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Dec 11, 2017 2:46 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

No Homework Day Once A Month Is A Huge Hit At East Quogue Elementary School

Jessica Stalters at East Quogue Elementary. VALERIE GORDON
Dec 12, 2017 1:33 PM

No homework sounds like a dream to most students. Well, then, call it a dream come true for the nearly 400 students enrolled at the East Quogue Elementary School—for at least one day every month.Pitched by Board of Education Vice President Jessica Stalters in October, and implemented a month later, the school’s new “Family First Wednesday” initiative requires that all of the district’s students—from kindergarten through the sixth grade—receive no homework on the first Wednesday of each month.

The program’s goal is to give students a break from their regular education routines, allowing them to spend more time with their families.

“I see the amount of homework coming home,” said Ms. Stalters, who teaches at the Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School in Rocky Point, and whose two sons—Andrew, 9, and Jack, 7—attend East Quogue Elementary. “How are you supposed to just enjoy time together?”

The answer: Family First Wednesdays.

Though students only recently enjoyed their first homework-free night on December 6, their parents, teachers and even School Superintendent Robert Long said they support the initiative and the messages it is conveying.

Ms. Stalters noted that she took her two boys who, while bundled up in their pajamas and sipping hot cocoa, had the chance to enjoy the Girl Scout-sponsored holiday light show at nearby Smith Point County Park in Shirley last week.

But, she quickly added, “It doesn’t have to be, ‘Go out and do something!’ That’s the beauty of it—you don’t have to do anything.”

In fact, that’s just what Nicole Paga of East Quogue did with her three children: second-grader Nicholas, and pre-schoolers Giada and Cristiano. They enjoyed a play date with a close friend.

Brian Babcock, who also sits on the East Quogue Board of Education, said he took advantage of not having to supervise homework to play “Pie Face!”—a board game where players press a button and get a face full of whipped cream—with his 11-year-old daughter, Rose. “It was a lot of fun,” he said on Friday.

Though still new, the initiative has proven to be very popular—and not just in East Quogue. Officials in the neighboring Hampton Bays School District are expecting to discuss the possibility of implementing a similar program in their district at an upcoming meeting, according to Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen.

“The goal is to have the focus back on the family,” Ms. Stalters said of her recent triumph. “I think it will be well-received.”

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