It’s safe to say many children are wishing they went to Orchard Elementary School this year.  The South Burlington school is doing away with homework this year, for the first time. 

“I imagine it wasn’t an easy step and some parents probably are not feeling excited about it, but most of the parents I’ve talked to have been really positive,” says Susan Palmer, a mom of two boys enrolled at Orchard.

The goal instead is to encourage more family time, more outdoor play time, and more time for children to discover what they are passionate about. 

“There’s basically no data that shows at the elementary school level, that homework increases academic achievement,” says Orchard School Principal Mark Trifilio, who has led the school for eight years.

Trifilio says all 40 of his teachers supported the initiative, as well as Superintendent Dave Young. 

“When we come home at night we don’t want to do more work do we,” says first-grade teacher Carol McQuillen.  “We want to just be adults and hang out with our family and friends, and we want that for children and families.”

McQuillen says there will be more work inside the classroom, however, to make up for what is not being done at home.  Students also still have four assignments after the bell rings.

“We ask for everyone to be reading every night, having a good dinner with their families, going out to play, and getting a good night’s sleep,” says Trifilio.

Orchard is one of 3 elementary schools in South Burlington, and not the only school embracing the no homework policy.  Trifilio says Shelburne School and BFA Fairfax Middle School are also testing it this year.