• Click to read the Proposed Homework Policy Language.
    Click to read the Homework Policy Form.

    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. 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.

    During the 2018-2019 school 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. The students did an incredible job developing language and working with stakeholders to begin this conversation. 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. 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.

    We are seeking feedback from our broad array of community stakeholders. We encourage you as community members, parents, guardians, and/or families of our students to read the proposed policy (seen below) and offer feedback using the Google form (also below). 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.

    Thank you for your partnership in the important work of teaching and learning in Framingham!

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Tremblay

  • Proposed Homework Policy

    IKB - HOMEWORK

    What is homework?

    Homework is a meaningful and valuable tool that reinforces learning by providing practice outside of school. This helps students, teachers, and families understand what is being taught at school and what students need to work on. Homework can be differentiated to provide either enrichment or reinforcement for learners. It is designed to inform instruction and should be developmentally appropriate for students in terms of time, scope, and expectations in an effort to strike the needed balance between homework and time for students to engage in family, social, and other activities. Additionally, study time for assessments or long term project work will be balanced with daily work assigned by teachers.

    The Framingham Public Schools seeks to value family time by declaring no homework for all students during the Thanksgiving and December vacations. All students in grades K-8 will also have homework-free February and April breaks. High School students are expected to come to school prepared for class on the day following the vacation, for which any required homework would be typical of a one-night assignment and is a result of the rotating schedule with a dropped class. It should be noted that homework free vacations are not reading free vacations. Reading is always a worthwhile pursuit and is strongly encouraged as a daily habit for all students. It is encouraged that students at Framingham High School have homework-free breaks in February and April to the extent possible. It is acknowledged that this may make the pacing and learning of rigorous, complex content in certain courses (e.g., Advanced Placement) more difficult for students, but all teachers will only assign homework they deem absolutely necessary for course advancement. Vacations may also be an opportunity for students to complete missing work and catch up on assignments or studying.  

    Purpose: 

    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.    

    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.

    K

    Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutes

    Math practice for 5-10 minutes

    1-2

    Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutes

    Math practice for 5-10 minutes

    Additional homework of up to 10 minutes

    3-4

    Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutes

    Math practice for 5-10 minutes

    Additional homework of up to 15 minutes

    5

    Reading (to or with your child) for 20 minutes

    Math practice for 5-10 minutes

    Additional homework of up to 20 minutes 

    6-8

    Approximately 60 minutes total per night

    9-12

    Approximately 20-30 minutes per course per night

    AP

    Approximately 45 minutes per course per night


    Notes
    :

    • 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
    • Resource links will be incorporated into the Framingham Public Schools website

    Special thanks to the Framingham Action Civics Commission (ACC) who gave student voice to this work and to the Franklin Public Schools and other communities in the Commonwealth (e.g., Weston, Brookline, Foxboro, Wilmington, Millis, Lexington) who helped inform this policy and implementation guidelines.

    Franklin Public Schools Homework Study and Proposed Guidelines

    Vatterot, C. Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2009