Students returning to the classroom in the fall will find a familiar and helpful friend available if they are faced with a particularly challenging homework assignment this year.
Homework Hotline returns to public broadcasting stations across New York State on Sept. 12, offering homework help on the air and online to students in grades four through 12.
The award-winning program, which is beginning its 27th season, is funded in part by NYSUT, one of the original underwriters, and produced by WXXI in Rochester. Teachers from Dial-A-Teacher – members of the Rochester Teachers Association -- take students’ calls and send them to the studio, where the hosts -- also RTA members and experts in subjects across the curriculum -- assist the students work through their homework assignments live on television. Students not making it on the TV program are still helped by the Dial-A-Teacher volunteer.
This season, the show will air live Monday through Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m., an hour earlier than in past years. Alison Zero Jones, WXXI’s director of sales and marketing, explained that the PBS affiliates requested the earlier timeslot, saying the program could be even more useful if it was broadcast closer to the time students return home from school.
Meanwhile, a live webcast at homeworkhotline.org means anyone who needs help can see the show from his or her computer or phone. Past shows are also available on the website.
In addition to the homework help, Homework Hotline video segments explore careers, animals, New York State history and the arts. Special guests show up for live performances and students can win prizes with “Math Mazes” and “Science Challenges.”
Six master teachers host the series; all are RTA members. They include math teachers Laura Drake, Ed Hathaway, Donna Mineo and ;Samuel Simpson, and science teachers Craig Zaremba and Joe Zuniga.
Homework Hotline’s website features video segments that are searchable by subject, plus access to interactive games, homework help tips and a list of educational links. Homework Hotline is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, where it shares homework tips, behind-the-scenes work on the show and entertaining educational facts.