Wayfinding and city signage
Promoting Academic Success
Downtown Education Collaborative (DEC) is a homework help program in Lewiston, Maine. Originally started in September 2008, only 13 students visited for after school homework help, but by April 2009, the numbers rose to 30. And by the end of 2010, the DEC had facilitated after school homework help for over 3,200 students. One of them, a class of 2012 student, noted that “The tutors are more than just tutors. They care about you,” she said, “And that means a lot to me.” This kind of dedication can be replicated in your community, too, and you can help!Set an example
Homework is assigned to students in an effort to “reinforce and extend classroom learning.” It is a practice outside the classroom designed to strengthen independent study skills. Homework is a rudimentary responsibility, but sometimes children have a hard time following directions and completing assignments when they are away from their teacher. This is a gap homework help programs can fill.

This is a gap local, regional and state government agencies can help fill, too! The best way to do that is to help facilitate homework help programs. Connecting with children who need extra assistance is an opportunity for you and for your agency to meaningfully contribute to your community. A strong education goes a long way in building a strong community.

Lead by example
One proven way to help children complete homework on time is to be surrounded by family and mentor figures who believe homework is important: If homework is important to the people kids care about, it is important to them, too. It is up to parents, friends and family to make sure children understand that what they are doing is a valuable skill for the future. A small, classic gesture like using a clip to hang a good grade on the refrigerator for all to see goes a long way in the mind of a child.

Can you imagine the strength of children supported not just by their family, but by people in their community, too? Homework help programs are quickly gaining recognition in communities across the country as vehicles to help young students excel in school, because it not only promotes youth success, but also brings people together from across the community. You and your agency can participate in the success of a homework help program in your community by forming a strategic partnership with one. Here’s how:

Lend your agency’s support to an already existing after school homework help program, something most schools already have in place. Consider donating simple school supplies.

Children thrive on rewards. As an incentive to attend homework help sessions, think about providing small awards.

  • To appeal to their innate sweet tooth, distribute Hershey® kisses.
  • Or, to interest their inner ball of energy, consider handing out toys like a football rocket.

Start small. Start with your own children. Encourage them to always ask for help if they need it. But there are students, probably many in your own community, in need of a little extra help with their homework. These are the children that could greatly benefit from a homework help program. Demonstrate your agency’s support for their success—and that of your community—by contributing to a homework help program near you!

“A Project of the Downtown Education Collaborative.” Promoting School Success 2010-11. Slideshare. Web. 05 June 2012.

“Helping Your Gradeschooler With Homework.” KidsHealth. Nemours. Web. 05 June 2012.

“How to Help: Show That You Think Education and Homework Are Important — Helping Your Child With Homework.” My Child’s Academic Success. U.S. Department of Education, 1 Sept. 2003. Web. 05 June 2012.

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