Academic Information


Homework

The Hopkinton School District recognizes the need for homework as an integral part of the learning process. Homework supports and complements classroom instruction. Homework provides students with an opportunity to review and prepare for each class primarily in the quiet of their own home. Homework reflects the objectives of each course curriculum. With this in mind, the following guidelines are provided for parents, teachers, and students to insure that homework continues to provide the desired effect.

The term “homework” refers to an assignment to be prepared during a period of study in class or outside of the class, which requires individual work in the study hall or home.

The purpose of homework is to help students become self-directing, independent learners. Homework assignments shall support clearly defined school and classroom objectives and shall be used to reinforce and enhance school experiences.

The emphasis shall be placed on the value of the assignment to the child. Homework will not be assigned for the purpose of providing busy work for children. When homework is assigned, there will be timely and meaningful follow-up and feedback by the teacher.

Specific written expectations for homework will be communicated to students and parents/guardians as part of grade level expectations for elementary students. However, homework policies may vary between grade level or subject matter. Parents/guardians and students are encouraged to consult with their building administration if they have questions regarding homework expectations.

We recommend approximately 15-30 minutes of homework, 2 or 3 times a week for grades 1-3.

School Attendance


New Students

All new students must have up-to-date immunizations. Parents must provide proof of residency to ensure assignment to the schools and will be required to sign a form for records release from the school previously attended. Documentation of the proof of residency should be a current rent receipt, utility bill, phone bill, credit card or bank statement in the parent’s/guardian’s name.

Returning Students

All students who are current residents of the Hopkinton School District are welcome to attend the Hopkinton Elementary Schools. Non-resident students attending Hopkinton School District may petition for tuition admittance at the discretion of the Board and Superintendent. The District reserves the right to seek restitution for non-resident students attending Hopkinton Schools without approval of the Board.

Absences & Excuses

Regular attendance is essential to a student’s success in school. Most subjects are taught in sequence, requiring the understanding of each concept in the order of presentation. Simply doing the written work that is missed cannot make up a missed school day. Absences create a genuine hardship for a student. (See Make-up Assignments under Academic Expectations)

Excused & Unexcused Absence

According to state law, all school-age children are to be in attendance except for the following reasons: illness, medical care, injury or other emergencies, activities or events beyond parental control. Final administrative determination of whether an absence is excused or unexcused is made by the school principal.

Excessive absences are reported to the guidance counselor and school principal. Students who are absent, whether excused or unexcused, more than 10% of a trimester (approximately 6-8 absences) will receive communication from the principal or guidance counselor informing the parent of the accumulation of absence and providing assistance to improve attendance as required. Family vacations are not an excused absence. For special circumstances prior arrangements must be made with and approved by the building principal.

Tardiness

The student day begins at 8:00 for Harold Martin School. If a student is going to be late, we ask that a parent call the office. If a student is tardy more than five times per trimester, the principal will contact the parents. If tardiness persists, a conference will be held with the parent, student, guidance counselor and principal to discuss possible solutions to the problem.

Student Absence Caling Program

All parents are asked to call the school no later than 9 a.m. on any day their child will be absent. Please call each day your child is absent. This program is designed to keep children safe by making sure that absent students are safe at home and not lost or otherwise missing. Office managers or their designee will contact the parents of any students absent whom we have not received notification from. The student absence line at the Harold Martin School is 746-4030. At the Maple Street School, please call 746-4195. Give the child’s name, classroom teacher and date(s) of absence.

Student Release During School Hours

Students are not permitted to leave during the school day without written authorization from a parent. When the student is picked up during the school day, the parent or designee must come into the school office to sign out the student. Students may not be excused to walk home alone during the school day.

Student Release to Other than a Parent

Students are not released to the custody of anyone other than a parent, a court appointed guardian, or their designee (designation must be in writing). Students of estranged parents shall be released only at the request of the parent who has custody of the student pursuant to court order and who is designated as parent or guardian of the student on school records.

Change in Regularly Scheduled Transportation

At the onset of the school year, parents are asked to provide information as to their child’s primary means of arriving at and leaving school. If a student is requested to go home in a different way than the predetermined method with the school, a permission note must be signed by the parent and sent to the teacher.

