School Policies » Homework Policy

Homework Policy

Our overall philosophy: Teachers assign homework with the intention of engaging students meaningfully. Doing important work in advance of a lesson enables students to have an overall understanding of the topic. Once they have this foundational knowledge, teachers can then drill down with analysis and primary sources in class. It both brings learning to a higher level and offers more enjoyment of the subject. In order to achieve this goal in class, it is necessary for students to complete the homework by the deadlines set. If a student has a situation that requires leniency, that is fine; teachers here know that sometimes deadlines cannot be met. Keep in contact with teachers, and hopefully, missing deadlines is an infrequent occurrence. If it continues, let's work together with the guidance office to find a plan that works. 


Townsend Harris High School Homework Policy


  1. Assigning Homework
  • All homework assignments will be announced and explained during class. Explanations will include expectations for submission (physical submissions vs. online submissions).
  • On any given day, students should leave class knowing any work that has been assigned and when it is due. Students should use an organizational tool of their choice to make note of the assignment (a planner, an app, a Google doc, etc.). 
  • No homework can be assigned online after class time and be due the next day without teachers first introducing the assignment and explaining it during class.
  • Online assignments that have been announced and explained during class must be posted by teachers (on platforms such as Google Classroom) by 3:30PM for any assignment due the next day. 
  • Online assignments should contain clear directions and have a defined due date/time.
  • Teachers can only assign homework to be due on days that the class meets.
  • Teachers should assign long term assignments (labs, research, projects, essays, etc.) at least one week in advance and provide students with the related rubrics/expectations at that time. Due dates for these long term assignments should adhere to the rules for assigning homework (so, it should be assigned and explained in class, posted in advance, etc.). These assignments should also not be given in addition to a homework assignment (so if a teacher assigns a project, it should be due the day that homework is normally due for that teacher’s class, and the teacher should not also assign a separate homework assignment due that day).
  • Homework should not be assigned during breaks/vacations. Long term assignments assigned near a break should be assigned at least one week before a break begins and can be due no earlier than three days after the break ends.
  1. Completing Homework
  • Students should expect to spend around 20 minutes on assignments for non-AP courses and around 30 minutes on assignments for AP courses (around 2-3 hours a night).
    • Note: Nightly reading assignments exist outside of the 20-minute homework expectation. Students should read regularly and should budget how much time they need each night to keep up with reading assignments. 
      • For any extended reading assignments, teachers will provide a clear schedule/guidance in advance to help students break down reading into manageable portions spread out across multiple days. 
  • If students find that they repeatedly spend more than three and a half hours a night completing homework (or that reading assignments significantly extend their homework beyond a manageable timeframe), they should consult their teachers or guidance counselor for support.
  1. Submitting Homework
  • All homework handed in physically is due at that start of class.
  • For online assignments, all teachers will set 8AM (the start of school) as the universal deadline for submitting online assignments (including long term assignments due online). No assignment can be due at 11:59PM, or any other time besides 8AM.  
    • For example, consider students in a Band 6 class (which starts at 11:33AM). A teacher who assigns an online assignment due the next day on Google Classroom must describe the assignment in class, post the assignment no later than 3:30PM that day, and set the due time for 8AM the following day. The assignment is due when a student’s time at home ends and school begins (8AM).*
  • *The only exception to the 8AM rule is for Zero Band classes. Online assignments for Zero Band Classes must be due at 7AM.
  1. Making Up Homework
  • Students who are absent should have one additional school day to complete homework assignments they were unable to turn in while absent (for example, a student who returns to class on Tuesday should have until Wednesday to submit work they missed while absent). 
  • Students with extenuating circumstances (family/medical emergencies, religious observances, etc.) should communicate to their teacher/guidance counselor to determine what to make up and to receive a fair timeframe for making work up.
  1. Addressing Homework Concerns
  • If a student feels that they are in a course where the above expectations are not followed, they should speak to their teacher and/or guidance counselor to address the discrepancy between the teacher’s practices and these expectations. If the issue persists, the student and a parent/guardian should contact the subject supervisor and copy communications to the assistant principal of guidance and the parent coordinator. If the issue persists after that, the student/family should contact the principal.
  1. How Parents Can Support Students
  • Students need help adequately managing their time. We understand that by high school it is preferable that young people need less oversight, but when it comes to time management and sleeping patterns, they still need you to keep a watchful eye.
  • Some parents were concerned that online assignments due at 11:59PM encouraged (if not outright required) students to work late into the night. We understand that concern. We set an 8AM due time to address that concern, and to say, for the sake of clarity, that homework is due when a student’s time at home ends and the school day begins. However, we imagine students now might go to bed earlier than 11:59PM only to set their alarms far too early in the morning (like 3-4AM) to finish work before 8AM. Please help your child avoid these scenarios and find ways to organize their time in healthier ways. If you find that they are having difficulty doing that, reach out to us and we will work with you to address the situation.
  • Above all, we are encouraging you to keep us in the loop and help us work with you to find the healthiest way for your child to learn and grow.