhaps starting in elementary school.

• More focus on skills such as how to write a check, doing taxes, managing time and other day-to-day life skills that many students say they are unsure about.

• To increase teacher awareness of students' emotional and social needs.

Key point: Many of the preliminary programs being discussed revolve around the creation of the system's college and career academy that is slated to open in 2021.

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(1) comment

angela little

this a great idea, kids need to learn the real skills in school that will help them in the outside world. Learning is wonderful but some kids don't even know what a check is or how to sign their name in cursive.

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