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2 Extra Hours of School Homework Urged for Compton Students : Education: Community exhorted to get involved in raising schools' academic achievement by providing students a place to work. A hot line is also being set up.


COMPTON — A citywide Homework Improvement Program aimed at increasing academic achievement by encouraging students to do two hours of additional schoolwork each day was unveiled Tuesday by the Compton Unified School District.

The program aims to add what schools Supt. J. L. Handy called a "critical" two extra hours to the academic day by giving youngsters places where they can do their homework and get help if they need it.

Banners and signs will be displayed throughout the city on streets and inside businesses asking residents to support the drive to have youngsters spend at least two hours a day on homework. A homework hot line is being created so students can call for help with their assignments if they need it.

"The discipline of just doing homework will benefit (youngsters)," said Brian Bradford, a college-bound student at Compton High School.

"Every child can learn," said school board member Cloria Patillo. "Our job as a community is to help them learn."

Each of the district's 35 schools has been told to come up with a plan to get its students and their families committed to the daily two-hour study time. The actual details of the program will be left up to individual schools, but some are expected to set up after-class homework sessions in their buildings, said Dr. Lilly Nelson, the district's director of educational support services.

A key component of the program, she said, is parent and community involvement. "The bottom line is participation," she said. "And it can't be a one-shot deal. It has to be ongoing."

The homework program, she said, will be monitored in order to help district officials measure the effectiveness of each school's plan.

Scores on state academic achievement tests will provide one measure of the effectiveness. Compton students have some of the lowest academic scores in the state.

The city of Compton already has agreed to participate in the homework campaign through a new program called "Homework in the Park." The city has recruited teachers, students and retired persons to serve as tutors for youngsters who come to one of four city parks to do their homework. The four parks are Lueders, Kelly, Wilson and West, said Gwen Barnett, recreational supervisor for the city.

Supt. Handy said the homework campaign that he and his administrative staff devised is a "coming-out party" for his administration's new emphasis on academic achievement.

Handy became superintendent of the district in September. Before that he was an administrator in Sacramento schools.

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