Academic Resources

Homework Guidelines

The Schalmont Central School District and school community believe that homework plays a critical role in teaching and learning. It also provides an excellent opportunity for parents to become aware of their child’s daily academic experiences.

The purpose of homework is to strengthen academic skills and reinforce concepts taught by teachers. Its value is borne out in a variety of research studies. Appropriately assigned homework not only improves student achievement, but it also develops time management skills, self-discipline, independence, personal responsibility, and the ability to follow directions and prioritize.

The intent of this document is to promote sound homework practices and identify the responsibilities of teachers in their role of assigning appropriate homework, students in their role of doing homework and parents in their role of encouraging and supporting their children.

Parent’s Role and Responsibilities

It is the parent’s role to reinforce the importance of homework and encourage home completion in a timely manner. Parents need to monitor their child’s homework. If parents set rules within their home that define where, when and under what conditions their child needs to complete their work, the task becomes more routine and less cumbersome. It is essential that parents provide guidance for their child, not answers. Parents are encouraged to find out more specifics about individual teachers’ procedures and requirements when a child is absent.

Homework Tips for Parents

  • Express to your child the importance of a good education and the value of doing homework.
  • Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework. Make this location a permanent one.
  • Watch your child for signs of frustration. Suggest a short break and then return to the task.
  • If your child is struggling to complete an assignment, you may need to contact your child’s teacher.
  • At various times during the school year, positively reinforce how well your child is doing.

Student’s Role and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the student to record their homework assignments. Students are encouraged to seek clarification about homework assignments they feel are unclear. It is their responsibility to complete homework and return at the time it is due. Students at all levels who are experiencing difficulty with their homework are encouraged to seek help from their teachers.

It is incumbent on parents in the early grades and students themselves as they mature to request homework assignments missed based on absences. Students who are ill may take it upon themselves to complete homework while staying home, depending upon the illness.

Teacher’s Role and Responsibilities

Teachers are responsible for assigning meaningful homework to all students and for providing the necessary explanation and direction required so that students can accomplish the work with reasonable success. Teachers will be mindful of students with limited resources, like internet access in the home, and will provide suggestions for how students might accomplish these assignments in school. Students receiving special education or related services will be given appropriate homework assignments on a regular basis. Homework will be checked and proper feedback given to students.

Middle School and High School teachers have built into their schedules a time period of 2:30-3:15 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, whereby students may request and receive help related to classwork and/or homework.

Teachers need to be cognizant that students’ illnesses may preclude them from completing and returning homework immediately following their sick days. Students may need an extended defined period of time established by the teacher to complete work that was assigned during their illness.

Amount of Homework

The following chart suggests the amount of time to be spent on homework at each grade level. There is flexibility in all of these times that are stated based on the fact that individual students complete work at different rates. A significant number of students prefer to complete a portion of their homework in school during study halls or other times that are available during school. Some children prefer to complete assigned homework in advance if they know they have other commitments beyond the school day such as sports competitions or family celebrations. Long-term projects require some homework scheduling on the part of the student, knowing that other assignments need to be completed, as well.

To promote consistency and fairness, these are guidelines for the amount of time; however, teachers may vary in their beliefs and system for assigning work. For example, some teachers choose not to assign work over the weekend or during holiday periods.

  • Kindergarten: 10 minutes per school weekday
  • First Grade: 20 minutes per school weekday
  • Second Grade: 30 minutes per school weekday
  • Third Grade: 40 minutes per school weekday
  • Fourth Grade: 50 minutes per school weekday
  • Fifth Grade: One hour per school weekday
  • Sixth through Eighth Grade: 5 to 8 hours per school week
  • Ninth through Twelfth Grade: 6 to 10 hours per school week

These time frames do not include recreational reading. Also, some teachers may assign a specific amount of additional time for reading.

Reading—An Important Activity in Conjunction with Homework

Homework often involves a reading assignment with follow up questions related to the comprehension of the material assigned. How often do teachers and parents emphasize the need to read an entire passage before answering any questions? This logical procedure is often not the process followed by the student. Both teachers and parents need to reinforce the appropriate strategy for completing homework. It is a process students need to follow not only to better their comprehension skills but also to prepare them for standardized testing.

