SHERIDAN — The new school year is upon us. Soon, evenings will be filled with club meetings and activities, sports practices and games and…homework.
Homework is an almost daily requirement during a student’s school career and it is easy for students to get caught up with other, more engaging activities. However, educators stress that falling behind at the beginning of the school year can make it very difficult to catch up later and can significantly damage grades. Completing homework assignments accurately and on time is the best way for students to keep up with their studies.
In addition to staying late to get extra help from a teacher, parents used to be the primary source for homework help for most students. However, with almost all school work now done on computers or other devices, and with increasingly complicated subjects and curriculum, many parents find it difficult to assist their children with homework assignments. Therefore, to help students stay current with their homework, area schools offer a variety of after-school programs to provide assistance to students who need it.
“There are actually quite a lot of opportunities if they need help,” said Mitch Craft, principal at Sheridan Junior High. “We have a slate of after-school programs here.”
SJH has two options available for students. Craft said that each day, the school library opens an hour before school, at 7:30 a.m. and stays open an hour after school, until 4:30 p.m. to help students with homework. He said there are staff members who are available to help students one-on-one in the library during these times. Also, the library has several computers available for students who don’t have access to computers or the Internet at home to complete assignments.
Beginning in October, Craft said the school offers a more formal homework help program that focuses on helping students with math and language arts. The program combines homework help with an afternoon snack and activity as well.
Almost every school offers some sort of homework help or after-school program and parents and students should check with their individual school for availability and options. However, local outside organizations can be of assistance as well. For Tongue River Valley students, homework help can be found at the Tongue River Valley Community Center.
Erin Kilbride, executive director of TRVCC, said the center began its after-school program in 2007 to provide a safe, supervised environment for students in the hours after school, before parents arrived home from work. Three years ago, the center began partnering with Tongue River Elementary to include homework help.
The program, called TRACK, is being slightly revised this year. Elementary students will still receive homework help at TRVCC through volunteer tutors and volunteer high school students. These volunteers will be able to help students with basic homework assignments in various subjects. However, students with more specialized needs will be directed to teachers at TRE.
“Basically we cater toward the kids who don’t have anyone home after school,” Kilbride said. “Obviously, any kid who needs a safe, structured place to go after school, we are there for them. We provide a snack, we provide homework help and we provide activities. And we try to teach community service through projects.”
Kilbride said parents can sign their child up for TRACK at any time. The cost is $30 per month for TRVCC members and $45 for nonmembers.
In addition to locally-run programs, students can seek online help with homework through a variety of avenues. Links to several tutorials are available on Sheridan County School District 1 and 2 websites, by searching under “student learning resources.” The links provide access to trusted websites that provide accurate information in several subject areas including foreign languages, science and math.