Framingham Superintendent & School Committee Seeking Feedback on New Homework Policy

FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Superintendent of Schools and the Framingham School Committee is seeking feedback on a new proposed homework policy.

“Homework is a meaningful and valuable tool that reinforces learning by providing practice outside of school. When implemented purposefully, homework helps students, families, and teachers understand what is being taught at school and what students need to work on,” wrote Superintendent Tremblay to families on the district’s first snow day of the school year.

“Homework is also a significant source of stress and anxiety for students, families, and teachers. With students often engaged in so many extracurricular activities and/or work obligations, balancing homework time with family time, or even just having some unstructured down time for that necessary mental break, can be a challenge,” wrote Tremblay to families today, December 2.

Last year, Tremblay started four no homework days in the district. Those 4 days have returned this school year.

Also last year, the “Framingham High School (FHS) Action Civics Commission (ACC), comprised of students, took on the daunting task of developing proposed guiding language for homework in grades 9-12,’ said Tremblay.

“The students did an incredible job developing language and working with stakeholders to begin this conversation,” wrote Tremblay to parents.

‘”Following presentations and discussions with FHS staff, the Framingham Teachers Association, and later with the Framingham School Committee, the proposed language was brought before the Policy Subcommittee of the Framingham School Committee for review and for the integration of language that would also set guidelines for our elementary and middle levels,” wrote Tremblay.

After an initial draft, the proposed K-12 Homework Policy was brought before the Framingham School Committee for a first reading – the first step in policy adoption. The policy was subsequently referred back to the Policy Subcommittee for further refinement and for additional stakeholder input, explained Tremblay to parents in an email today.

Families are encouraged to read this proposed policy and offer feedback using this Google form.

“I will bring all feedback to the Framingham School Committee’s Achievement & Accountability Subcommittee and then to the Policy Subcommittee for vetting. Once changes are made, a revised FPS Homework Policy will be brought before the School Committee for a first reading, explained Tremblay.

HOMEWORK POLICY PROPOSED

According to the proposed policy, effective homework is purposeful and supports or extends learning. It may be categorized in one or more of the following ways:

  • Preparation ensures that all students have the same entry point for new learning. This may involve previewing material and building background knowledge.
  • Practice supports new learning and provides students opportunities to gain confidence with skills and concepts taught in class. 
  • Checking for Understanding allows students to showcase their knowledge and informs next steps for instruction. 
  • Study Skills and Independence helps students to learn responsibility and time management. As students develop their ability to persevere at a developmentally appropriate level of independence, some intellectual struggle is to be expected.
  • Extension and Enrichment allow students an avenue for engaging in problem-solving and higher level thinking skills and give students the opportunity to transfer skills and concepts to new situations, such as investigating real-world problems.  

HOMEWORK ROLES: 

Student

  • It is expected that all assigned homework will be attempted with an honest effort for completion and submitted on time
  • Be sure to understand the assignment prior to leaving class/school in order to meet the homework completion date
  • Thoughtfully complete homework independently and in a distraction-free environment
  • Ask for help if needed or if required by the assignment 
  • Plan and complete short and long term assignments using calendars and agendas 
  • Advocate for yourself during and after class, in person, or via email to clarify questions about the assignment
  • Use available resources appropriately including teachers, peers, families, and other materials
  • Strive to find a balance between daily life and homework responsibilities
  • Communicate with the teacher directly or through email if there is an issue regarding the completion of homework
  • Take accountability for work missed when absent from class

Teacher

  • Communicate the daily homework assignments and expectations with students 
  • Indicate the purpose of each homework assignment
  • Assign developmentally appropriate and varied assignments that are meaningful to the learning
  • Adjust homework to accommodate specific student needs and/or situations
  • Keep students accountable for completion and provide meaningful feedback
  • Be mindful of the needed balance between daily life and homework responsibilities 
  • Plan out the homework assignments for students to avoid overload and make assignment dates accessible to students
  • Continuously remind and encourage students to work on long term assignments, so that they are not completed at the last minute
  • Encourage students to record their homework assignments and due dates
  • Comment upon, grade, or acknowledge in some way each assignment
  • State student responsibilities relating to homework time commitments and instructions for accessing missed work in course expectations/syllabus