Most importantly, reading for pleasure in itself is an extremely important pastime that has a great impact on a student’s success. Children are able to get public library cards at a very young age. The research is clear that students who read regularly are more successful in school. It is important for teachers and parents to continually encourage students to read more and often.

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Academic Intervention Services

Schalmont’s Academic Intervention Services Plan was developed to meet the requirements of Section 100.2 (ee) revisions to Part 100 of the Commissioner’s Regulations and adopted by the Schalmont Board of Education. This regulation requires school districts to provide Academic Intervention Services to students who score below the state performance level on state assessments and/or who are at risk of not achieving the state learning standards. The plan is reviewed regularly.

The process for this review was the establishment of a district-wide committee with subsequent meetings occurring at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

II. Definition

AIS are services designed to help students achieve the learning standards in English language arts and mathematics in grades K-12 and social studies and science in grades 4-12.

These services include two components:

Additional academic instruction that supplements the general curriculum (regular classroom instruction) and/or student support services needed to address barriers to improve academic performance such as discipline problems, attendance problems, health issues, family issues, mobility, etc.
AIS is intended to provide students with specialized instruction which means the provision of extra time for focused instruction and/or increased student-teacher instructional contact time designed to help students achieve learning standards in English, math, social studies and science.

III. Eligibility

Students who score below the designated performance levels:

  • Elementary and Intermediate Levels (students who score below Level 3 on the 4th-grade math, 4th grade ELA, 4th-grade science, 5th-grade social studies, 8th grade ELA, 8th-grade math, 8th-grade science, and 8th-grade social studies)
  • Commencement level (students who score below 55 % on five required Regents for graduation. (English 11, Math A, Global History, U.S. History, and one Science)
  • Students at risk of not meeting the state standards as indicated through district adopted or approved procedures
  • LEP/ELL (Limited English Proficient/English Language Learner) students who do not achieve the CR Part 154 standards.

IV. District Procedures for Academic and Support Services K-12

The Schalmont AIS plan outlines procedures for identifying students for AIS in grades K-12 where there are no state assessments. This plan assures that multiple measures of assessment and other sources of evidence will be used in the identifications of students to be served. These may include but not be limited to: student records, report cards grades, classroom participation, diagnostic assessment, teacher/counselor/social worker recommendations, parent referrals, and student projects or tests of demonstrated technical quality.

The Schalmont Central School District has identified:

1. Behaviors (which students are in need of AIS based on their learning behaviors)
2. Assessment Measures Used (to determine eligibility)
3. Criteria for Beginning AIS
4. Types of AIS Provided (academic or support services)
5. Records/Intensity of Service
6. Procedures for Parent Notification
7. Criteria for Ending AIS

V. Parental Contact and Involvement

The building principal is responsible for notifying parents of children who are to receive AIS. The notification includes:

  • A summary of services to be provided
  • The reason the student needs services
  • The consequences of not achieving expected performance levels

Parents are also notified in writing when the AIS services are ended. This notification includes criteria for ending service and the performance levels obtained on district selected assessments.

Parents receive quarterly progress reports during the regular school year. These reports vary in delivery, i.e., interim reports, phone calls, conference reports, report cards or individual reports and by level. For parents of ESL/ELL students, the district makes accommodations for translation of the report into their native language.

Parents may obtain information on ways they can support their child’s learning by working with their child, monitoring their child’s progress and working collaboratively with staff members providing AIS.

VI. Management and Coordination of Services

The Schalmont Central School District offers AIS in the areas of academic instruction as well as support services. Appropriate staff at the building level make recommendations for the eligibility and frequency and intensity of services.

At the elementary level this determination of eligibility, monitoring and service delivery will be coordinated by the child study team in cooperation with teachers, social workers, and counselors, reading teachers, and administrators.

At the middle and high school levels the determination of eligibility, monitoring and service delivery will be coordinated by each academic department as well as social workers, and counselors, reading teachers and administrators.

