Homework Policy

Philosophy: 

At Piedmont Middle School we believe that homework plays an important role in a child’s education.  Quality homework has positive effects in the following areas:

Guidelines:

The following guidelines include all subjects, with the exception of P.E. and compression classes. Compression classes may include additional homework time due to the increased pace and rigor of the course. No homework is assigned for P.E. 

Working on homework for more than 90 minutes a day has been shown to lead to student stress. Therefore, students at all grade levels should expect no more than 90 minutes total of homework per night in a distraction-free environment.  This time is to be divided equally between all academic classes so that each teacher may assign up to 15 minutes of homework on a Monday or Friday and up to 20 minutes on a block day. Homework will only be assigned on the days that the class meets (up to 4 times per week) but may be due either the following class or on a future date. 

Expectations around homework time include working on daily written assignments, reading, working on long term projects, and studying for tests and quizzes. Outside of allotted homework time, free reading is still encouraged during student free time. Our hope is that with these expectations regarding homework time, students will have more flexibility to read for pleasure.

All assignments are being created by teachers with the expectation that they will take students 15 minutes on non-block (Monday/Friday) days and 20 minutes on block (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday) days in a distraction-free environment. At the end of this time period, students can stop work with no penalty for non-completion. Individual teachers will determine and communicate how students will report non-completion.

Teachers do not intend for assignments to take longer than the allotted time in a distraction-free environment. If a student chooses to go above and beyond on an assignment, he/she is allowed to choose to exceed the expected time. In addition, curious students are encouraged to continue to investigate, problem solve, research, and learn things outside of homework time. 

Procrastinating on an assignment may also have adverse consequences. If a student sees a problem developing with any long-term project, he/she should speak to the teacher several days before the due date of the assignment.                                                                                                                                     

Teacher Responsibility:

Teachers will explain the purposes of homework and establish clear homework guidelines.  Teachers will clearly post all short and long-term assignments in the classroom and online.  All teachers will give instruction to students during the first month of school regarding the use of the student agenda or other system for recording homework assignments.  Teachers will make an effort to coordinate with other grade-level teachers regarding major projects and tests and will regularly use the school’s internal Test/Project Calendar to coordinate such due dates.

Should students be unable to consistently complete their assignments during the allotted time period, teachers will participate in conversations with the student and their parents/guardians to support their learning. These conversations will include discussion of how work time is being spent, as well as reinforce best practices regarding working in a completely distraction-free environment.

Teachers will be encouraged to use the following phrase when posting homework :

For Monday or Friday (non-block days): “Spend 15 minutes on:______”

For Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday  (block days): “Spend 20 minutes on: ______”                          

Student Responsibility:

It is expected that students will complete homework assignments in a completely distraction free environment. A distraction free environment is one that does not include screens (unless required for the given assignment), social media, cell phones, texting, television shows, movies, video chatting, etc.

Students are also required to use each teacher’s online postings of assignments, such as in Google Classroom or Teacher Notes, to verify and monitor their assignments. Students are responsible for recording all assignments, completing them on time, and submitting them to the teacher.  Students will take responsibility for their own learning and understand the value and benefits associated with homework. Part of this responsibility includes thoroughly preparing their space and materials prior to beginning work. Should students be unable to complete their assignments during the allotted time period, students will report non-completion per their specific teacher’s instructions.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Parent/Guardian Responsibility: 

Parents/Guardians are responsible for providing and enforcing a distraction-free work environment for their student/s. A distraction free environment is one that does not include screens (unless required for the given assignment), social media, cell phones, texting, television shows, movies, video chatting, etc. We encourage parents/guardians to discuss time-management with their children on a regular basis. Parents/guardians are also encouraged to use each teacher’s online postings of assignments, such as in Google Classroom or Teacher Notes, to verify and monitor, when needed, student assignments.

Parents/guardians will show an active interest in a child’s school work, yet foster independence and pride in student’s own work.  Parents/guardians should encourage their students to contact their teacher per the specific teacher’s instructions any time they are unable to complete their work within the allotted time. Parents/guardians are also encouraged to communicate with teachers if their child is having any other issue regarding homework.  

CREATING A COMMUNITY OF READERS

“Research shows that independent reading can improve student achievement in language arts and other content areas” (Allington & Gabriel, 2012; Krashen, 2011).  The importance of reading across the curriculum begins at the elementary schools with Lucy Calkins’s “learning to read, reading to learn” concept; here at PMS we continue to cultivate a culture of literacy. Students have independent access to the library, teachers bring classes in for book talks and research projects, and everyone is expected to read every day. We hope families will join our Community of Readers by creating a time and place when the whole family can read each night.

Serravallo, Jennifer. “Reading Time With GOALS IN MIND.” Educational Leadership 72.1 (2014): 54. MAS Ultra – School Edition. Web. 12 May 2016. 

Strauss, Valerie. “Five Habits of Great Students: Lessons from Top-ranked STEM School.” Washington Post 20 Feb. 2013: n. pag. Web. 12 May 2016.