Skip to main content
Concord Academy

02.0 Academic Program: Policies and Guidelines


2.01 Absences

Students are expected to attend school when classes are in session. Leaving early for school breaks and vacations is not permissible. Students who do leave early without prior permission from the dean of students are likely to be assigned two hours of work jobs for each unexcused day.

With the exception of emergencies or illnesses, absences from school must be approved in advance. The student must get an excused-absence slip (pink slip) from the Student Life Office and secure the approval of their advisor and all teachers whose classes will be affected by the proposed absence. The excused-absence slip must be returned to and approved by the dean of students one day prior to the proposed absence. Excused-absence slips are used for doctor and dentist appointments, religious holidays, and significant family events. In the event of emergency or illness, direct permission for an excused absence may be granted by the health center staff or the dean of students. Seniors are eligible for three days of missed classes for the purpose of traveling to and visiting colleges. College-visit absences must be approved by the College Counseling before travel arrangements are made. Specific college-visiting days are on the CA Event calendar.

Day students who are unable to attend school due to emergencies or illnesses must have their parents call the Attendance Office at (978) 402-2202 by 8:40 a.m. each day they are unable to attend classes. A student who is absent 5 or more times in a semester may have a conversation with the assistant head/academic dean and the student's advisor to check on the student's academic progress.

All students who become ill during the school day must check in with the Health Center staff. It is the responsibility of the student to make up all work missed during absences.

When a student is absent on the day a significant paper or project is due, it is the student’s responsibility to deliver the paper or project to the class teacher.

Any student who misses more than half of their academic commitments in a single school day will not be allowed to participate in after school activities on that day unless extenuating circumstances merit an exception by the assistant head/academic dean or the dean of students.

2.02 Academic Accommodations

Information about the school’s policies and resources regarding academic accommodations is available from the academic dean/assistant head of school and assistant academic dean.

Before allowing academic accommodations, the school requires that educational testing be conducted by a licensed psychologist. The school’s consulting psychologist can refer families to professional resources off campus and will supply a list of tests that are expected to be part of a thorough neuropsychological evaluation. Written results of educational testing are reviewed by the consulting psychologist and the assistant head/academic dean. With permission of parents, a summary of those results is shared with faculty to enable them to best serve the student. Students meet with the academic dean/assistant head of school or someone from the Academic Support Center about appropriate study strategies moving forward. The school’s grading practices and expectations for completion of work will not be affected by academic accommodations.

Students with significant medical issues that interfere with academic functioning may request a medical leave or request that their course load be reduced below 14 credits for one term. The goal of this reduction is to allow those students to function successfully in fewer classes while tending to their recovery. A student is not permitted to keep a full course load if unable to adhere to normal expectations including deadlines, taking tests, and participating in class. It is not possible to remain in school while unable to function within the normal expectations of the program. 

Students who are diagnosed with a concussion are afforded temporary accommodations until their symptoms subside. CA follows physician guidelines following a concussion. Given the school’s limited ability to supervise boarders who are recovering from illness or concussion, less flexibility is available to students living on campus.  Severe concussions or delayed recovery may require alteration of a student's academic program. The student's advisor and the assistant head/academic dean will work with families to create a realistic recovery plan.

On rare occasions, a student may request a waiver of a Concord Academy graduation requirement. Such a request must be supported by sufficiently recent testing and by the consulting psychologist and the academic dean/assistant head of school.

The head of school, Mr. Hardy, will make a decision after considering recommendations from the school specialists and the academic dean. In all cases, the school reserves the right to evaluate whether Concord Academy is an appropriate school for the student, pending success in their academic program. More information about the waiver process is available from the Office of the Academic Dean.

The College Board/ACT have specific documentation requirements for accommodation requests. They require that all learning disabilities be professionally documented within three years prior to standardized testing. The documentation must specifically mention the type of accommodation necessary (e.g., extended time), and Concord Academy must have made the same accommodation for the student prior to test registration. Because the College Board/ACT have strict deadlines for considering students who need accommodations, parents should request accommodations from the Academic Office as early as possible. Registrar Sue Sauer helps families make requests to the College Board/ACT for accommodations.