Families

  • Provide a suitable, distraction-free environment in which to complete homework
  • Help develop effective routines and budgeting time for homework, studying, and long-term projects in order for students to meet homework completion dates
  • Ensure the assignment is worked on independently by the student, helping only if needed or if required by the assignment 
  • Encourage and/or help students to advocate for themselves when there are questions or to make up homework
  • Contact teacher if concerns regarding homework arise
  • Ensure a balance of activities including time for homework

Administrator

  • Review the established homework policy and guidelines with the teaching staff
  • Ensure that teaching staff is adhering to the homework guidelines
  • Communicate the policy and guidelines to families and the community
  • Support teaching staff with parent communication pertaining to the homework guidelines

The Role of Reading for Elementary and Middle School Students
Research shows that the volume of reading a student completes will correlate to greater academic achievement. Developing the habit of reading at home will improve a child’s vocabulary and communication skills, creating lifelong learners. Toward that end, teachers routinely assign nightly reading homework. Spending 20 minutes reading every night is an important part of your child’s literacy and overall academic development. This reading can take a variety of forms, including assigned reading in textbooks or other academic materials. Reading aloud to a child and discussing books is an important family routine that can begin before formal schooling and continue throughout the school years. Children at both the elementary and middle school levels need time for independent reading in books of their choice and at their reading level. Family discussion about a student’s independent reading supports literacy growth. 

The Role of Fact Fluency for Elementary Students
One of the most powerful things that can be done to influence a child’s math aptitude is to help them achieve math fact fluency. Children are fluent with math facts when recall is accurate and efficient. Studies have found that students who are fluent with math facts participate more in math class discussions and perform better on problem-solving tasks because they do not have to devote as much “brain power” to figuring out the math facts. Students with effective fact fluency have a greater likelihood of performing better with higher-order math concepts in older grades and are more confident in their academic abilities. Typically, these students also have less anxiety and fears about math. Just like sports, music, reading, or any other skill, a child’s fact fluency will not improve without consistent practice.

Average Homework Times (if homework is assigned):
Average homework times are not hard minimums or maximums. Some assignments and some students may require more or less than the amount of time indicated above. Study time for assessments or long term project work will be balanced with daily work.

KReading (to or with your child) for 20 minutesMath practice for 5-10 minutes
1-2Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutesMath practice for 5-10 minutesAdditional homework of up to 10 minutes
3-4Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutesMath practice for 5-10 minutesAdditional homework of up to 15 minutes
5Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutesMath practice for 5-10 minutesAdditional homework of up to 20 minutes 
6-8Approximately 60 minutes total per night
9-12Approximately 20-30 minutes per course per night
APApproximately 45 minutes per course per night


  • Please refer to the Student Handbook for policies with regard to missed homework due to absence
  • Advanced Placement (AP) classes may require additional hours. When selecting these courses, families and students should be mindful that self-discipline, judgment and the ability to manage time effectively will be necessary for success. AP courses will have summer homework to be completed prior to the school year
  • The amount of homework assigned on a weekend should not exceed that of a weeknight
  • Learning is a year-round process. However, families and students need the summer vacation time for other opportunities and therefore summer reading and other assignments should be meaningful and limited in scope. 
  • With the exception of AP level courses, the amount of homework that is assigned over December, February, and April breaks should not exceed that of a weeknight
  • Homework cannot be assigned during MCAS and ACCESS testing for those testing
  • Increased consideration and exemptions should be given for religious holidays and observances
  • Students can ask for an extension on an assignment with appropriate reasoning.
  • Giving an extension is up to the teacher’s discretion

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Photo courtesy

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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