Handbook » OMS Parent Student Handbook - Scholastic Information

OMS Parent Student Handbook - Scholastic Information

Overlook Middle School

Parent-Student Handbook


Scholastic Information

Homework Guidelines


Homework is an integral part of Overlook Middle School’s academic and enrichment programs.  The faculty and staff at Overlook believe that the purpose of homework is to provide students with opportunities to extend classroom lessons and to transfer specific skills and concepts to new situations.  In addition, homework is designed to develop personal responsibility, self-discipline, and effective study habits.  As with all instructional activities, homework assignments should be meaningful, relevant and grade appropriate.  Homework assignments will increase in both length and scope as the student progresses from grade 6 to grade 8.  (Nightly homework should be approximately 60 minutes in grade 6 with an additional 30 minutes added each year.)  Students at Overlook are required to keep daily assignment books and write down homework in each class.  Completing homework and assignment preparation is essential for students to become successful learners.  Students are expected to submit their homework by the announced due date.  

Purpose of Homework Assignments


Homework assignments should fulfill one or more of the following:

  •   Drill and practice to reinforce and strengthen skills introduced in the classroom,
  •   Purposeful reading of assigned literature or text materials,
  •   Research activities,
  •   Work on reports or projects,
  •   Study for tests and quizzes.       

Projects and Reports


Long range assignments including projects and reports can provide students with valuable opportunities to integrate a variety of skills and concepts into a single assignment.  Book reports, research projects, interdisciplinary projects, written reports, and studying for tests and quizzes take careful planning and organization on the part of students.  Parental support is essential for student success.  Such assignments should include specific written directions for the student including due dates, purpose, expectations, and procedures.

Team Planning


Team teachers will communicate to ensure that students are not faced with several different projects, lengthy assignments, or major tests at the same time.

Amount of Homework


Parents should recognize that the amount of homework assigned to students generally increases as the student progresses through our school.  While it is not possible to establish rigid time limits, homework for grades 6, 7, and 8 may range between 60 and 120 minutes.

Late Homework


It is the student’s responsibility to see that homework assignments are handed in or ready to be checked on the due date assigned by the teacher.  Students whose homework is incomplete on the assigned due date may be subject to the following:

  • After school detention for makeup work,
  • Partial credit for assignment.


It is not the responsibility of a teacher or teaching team to provide parents and students with a list of missing assignments for students who choose not to do homework during or at the end of a term.  Homework is most often an immediate need that reinforces a skill learned that day or prepares a student for the next day’s lesson.  To make up assignments days or weeks later serves little or no purpose and interferes with current daily lessons.

Students may be granted an extension for an assignment due to extenuating circumstances if requested in writing by a parent or guardian.  Teachers will keep parents notified of any student’s lack of effort in preparing homework either through progress reports, phone calls home, or report card comments.


Make-up work


If a student will be missing school for a period of time the office should be given advance notice in writing.  Prior to the student’s departure, it is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for the timely completion of any missed assignments.  Upon the student’s return, it is the student’s responsibility to make up missed assignments in a period deemed appropriate by the team and enrichment teachers.  If your child is going to be out of school for two or more days, due to illness, parents may call the office before 9:00 am to have homework available by 2:00 pm. Students and parents are encouraged to check Google Classroom(s) for homework assignments.

School Vacations


The faculty and staff at Overlook feel very strongly that school vacations should be a time for families to spend together, and therefore will not assign homework assignments that are due immediately following the three school vacation weeks (December, February, and April Break).  However, long-range assignments may necessarily need to be assigned over these time periods.

Weekend Homework


Any homework that is assigned over a weekend should model the time commitment of one average weekday homework assignment.  The purpose of any weekend assignment is to maintain student focus on class work in preparation for the following day’s lesson.

On-Line Grading


In an effort to increase parental involvement and student accountability, parents will have access to view teachers’ grade books through Rediker. They will be able to view assignments and grades as teachers enter them. Typically, assignment grades will be entered into Rediker approximately two weeks from the date an assignment is collected. Please keep in mind that assignment grades will be posted within a reasonable time frame with the understanding that the time required to grade assignments will vary greatly depending on the nature of the class and complexity of the assessment.

Report Cards


Report Cards:  Issued in November, January, April and June.  Student grades are issued as follows:

Category Grades Numerical equivalents    
Outstanding A+,A, A- A+  97-100 A  93-96 A-  90-92
Above Average B+, B, B- B+  87-89 B  83-86 B-  80-82
Average C+, C, C- C+  77-79 C  73-76 C-  70-72
Below Average D+, D, D- D+  67-69 D  63-66 D-  60-62
Failing F Below 60    
Incomplete INC      
Medical Excuse MED      
No Grade NG      
Passing P      




In case of incomplete course work, the following applies:

  • Students with incompletes are not eligible for after school activities;
  • Incompletes are given to students who have had issues ie: medical, that have prevented them from attending school for extended periods of time;
  • Each team or enrichment teacher will decide on completion dates for make-up work.  If work is not completed on time, the incomplete becomes a failing grade.

Honor Roll


The Honor Roll exists to recognize academic achievement. Honor Roll eligibility for grades 6, 7, and 8 is as follows:

High Honors... All A’s 

Honors…. All A’s and B’s 

Promotion and Retention



The Ashburnham-Westminster School Committee is dedicated to providing the best total and continuous developmental program for each individual enrolled in its schools.  The professional staff is expected to place students at the grade level best suited to them academically, socially, and emotionally.  Students will normally progress annually from grade to grade.  However, exceptions may be made when, in the judgment of the professional staff, such exceptions are in the best educational interest of the student involved.

Exceptions to this annual promotion may include these:

  •   retention,
  •   conditional promotion involving summer school,
  •   transfer,
  •   placement in available special remedial programs.

Criteria for Promotion and Retention


The ultimate criteria in determining whether a student should be promoted or retained is whether that student has the basic skills necessary to function effectively at the next grade level.  This is an educational decision and should be made by the professional staff.  Other factors to be considered in the placement of a student will be:

  •   age,
  •   past performance,
  •   academic aptitude,
  •   social and emotional maturity,
  •   prediction of success,
  •   results of standardized tests,
  •   health and attendance records.