• New Paltz Central School District
    196 Main Street
    New Paltz, NY 12561

    Office (845) 256-4000

    Homework Guidelines

    Statement of the Purpose

    Purpose of the Guidelines


    Guidelines for Teachers  

     Guidelines for Parents


    1.      Statement of Purpose

    The New Paltz Central School District and School Community believe that homework plays an essential role in educating our students. In developing the homework policy, it is the intent of the Board to promote quality homework in all schools, for all students, by all teachers. Numerous studies conclude that additional benefits to achievement also result from homework. WHAT WORKS states, “Student achievement rises significantly when teachers regularly assign homework and students conscientiously do it.” The same study also states, “They (homework assignments) also teach students to be independent learners.”

    Homework gives students experience in following directions, making judgments and comparisons, raising additional questions for study, and developing responsibility and self-discipline. Homework provides students with opportunities to apply learning and experience necessary practice. It is also designed to develop a certain amount of independence among students and provide an opportunity for them to take personal responsibility for their own achievement.

    These beliefs were supported by other research findings published in WHAT WORKS. The report states, “well designed homework assignments relate directly to class work and extend students’ learning beyond the classroom” and that “homework is most useful when teachers carefully prepare the assignment, thoroughly explain it, and give prompt comments and criticism when work is completed.”

    To help assure reasonable consistency among schools and to assure that school homework policies conform to good educational practice and the board’s own policy, the following guidelines have been adopted by the Board of Education.
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    2. Purpose of the Guidelines

    ·        To provide specific guidelines on homework for teachers, parents, and students.

    ·        To help promote continuity and consistency with homework practices throughout the New Paltz Central School District.

    ·        To help promote and foster positive attitudes/experiences about homework.

    ·        To help new teachers/parents/students adjust to homework practices in the New Paltz Central School District and at each school.

    ·        To help increase the level of communication between home and school, especially as it relates to homework assignments.

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    3.      Philosophy

    In establishing a philosophy for homework, the following items were culled from the research and considered.

    ·        To reinforce school activities.

    ·        To extend/broaden school activities.

    ·        To provide drill/practice for specific skills.

    ·        To complete unfinished tasks.

    ·        To provide parents with an opportunity to become involved in the child’s learning.

    ·        To promote/foster regular study habits in children.

    The New Paltz Central School District fully realizes that homework activities are but one source of learning experiences for the children outside of the school day. The extracurricular involvement (both within and outside school) of our district’s children is high. Each of these activities provides children with educational experiences to enhance their growth and educational development.

          Teachers in the district also fully realize the uniqueness of each child in the school and his/her needs. Whereas the guidelines in this policy are based on the “average” primary and elementary child, individual differences among children must be taken into consideration by parents and teachers. The importance of clear and concise communication between home and school cannot be over-emphasized and is recognized as critically important.

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    4.      Guidelines for Teachers

    ·        Homework should be assigned with specific instructional purposes and related to the classroom activities, themes, objectives etc.

    ·        All teachers of a particular class {ie., regular classroom teacher, special education teacher(s), music teachers, physical education teacher, etc.} should be aware of the homework tasks assigned to students to ensure “overload” does not occur.

    ·        Homework tasks should be appropriate to students’ levels of achievement and individual differences in ability must be considered. Expectations for homework tasks must then be adapted accordingly.

    ·        Teachers should be cognizant of factors such as extra curricular activities, home/family support, and children’s interests in assigning tasks.

    ·        All tasks should be explained clearly, keeping in mind the varying ability levels of children within a class. Whenever applicable, concise written instructions would ensure parents have a clear understanding of the tasks involved.

    ·        It is recommended that homework planners/notebooks be used to record daily homework tasks. (This is especially helpful from grade two and beyond). Regular checks of these planners is essential. Parental review of the planner each evening is strongly recommended.

    ·        Homework should be collected by the teacher, graded, and returned in a timely fashion.

    ·        The following time frames are given as a guideline for assigning homework tasks:

        Grade Level               Recommended Guidelines

        Kindergarten                       15 minutes

    Grade 1                              30 minutes

    Grade 2                              45 minutes

    Grade 3                              60 minutes

    Grade 4                              75 minutes

    Grade 5                              90 minutes

    Grade 6                              20-30 minutes per course

    Grade 7                              20-30 minutes per course

    Grade 8                              30 minutes per course

    Grade 9                              30 minutes per course

    Grade 10                            30-40 minutes per course

    Grade 11                            30-45 minutes per course

    Grade 12                            30-45 minutes per course

    ·        A clear statement of expectations for homework at each grade level should be included in the parent packages given at Parent Orientations. Such expectations could include, for example:

    -the correcting of errors in homework tasks

                - expectations for neatness

    -the use of manuscript vs. cursive writing

    ·        When homework assignments are consistently not being completed, parental contact is essential (phone calls, notes in planners, etc). An appropriate plan of action should be developed between the student, parent, and teacher. This plan should be appropriate to the child’s needs and home influences.

    ·        Time should be made each day for students to record homework tasks and prepare materials for homework assignments. When two or more teachers are involved, consistent routines for recording homework are essential. Students need to be aware of the expectations of all teachers involved.

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    5.      Guidelines for Parents

    The homework component of the policy has the following key guidelines:

    ·        Homework should be well planned, age-appropriate and provide meaningful opportunity for learning enhancement or skill practice.

    ·        Schools are expected to develop policies that define the amount of homework expected at different grade levels. The intent is to provide students with regular, meaningful homework.

    ·        Teachers are expected to coordinate homework assignments so that on average a student’s homework falls within the expected time frame. This may mean that different teachers are assigning homework on different nights. Despite efforts to coordinate homework, there may be times that a student’s homework may exceed or be less than the expected average. Honors, TAG, and other advanced classes may require more homework than the expected time frame.

    ·        Homework may be varied where appropriate to provide support for learning differences.

    ·        Guided practice in the classroom may be a useful methodology, however, guided practice should not replace homework to be completed outside of the classroom.

    ·        Homework expectations should be clearly shared with students and parents through communications such as parent letters, rubrics, assignment guidelines.

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