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Gaithersburg Elementary Principal Abolishes Homework; Delivers Free Books

Gaithersburg Elementary School principal Stephanie Brant rids normal homework for reading and delivered free books to adults and children twice weekly over the summer.

Reading is for everyone, and it's a message Gaithersburg Elementary School principal Stephanie Brant worked hard to convey to her students for the 2012-13 school year and community members during summer vacation.

As part of a new intiative, Brant canceled what might be perceived as regular homework for her students in lieu of 30-minute-per-night reading assignments, according to a report by Fox 5.

After a review of the homework assignments her students were completing, Brant determined they did not directly relate to what they were studying in the classroom, according to the report.

Multiple reports including Fox 5 said Brant sought permission from Montgomery County Public Schools in order to implement the reading-only homework assignment experiment, but MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig said that was not the case.

"She didn’t get 'permission' as much as she consulted with her community superintendent and others about how best to do this," Tofig told Patch. "It is fully within the MCPS Homework Policy and, if you think about it, their homework is reading."

MCPS and Tofig said he thinks Brant's plan does just that.

"This does fit into Dr. Starr’s belief that homework should be meaningful and further the learning process," Starr said. "This certainly does that. Overall, we think what Stephanie did was great for her school community and seems to be working well."

In addition to her new homework policy, Brant spent time during her summer vacation ensuring members of the Gaithersburg community had books to read.

Each Tuesday and Thursday during the vacation months, Brant has delivered free books throughout her school district to help encourage students – and even adults – to read over the summer, according to a report by Scholastic.

Brant estimated she has delivered about 3,000 books, Scholastic reported, and kept Gaithersburg Elementary's media center open over the summer to provide her students with access to books that normally wouldn't be available.

“At the end of the day, they need to make sure they have food on the table,” Brant told Scholastic. “Providing books for their kids is not a concern I want them to have.”

Read the full report on Brant's new homework policy on Fox 5.

Read the full report on Brant's summer book distribution Scholastic

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