The Falmouth School Committee reaffirms its belief in the Massachusetts laws governing compulsory school attendance and the responsibility of parents, guardians and students to comply with these laws. State law requires full time attendance for all students under the age of 16 for the entire school day throughout the school year. Excessive absences or tardiness that affects a child’s progress at school may result in legal action in the form of charges of Child Abuse and Neglect (M.G.L. c. 51A) or Child Requiring Assistance (CRA – M.G.L. c. 119). The Child Requiring Assistance statute defines a “child requiring assistance” as a child “who repeatedly fails to obey the lawful and reasonable regulations of the child’s school or is habitually truant.” M.G.L. c. 119, § 21. “Habitually truant” is defined as a “school-aged child, not excused from attendance under the lawful and reasonable regulations of such child’s school, who willfully fails to attend school for more than 8 school days in a quarter.” M.G.L. c. 119, § 21. In accordance with this statute, the Morse Pond School abides by the procedure outlined previously in this document in relation to excessive absenteeism.
As a District, the Falmouth Public Schools recognizes that meaningful and relevant homework reinforces instruction. We collectively define homework as work assigned by a teacher to be completed outside of class time; homework may include both short- and long-term assignments. We recognize that homework helps to expand academic achievement and responsibility while reinforcing or extending learning. Our teachers design homework with three intentions: preparation, practice, and extension.
Intentions of Homework
- PREPARATION: exposure to a topic as an introduction to new concepts and ideas; such assignments may include reading, studying, and other assignments that do not result in a submittable product but are essential to continued learning.
- PRACTICE: an opportunity for students to strengthen skills and concepts taught in the classroom by repeating them through continued learning opportunities related to the in-class instruction.
- EXTENSION: an opportunity for students to apply, synthesize, problem solve, and/or transfer newly acquired skills to other situations and contexts.
In addition to the forms of homework outlined above, students are also assigned longer-term projects from time to time. Such assignments extend skills and concepts taught in the classroom. Class time should be allotted for students to research and work on their project. Time spent outside of class on projects should be part of, not in addition to, routine homework. Timelines should be clearly stated and include interim checkpoints. Projects should reflect the work of students.
Grades 1 - 2 Occasional assignments each week, each on a separate night and each having a meaningful connection to learning and lasting no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
Grades 3 - 4 Occasional assignments each week that require no more than 45 minutes of homework on a weeknight.
Grades 5 - 6 Occasional assignments each week that require no more than 60 minutes of homework on a weeknight.
Grades 7 - 8 Up to 90 minutes of homework each night on several evenings throughout the week.
Grades 9 - 12 The courses in which students enroll at Falmouth High School provide an array of opportunities and challenges. Likewise, courses each fall into one of five credit designations: undesignated, college preparatory 1 (CP1), college preparatory 2 (CP2), honors (H), and advanced placement (AP). Each designation bears its own homework expectations:
Undesignated, CP1 & CP2 Average of 30 minutes per evening per course several times throughout the week.
Honors Average of 45 minutes per evening per course several times throughout the week.
AP Average of 60 minutes per evening per course several times throughout the week.
Upon returning to school after a period of absences, a student has a length of time equal to the number of school days absent to make up missed work. A student not making up the work in the allotted time will receive a failing mark for the work not made up. Previously announced assignments/tests must be completed upon return. The responsibility is on the student to meet with the teacher to determine when the assignment/test is to be made up.
If any extenuating circumstances exist, the parent/guardian should contact the assistant principal or the guidance counselor. The assistant principal and/or guidance counselor will consult with teacher, department head, the assistant principal, and principal when necessary.
This effort must be coordinated among the schools, educators, families, and students.
An Educator expects a Student will...
- Record homework assignments in an agenda or similar system for recording assignments and self-monitoring progress;
- Make a legitimate effort to complete the homework assignment neatly and to the best of their ability or advocate for clarification and/or assistance when needed;
- Manage time and submit all assignments when due, including long-term assignments provided in advance of an absence;
- When making course selections, consider ability to realistically complete assignments in a healthy manner.
An Educator expects a Parent/Guardian will...
- Establish homework as a priority;
- Assist their child in designating (and organizing) a space in which to complete assignments;
- Support their child in developing independent time management and work habits by monitoring and assisting as needed;
- Communicate with an educator if their child experiences difficulty completing homework in the suggested time;
- Provide limited assistance on assignments to ensure that the student’s work is their own.
A Parent/Guardian and Student expect an Educator will...
- Assign homework assignments that are meaningful and provide independent practice of skills taught or enrichment of content taught in class;
- Announce, repeat, and remind their classes about short-term and long-term assignments that require time out of class for completion;
- Communicate to families and students how homework will be evaluated;
- Check homework consistently and provide timely feedback to students.
If you are going to be absent for travel, your parent or guardian should notify the principal’s office one week in advance. Students will be expected to make up missed assignments and classroom work within a reasonable amount of time after as defined by school procedures. The school district discourages students from leaving school for travel because our time with students is so valuable and school vacations are well placed at intervals. Our experience is that providing assignments to be done during vacation is not productive and undermines both the quality of the work and the quality of travel. Therefore, we do not require teachers to design this work in advance. Alternatives may be recommended.
When your child arrives late to school, please escort your child into the main office and let our front office know that your child is late. Your child will be given a pass to proceed to their classroom. Students having excessive tardiness will receive a letter of warning. Excessive tardiness will be identified as five or more days. Before letters are sent, the student's record will be reviewed with the nurse and the classroom teacher to determine if there are special circumstances effecting tardiness. The letter will indicate that the next tardy will result in a detention. A meeting with the student and the counselor will occur. After the detention is served, the tardiness count will go to zero, allowing the student to improve their record. If tardiness continues and reaches an additional five days, a second detention will be issued, indicated by a letter and a call home. After serving the second detention, the student's tardiness will continue to result in detentions. A meeting with parents will be requested.
Cheating to complete assignments or tests is a serious violation of school rules. The major forms of cheating are plagiarism and test dishonesty. (Also refer to Honor Code found within this handbook.)
Plagiarism is copying another’s work and submitting it as if it were the original work of the student. Whether the source is copyrighted or not, printed or recorded, or a paper used by another student, if it is used without recognizing the author, plagiarism exists. Academic honesty and respect of copyright laws are also required in use of computer information downloaded from another source. If you have any questions, check with your teacher prior to completion of the assignment.
Test Dishonesty is the use of any means not specifically accepted by the teacher to obtain answers to a test or quiz. Test dishonesty includes giving, receiving, passing or using in any way information about a test or quiz, whether in oral or written form.
Any student found to have been academically dishonest will receive a zero grade on the work in question. The teacher must provide in writing, the student’s name and summary of the incident to the principal or designee. Teacher and/or administrator will notify parent or guardian. Any academic distinctions received will be rescinded, if due process procedures uphold the finding of academic dishonesty.