Portland Public Schools
Portland, Oregon

da Vinci Logo imageda Vinci Arts Middle School

Creative minds for
challenging times.

2508 NE Everett Street | Portland, OR 97232
Phone: (503) 916-5356 | Fax: (503) 916-2721

Homework Philosophy, Criteria & Grading Scale

Ms. Wasson's Homework Philosophy, Criteria & Grading Scale 2010-2011

Questions about homework are often asked at the beginning of (and throughout) the school year.

In order to inform families and my students about the homework you can expect during the year, I have prepared this brochure. Please keep it handy during the school year. On the back you will find the school’s address, phone number, my home phone, as well as, my school e-mail address and my classroom web site address.

In addition to my website I publish a weekly electronic e-mail newsletter. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter please make sure to give me your e-mail address on the Parent Survey. If you do not have e-mail you can access the newsletter from my web site.

My classroom web site will supply your family with vital information concerning your child’s language arts and social studies homework. Reading through the site should be a family affair. The information supplied there has really become a useful tool for bridging the gap between home and school. Be certain to check the website weekly as I will update it that often.

Rationale for Homework

Portland Public Schools recommends an average of 1 1/2-2 hours of homework each night for middle school students. The reason is to reinforce skills and concepts from the classroom, instill study habits, and prepare students for high school when homework expectations typically increase. By building these skills, students will be better prepared to meet the benchmarks for the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which students will achieve in the 10th grade.

In my classes students are given assignments that extend classroom learning, allow for advanced effort, and develop habits of reading and writing as skills for life-long learning.

Homework Guidelines

All homework/assignments are expected to be turned in on time. However, I know in the real world situations occur, things happen. In order to receive credit for a late assignment, students must have a written note from home explaining why an assignment is late. Unexcused late assignments will be docked 10% per day—approximately one full grade.

My thoughts on Extra Credit

Focus should be on the current curriculum or theme. I would prefer that students apply their energies toward staying up-to-date with their work rather than worry about extra-credit and/or making up late work. See handout on Enrichment Activities for Students When Away From School for more information.

Taking Classroom Tests

In order to prepare eighth graders for high school, classroom tests will be taken without open notes.

Seventh and sixth graders will have access to their notes during tests or they may take the eighth grade challenge for additional credit.

Grading Scale


100% - 97%...A+

96% - 93%...A

92% - 90%...A-

89% - 87%...B+

86% - 83%...B

82% - 80%...B-

79% - 77%...C+

76% - 73%...C

72% - 70%...C-

69% - 67%...D+

66% - 63%...D


59% and below…F

For those, like myself, who require words to associate our new grading scale with I have provided them below.

Because our new report card might be confusing for some, I have included clearer wording in an effort to create a universal understanding of our expectations for students.

EXEMPLARY Inspired, Convincing, Insightful, Complex, Subtle - far exceeds benchmark

STRONG Precise, Thoughtful, Specific, Conclusive, Distinctive

PROFICIENT Competent, Appropriate, Complete, Reasonable, Effective - meets the benchmark

DEVELOPING Limited, Incomplete, Unsupported, Simplistic, Inconsistent - close to meeting

EMERGING Confused, Unaware, Inaccurate,Flawed, Superficial, Unfounded - does not meet

BEGINNING No Evidence, Frustrating, Surrendered, Disconnected, Misunderstood - does not meet


As mentioned previously da Vinci uses a standards based report card. On this report card students receive skill and an effort scores. Below I have listed qualities on which I base effort scores and I’ve included the wording you will see on your child’s report card.

Qualities I use to assess students’ level of effort:

  • Being on time to class
  • Coming to class prepared to learn with all supplies and materials in hand, taking responsibilty for knowing what's needed for the day
    Staying on task during core
  • Participating in discussions, group work, activities
  • Timely completion of class work & homework
  • Cooperating with peers

There are four scores of effort:

  • Consistently, Often, Sometimes, and Seldom

Parents, please review the above information with your child. Sign and return the parent acknowledgement and have your child return it to Ms. Wasson by Friday, September 17.

Please don't forget to:

  • Complete the Parent Survey by September 17
  • Read the Homework Philosophy & Criteria brochure
  • Sign and detach the parent acknowlegement by September 17
  • Return Parent Volunteer form by the end of September
  • Contribute any supplies
  • Contact Ms. Wasson with any questions