Classroom Placement

Classroom placement is at the discretion of the principal. It is the goal of the Hopkinton School District to provide the best educational setting for all students. To accomplish this task, Hopkinton School District administrators and staff will access areas including but not limited to the student's academic performance; the appropriate balance and composition of each class in each grade; the placement of students with special learning needs within classes; and knowledge of student-to-student interactions.

The school administration will consider relevant written input submitted by parents on or before May 1st which shall not include requests for specific teachers.

Kindergarten Orientation

Each spring, Harold Martin School holds Kindergarten Orientation events for next year’s kindergarten students and their parents. At a session in the spring, parents hear from the kindergarten teachers, nurse, Guidance Counselor, Principal, Volunteer Coordinator, and PTA officers and have an opportunity to have questions answered. There is also a school day for the incoming kindergarten students themselves to visit their classroom not long after the parent night. You will be contacted by mail regarding the dates and times.

Students entering kindergarten must be 5 years old by Sept. 15 of the current year. Parents should bring the following documentation when registering their child for kindergarten:
  1. an up-to-date immunization record
  2. proof of residency
  3. a copy of the child’s birth certificate
  4. the child’s social security card

Grade & Progress Reports

The school year is divided into three, twelve-week (trimester) grading periods for permanent grade reports. In addition, Maple Street students receive midterm informal progress reports during the sixth week of the trimester.

Parent Conferences

In November, near the end of the first trimester, each student’s parent or guardian is scheduled for a conference with the student’s teacher.

Joint Custody Guidelines

At the request of either parent, separate conferences can be arranged with the child’s teacher. Both parents can also request a copy of the report card, and midterm progress reports. Additional conferences may be scheduled throughout the year at the request of the teacher or parents. In addition, parents will receive a call or be requested to attend a conference when a student’s performance drops significantly. We encourage parents to contact the school at any time. Good communication is essential for student success.

Make–Up Work

Parents and students must arrange with the teacher for make-up time and/or work missed within three days following an absence. Students usually have one attendance day for each day absent to make up missed work.
Testing for Proficiency
Third through eighth-grade students will take the New England Common Assessment (NECAP) to evaluate proficiency in reading, writing and math. This assessment data will be used to determine if your child’s school or the district has met No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. In addition, the assessment provides schools with information allowing a focus on individual student growth and performance during the school year. Students will also take the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) twice yearly to enhance the teachers’ knowledge of student reading and mathematics growth.


Grading Systems


Harold Martin School

All students receive trimester progress reports in reading, mathematics, understanding the concepts of science and health, social studies, as well as behavior that support learning.

Schedule of Report Card and Progress Report Dates:
First report card: Wednesday, December 5, 2014
Second report card: Wednesday, March 13, 2015
Third report card: Final day of school

Elementary Curriculum Overview


Art

Students receive art education once a week. The art curriculum consists of a developmentally appropriate foundation in basic art concepts. Students are given many opportunities for creative expression. A variety of art skills and techniques are explored and a broad variety of art materials are used. Art concepts and experiences are presented in a thematic context that integrates with the classroom curriculum.

Music

Students in grades P-3 receive music education once a week. The music curriculum consists of a foundation of basic music, vocal skills, moving to music, music theory and reading, music appreciation, vocal and instrumental performance. Students in Grade 4 also receive the foundations of choral music embedded in their music curricula.

Physical Education

The physical education program focuses on age appropriate fitness. The components of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, coordination, and agility are enhanced through a variety of experiences in movement, manipulative devices, rhythms and dance, perceptual motor activities, developmental gymnastics, and simple games. The students are introduced to motor skills that form the foundation for the enjoyment of lifetime leisure sports and activities. Kindergarten has physical education once a week and grades 1 through 6 have physical education twice a week.

Students are asked to wear loose fitting play clothes that can easily be washed or replaced if soiled or damaged. In the selection of proper footwear, please consider sneakers that will not make black marks on the gym floor. No platform sneakers are allowed. All students are expected to participate in physical education class unless a doctor’s medical note is provided or upon recommendation of the school nurse.

Health and Life / Skills

Students in grades 3-6 receive instruction in health and life / skills. These courses assist the students in developing their knowledge of healthy living. Aspects of the course will cover CPR, first aid, exercise and nutritional management, mental health, and social health. Students will also receive instruction in conflict resolution, peer mediation, anger management, and impulse control.