This plan is intended to provide a general description of AIS for students in the district k-12. Subcommittees of the district committee have reviewed the AIS specific to the levels of elementary, middle school and high school. Each level, elementary, middle and high school will determine:

  • The number of students receiving AIS within each grade level,
  • The range of performance levels of eligible students as determined by state assessments, and
  • Staffing needs, instructional approaches and scheduling options required to meet the needs of students as required by AIS. 

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Response to Intervention

NYS Regulations define Response to Intervention (RTI) as a school district’s process to determine if a student responds to scientific, research-based instruction. Effective July 1, 2012, all school districts in NYS must have an RTI program in place as part of its evaluation process to determine if a student in grades K-4 is a student with a learning disability in the area of reading. (NYSED, 2009)

The New York State Education Department has encouraged all school districts in the state (NYS) to take timely actions to implement RTI programs in its schools. At Schalmont, we initiated an RTI Steering Committee in September 2008 establishing a springboard for our upcoming RTI efforts. The committee thoroughly researched various RTI models, theories, and programs.

RTI is primarily an instructional framework and philosophy, the goals and objectives of which include early intervention for students who struggle to attain or maintain grade-level performance. It is an ongoing process of using student performance and other data to guide instructional and intervention decisions. Since there is great variability in individual response rates to instruction among children, carefully selecting and implementing scientifically-based instructional interventions increases the likelihood that a student will be the most successful at grade level. An additional bonus of the RTI model is that student strengths are also uncovered and can be utilized is peer tutoring situations.

RTI derives its name from the very practice of offering interventions provided by the general education teacher, such as additional instruction or small group instruction, and then systematically evaluating the child’s response. Interventions can also be delivered as supplemental instruction provided by other trained interventionists within the school.

Successful implementation of RTI involves three important components: universal screening; multiple layers or “tiers” of instruction, intervention, and support; and progress monitoring (an integrated data collection and assessment system to inform decision making). Implementation of these core components of RTI can build upon existing practices and procedures.

Interventions are targeted instruction based on student needs. They are designed to be coordinated with the curriculum provided in general education. Interventions are based on assessed student skill deficit, targeted to address specific and discrete skill deficits, intended to be short-term, explicit instruction, monitored frequently to document and ensure progress, and lastly, are revised as necessary based on student performance. In RTI, interventions are provided at three instructional levels: Tiers I, II, and III.

If a student continues to struggle despite targeted instruction at the Tier III level, he or she may be referred to the Committee on Special Education for an evaluation to determine if the student has a disability under IDEA. At this time, the documentation of RTI efforts becomes an important component of the evaluation. Should a student then qualify for special education services, he or she will then be eligible for the supports and accommodations provided to students with disabilities for purposes of leveling the academic playing field.

RTI Resource Links

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Learning Standards

On Sept. 11, 2017, the Board of Regents adopted the Next Generation Learning Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These standards replace the controversial Common Core Learning Standards and will be rolled out slowly over the next few years in order to provide adequate time for professional development and curriculum design.

The Next Generation Learning Standards detail what students should know and be able to do at each grade level; they do not require school districts to follow any specific curriculum.

The timeline for the roll-out is as follows:

2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years: The annual two-day assessments for ELA and math will continue to be based on the current (Common Core) standards; professional development for educators will be offered on Next Generation Learning Standards.
September 2020: All schools will be required to fully implement the Next Generation Standards in all classroom instruction.
Spring 2021: The state will release new annual assessments that measure student achievement on the Next Generation Standards. Tests will no longer be based on Common Core standards.
According to the New York State Education Department, the new learning standards clarify vague and/or confusing wording that appeared in the Common Core Learning Standards. For example, in the new ELA standards, reading expectations at each grade level have been described using language that’s easier for educators and parents to understand as compared with the language used in the Common Core Learning Standards. Changes in the math standards include moving some standards to different/more appropriate grade levels. In addition, the new high school-level math standards are listed under the actual course name (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II), rather than being arranged by grade level.

In addition, the Next Generation standards are intended to address criticisms that the previous (Common Core) standards were not appropriate for the youngest students, English language learners and students with disabilities. The State Education Department also created an early-learning standards introduction to provide more in-depth guidance on implementing the standards in grades pre-K through 2, including developmentally appropriate practices that encourage learning through play. This introduction also includes tips for working with such populations as students with disabilities, English language/multilingual learners and those with diverse cultural backgrounds.

