Posted: June 16, 2017
*This letter was originally emailed to all Camas School District families on June 15, 2017*
As part of our 2020 Strategic Planning, two goals in the area of CARING specifically address our student learners in becoming lifelong learners.
- Provide differentiated instruction and a rich, aligned curriculum that drives student engagement, joy, and accountability, meeting high expectations through demonstrated achievement.
- Focus on the whole learner and lifelong learning by intentionally creating and sustaining programming which both emphasizes the joy of learning as well as instills hope for the future.
The Homework Committee, comprised of parents and staff members, recognizes that wanting all students to reach high academic standards, participate in extracurricular activities, and be involved in community can present a challenge. Fitting everything into the day given 6.5 hours of school, up to 1.5 hours of homework, activities, work, family time, etc., requires our community to be thoughtful about how to best support students.
In this ever-evolving, fast-paced world, there is concern for our students of being able to find balance and to develop a lifelong love of learning. The Homework Committee adopted a pilot policy, designed to engage staff during the 2016-17 school year with the goal of adopting a policy related to homework in the spring of 2017. During the 2016-17 school year, feedback was collected related to the pilot policy. Below are recommendations to be considered for adoption by the school board. Staff members are committed to ongoing analysis of homework practices to ensure that homework reflects achievement in classes and on assessments.
Policy 2422: Homework Philosophy
What is the purpose of homework?
The purpose of homework is to support learning that happens in school by giving students opportunities to prepare, practice, review, reflect or explore their learning.
How does homework best support student learning?
Homework supports student learning when it is assigned with a specific purpose. The purpose and structure for homework should be communicated to students and families. Homework should be used as a way to gather short-term formative, feedback on student learning progress not as a summative tool for assessment. Homework, beyond skills practice, should be assigned well before a due date to allow students to practice time-management skills and balance other activities and responsibilities. We recognize that a student’s environment differs outside of school and we strongly encourage students and parents to communicate with teachers and counselors to ensure that their homework load is manageable and enables a student to be successful. Opportunities before, during, and/or after school will be provided to assist students.
Time Limits, if homework is assigned:
Elementary School: Homework should normally not exceed 10 minutes per grade level in elementary school starting with 20 minutes in K/1/2 grades (example: 4th grade would have no more than 40 minutes of homework per day). The time limits would include any assigned reading, but not include choice reading.
Middle School: homework should normally not exceed 60 minutes per night. The limit would include any assigned reading, but not include choice reading.
High School: On average, homework shall not exceed 90 minutes per class per week. Students and parents should note that AP classes and accelerated classes may exceed the allotted time. Teachers encourage students to carefully assess their schedules to ensure they can meet the demands of an AP or accelerated course.
How can homework help develop school/family partnerships?
Schools and teachers will communicate to parents/guardians the purpose of homework, and will provide options for students who need homework support. Homework is a reflection of the learning that happens in class and provides an opportunity for families to engage with their student and the learning. There is recognition that each learner is unique as well as the support each learner has at home. It is important to consider equity when using homework as a tool to support student learning. Students may exceed time limits for assigned homework on their own because they love to read, create, practice, etc. This is certainly encouraged and supported, but not expected. If teachers determine a need to exceed time limits for assigned homework, it is the responsibility of the teacher to communicate with students and families the reason for the additional homework and to provide support for students who might struggle. Students and parents should note that homework expectations shall be communicated by teachers in syllabi and forecasting information. If a student or parent has a concern about homework load, they should contact the course instructor.
Thank you for sharing your students with us.