Keyboarding and Technology

Students in grades 4-6 receive instruction in keyboarding and technology use. These courses teach the elements of touch-typing and knowledge of the keyboard in addition to word processing and basic application of technology to support academic work. Students use web based and local software to support their instruction and learning.

Literacy

The instructional technique known as Guided Reading is the basis for reading practice and instruction in grades K - 6. The reading program K - 6 focuses on oral reading, comprehension skills, ability to analyze, learning to read in grades "K - 2" and reading to learn in grades "3 – 6."

Writing is an essential part of the reading program and vice versa. Students are required to write every day. They write for a variety of purposes, for: to tell a personal story, to express an opinion, to convey a message or to develop a research paper.

Assessments in reading and writing are done on every student in K - 6 three times a year. We use the Write Traits technique for assessment in writing. Results are collected in a student portfolio.

Math

Our elementary schools utilize the Math in Focus for grades K-5, published by McGraw-Hill. This program applies the "spiraling" concept of curriculum development in that topics and skills are revisited many times during the course of the year. This program is also consistent with the instructional approach being used in grades 6-12. Students in grade six utilize the Glencoe Mathematics series.

Second Step

Students in grades P-3 receive the Second Step program which teaches and reinforces the skills that can help all children get along better and do better in school. This program is based on research in the field of violence prevention, has been evaluated and has proven to be effective.

Science

Students in grades K-6 receive science instruction in three core areas: physical, earth/space and life science. Each grade has a specific core series of units for which it is responsible. Resources to support the courses include Delta DSM kits, Prentice Hall texts, and a variety of lab based resources.

Social Studies

Social Studies is taught at all elementary grades. Topics gradually reflect an appreciation of self with the local community, region, state, country, and global society. Students in grades 4-6th grade intensify their study of State, country and world history and the major themes and events which have shaped our society and world at large.

Pre-School

The Harold Martin Preschool is primarily designed to meet the needs of our 3-5 year olds with special education needs. (See below). However, approximately 50% of our students are typically developing students who pay a tuition fee to be part of the program. The program usually has a waiting list so please call the school for more information.

Elementary Student Resources


The Library Media Center

The library has a flexible schedule to allow students to use the library as often as their class time allows. Students travel to the library individually or in small groups by using a library pass. Each class has student passes, which allow students from many classes to simultaneously visit the library. When the classroom teacher wants larger groups or the whole class to visit the library, arrangements are scheduled into the library’s weekly calendar. Students are encouraged to visit the library frequently to either check out a book or, in the event the student has not yet returned borrowed materials, be a book browser. Library use helps students develop a life long love of reading and the skills to become independent seekers of information.

In Kindergarten and at the beginning of Grade One, students demonstrate responsibility by returning or renewing materials regularly. As students become older, the number of borrowed materials increases, as does the length of check out time.

Computer Lab

The computer labs at both Harold Martin and Maple Street Schools serve as the technology resource hubs for the elementary schools. Students at both schools are provided opportunities to work with both Macintosh and PC computers to research projects, design digital slide shows and multi-media projects, word process, and utilize software. At Maple Street School, students also are provided keyboarding and technology instruction in the lab.

Student Services Programs


Special Education

The elementary schools provide services for students with special learning needs. The speech and language program offers a continuum of services to children whose oral communication difficulties are impacting their academic progress. These services are based on the results of speech and language testing and team consultation with the child’s teacher and parents. Support is available in the form of direct intervention, consultation with teachers and parents, and monitoring of performance in the classroom.

Occupational Therapy is a related service that is provided for students after there has been a determination of an educational need. The occupational therapist utilizes movement and various manipulative and play activities to facilitate developmental skills that serve as foundations for classroom learning.

Preschool Special Education provides services to children three to five years old, who have been referred to the Hopkinton Preschool Team. Referrals for services may be made by the parent/guardian or teachers by contacting Special Services, SAU #66, 746-5273. The Preschool Team meets to consider the referral. If the team decides that more information is needed, an evaluation is completed. If the evaluation demonstrates that the child needs special education services, an appropriate program is developed to meet the child’s needs.

Guidance Counselors

Maple Street and Harold Martin schools each have a full-time guidance counselor to support student emotional and social needs. Guidance staff provides individual and group counseling, peer mediation assistance, peer leadership advocacy, and instruction in Second Step and Life Skills.