The new standards are the result of a two-year collaborative revision process, during which more than 130 teachers, administrators, parents, higher education representatives and other stakeholders reviewed each (Common Core) standard and suggested modifications based on their own experiences and on public comments and additional reviews from researchers and content specialists.

The next steps in this process will include NYSED working with BOCES, teacher centers, etc. to design professional development opportunities for teachers to implement the new standards. The State Education Department also expects to develop communications tools for parents about the standards and additional educational resources focused on working with English language learners and students with disabilities.

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Report Cards and Testing Schedule

Schalmont distributes report cards throughout the year for the elementary, middle and high school levels as well as progress reports four times per year for grades 6-12 students.

In the middle school, report cards are given to students in homeroom, except for the final report card in June or July, which is mailed home. Progress reports for students in grades 6-12 are now distributed online through the district’s highly secure Parent Portal.

The Parent Portal provides registered parents/guardians of all students in kindergarten through twelfth-grade with access to their child’s attendance information by period, schedule, report card grades, interim reports, and more!

Testing Schedule

Schalmont students take a number of exams every year:  NYS Exams, Regents Exams, Local Exams, and AP Exams. The New York State Education Department mandates that all public school districts give state tests in English language arts, math, and science to students in grades 3-8. High School Regents Exams are held in January, June, and August.

College entrance exam information

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Home School Information

From time to time, parents will choose to instruct their children at home. Although New York State law does not recognize home schools as private elementary or secondary schools, the school district will attempt to cooperate with parents who wish to provide homeschooling for their children realizing that the child who is educated at home should receive an education in a manner consistent with an educational plan and at least substantially equivalent to that given to students of like age and attainments in the local public schools. The required subjects should be taught in a competent, systematic, and sequential manner, specifically in relation to the required courses as enumerated in Commissioner’s Regulation Section 100.10.

Primary responsibility for determining compliance with Commissioner’s Regulations addressing home instruction rests with the Superintendent of Schools of the school district in which a home-instructed student resides.

Provision of Services to Home-Instructed Students

They are not awarded a high school diploma. A high school diploma may only be awarded to a student enrolled in a registered secondary school who has completed all program requirements set by the Board of Regents, the school or the district.

a) Extracurricular Participation

Students instructed at home are not eligible to participate in interscholastic sports.  Commissioner’s Regulations mandate that only students enrolled in the public school are allowed to participate in interscholastic sports. Further, the district does not permit home-instructed students to participate in any extracurricular activities.

b) Textbooks and Materials

The district is not required to loan available textbooks and other materials  (e.g.,  library materials, microscopes, computer software, movie projectors) to home-instructed students. However, the school district shall provide home-instructed students with such textbooks, not including consumables, and materials.

c) Health Services

The school district is not required to furnish health services.

d) Remedial Programs

The district is not responsible for providing remedial programs.

e) Career and Technical/Gifted Education

The district is not authorized to provide Occupational and Vocational Education programs (career and technical education) nor programs for the Gifted to home-instructed students.

f) Special Education Services

The district is not authorized to provide individualized education program (IEP) services to home- instructed students as home schools are not recognized in New York State as private elementary or secondary schools pursuant to Section 3602-c of the Education Law.

While the Public School District may not provide special education services to students that are homeschooled, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) of the Public School District must, if parental consent is obtained, conduct an individual evaluation of a homeschooled student and who is suspected of having a disability and develop an IEP for such child, which would be the District’s offer of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student if the parents choose to enroll their child in a public or private school. However, the parents of a homeschooled student may refuse consent to an initial evaluation and, if they do so or if they do not respond to a request for such consent, the School District may not seek to compel the parent to have their child evaluated to determine eligibility for special education services.

g) Use of School Facilities

Students instructed at home shall not be allowed to use school facilities, except as provided for community organizations in Policy #3280 — Use of School Facilities, Materials, and Equipment.

h) Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment is not permitted.  Furthermore, no other forms of dual enrollment are available, such as participation in teams or school bands.

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