TJHSST Student Advocacy

Rationale

Teaching and learning at TJHSST are team endeavors. As part of this team approach, teachers, students, counselors, parents, and administrators will all work together to understand expectations, navigate responsibilities, and communicate clearly. We want to provide students a strategy to address academic pressures with their teachers so they make positive choices and abide by the TJ Honor Code. If there are times when students need to address academic and homework concerns with their teachers, these guidelines should always be followed in a respectful manner. Teachers will consider individual students’ situations when making their decisions regarding student requests, and will offer support regardless of whether the student’s specific request is approved.

Homework Policy

The TJHSST Leadership Team has adopted the following policy after reviewing recommendations from a committee of students, faculty, parents, and administration:

  • Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks should be free of homework assignments. No assignments will be due the class period following breaks unless sufficient time has been provided prior to the breaks.
  • There should be no test or quiz scheduled for the first class meeting after Thanksgiving, winter, and spring break.
  • Teachers should communicate the approximate length of time it should take to complete assignments.
  • Administration will work with teachers in a timely manner to address concerns regarding homework.
  • Working with their counselors, students will select courses that are meaningful and manageable.
  • Students and parents will use Advocacy Guidelines for TJHSST students to address academic and homework concerns.

Academic Best Practices

In addition to the Homework Policy, TJHSST students should anticipate teachers will strive to incorporate the following practices to support a quality learning experience:

  • All assignments requiring additional materials posted by the teachers and due the next class period must be posted on FCPS 24-7 Learning (Blackboard) by the end of the school day in which the student attended the class. There should not be any surprise assignments added over the weekend.
  • Students should expect to receive timely feedback for all assignments. Students have a right to ask a teacher when to expect an assignment to be returned. Generally, all test and quizzes should be returned within a week. Lab reports and lengthy assignments should be returned within 2 weeks. (These times are considered average and may not apply to all assignments/situations).
  • Students have the right to receive feedback on all assignments and assessments that might inform understanding on future assessments. Students should receive this feedback prior to assessment of similar material a second time, in order to correct errors that might be repeated.
  • Students have the right to ask questions about content for which they are responsible but for which they did not receive class instruction prior to a graded assessment on that content.
  • Students have a right to review graded activities in order to learn from their mistakes.
  • Students have the right to understand the source of their grades, and can request a grade sheet at interims and at the end of the quarter.
  • Students have access to a course syllabus and grading guidelines on FCPS 24-7 Learning (Blackboard) by Back-to-School night.
  • Teachers will implement the TJ Program of Studies outlining appropriate knowledge and skills for their course at rigorous standards that will prepare students well for their next course.
  • Flexibility may be considered when more than 2 major test or assignments are due on a given day. Students may ask any one of the teachers, in advance of the test day, to reschedule the assignment. Teachers will make a decision after careful consideration of the individual circumstances.
  • All members of assigned or student selected groups are expected to contribute at equivalent levels. They should make a determined effort to resolve group issues on their own initially. Students should ask for and expect assistance from teachers (or their counselor) to resolve issues related to group dynamics and achievement when their own attempts are unsuccessful. Students are responsible for making the teacher aware of problems prior to submitting the group work for grading.

Advocacy Guidelines

If students find themselves in situations in which they believe the expectations and policies in this document have not been followed, they should self-advocate through the following channels in the order presented:

  1. Attempt to resolve the issues with the teacher with a straightforward and honest conversation.
  2. If there is difficulty communicating with the teacher, work with their counselor to better understand the situation and work toward a resolution, perhaps by scheduling a meeting with the teacher facilitated by the counselor.
  3. If action is not taken to address the concern, students should report the concern to the class administrator.
  4. If students are not able to resolve the issue after following steps 1-3, then they should get their parents involved by setting up a meeting with the teacher, counselor, and possibly an administrator.