I’ve written about Needham, Massachusetts high school in this blog before (here and here) and I was happy to see an article in today’s New York Times, titled “A Principal Who Cracks Down on Stress.” The principal, Paul Richards, whom I interviewed for The Case Against Homework, has, among other things, asked teachers to have homework-free weekends and holidays, has stopped publishing the honor roll in the local newspaper, has greatly reduced summer homework, and has pulled together a stress committee which is starting to come up with additional recommendations. Richards has worked extensively with Denise Clark Pope of Stanford’s Stressed Out Students. Pope, whom I also interviewed for The Case Against Homework and whom I was on a panel with several months ago, is the author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students, a book that should be read by every teacher, administrator, and parent.
And, be sure to read the Missive on Academic Stress, written by the principal of Needham High to the Parents. This is no quick fix, but an excellent model for tackling stress. You should copy it and send it to the principal of your child’s school.