2.03 Advisor Program

The advisor is the primary liaison between the student, the student’s family, and the school*. The advisor is the individual with whom parents/guardians should have direct contact. As is typical of most high schools (and perhaps different from primary and middle schools), families are asked to refrain from being in direct contact with teachers. The advisor’s principal responsibilities include overseeing a student’s academic progress and achievements, as well as offering advice and support. The advisor's additional responsibilities include helping a student plan their courses and extracurricular activities, approving changes in course registration, and approving all excused absences. At the end of each semester, the advisor will write a summary report that accompanies the student’s grades. The advisor is the first person with whom faculty members will consult when a student is in difficulty. Likewise, parents should communicate with the advisor when there are questions or concerns about their child’s life at school, or something which may impact their life at school.

New students are assigned an advisor over the summer, and will learn who that is at registration. At the end of each school year, returning students may either retain their advisor or request a new advisor. In order to change advisors, a student must submit four new advisor choices to the dean of students. These choices must be faculty or staff members listed on the advisor list provided to students. The dean of students and the academic dean, will consider the choices and assign the most appropriate choice as the student’s new advisor.

*Note: If a family would like to put the school in touch with a student’s therapist or any health professional, we ask that they contact either the director of student health and support services, or the assistant head/academic dean.

2.04 Athletics

The Athletics Department follows a Code of Conduct, which is a detailed guide of policies and procedures; this document, is presented to all students in team sports and PE classes at the start of each season by the Director of Athletics.

All students are required to meet the published athletic graduation requirement each year. Students can earn athletic credit in team sports, intramural sports, physical education classes, mainstage productions, select CA dance classes, community service, and in approved external programming in those sports not currently offered at the school.

Team and intramural sports, as well as physical education classes, meet during weekday afternoons. Since participation in athletics is a graduation requirement, athletic commitments take precedence over noncredit extracurricular activities. Athletic game and class schedules are posted electronically at the beginning of each season and then updated as changes occur during the season; all students are responsible for knowing the schedule of their athletic commitment. Students who have a significant unavoidable conflict (e.g., a family wedding) should inform their coach as soon as the conflict is known and should submit an excused-absence slip to the dean of students. Whenever possible, appointments (dentist, doctor, etc.) should be scheduled outside of scheduled game and practice times. More information about the athletic attendance and participation policy is available in the department Code of Conduct.

Students who are ill must see a member of the Health Center staff to be excused from practice or class. A student who is excused from afternoon athletics due to illness is not permitted to participate in any other activities that day. A student must be in attendance for at least half the school day in order to participate in athletics unless excused by the assistant head/academic dean or the dean of students. A student who has an injury should see the head athletic trainer, who will assess the injury and determine what should be done so activity can resume in a timely manner. The athletic training room is located on the lower level of the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC).

The Athletic Department and the Performing Arts Department collaborate to determine policies for athletes and performing artists. Athletic and performing arts schedules are carefully crafted to offer a wide range of opportunities to students with multiple interests and abilities. However, safeguards are in place to prevent students from over scheduling themselves.

Students must be dressed in appropriate clothing to participate in athletics and provide most of their own athletic attire and gear. The Athletic Department lends out some equipment for physical education classes and for recreational use, and some athletic apparel and gear is available for purchase. The athletic equipment room, which is located on the lower level of the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC), supplies uniforms for team sports. Students are accountable for all issued gear and clothing. Further information regarding issued gear and uniforms is available in the Athletics Department Code of Conduct.

2.05 Attendance

Student attendance at classes, chapel, announcements, athletics, community assemblies, and Community Clean-Up is compulsory. Additionally, attendance is required of all boarding students at Sunday Vespers. Unexcused absences may result in the following:

Class Cut (Includes PE classes)    1 hour of work jobs

Community Assembly     1 hour of work jobs

Recycling     1 hour of work jobs

Chapel/Announcements    1 hour of work jobs

Class Meeting     1 hour of work jobs

Community Weekends    2 hours of work jobs

Kitchen Duty

  • Weekday    4 hours of work jobs
  • Weekend    4 hours of work jobs per meal missed

Community Clean-Up     2 hours of work jobs

Morning Lateness    3 instances of under 5 minutes late are treated as a cut and result in 1 hour of work jobs. Each subsequent lateness is also considered a cut with an additional 1 hour of work jobs assigned for each instance. A lateness after 5 minutes is considered a cut.

In addition, excessive late arrivals, whether excused or unexcused, may be referred to the dean of students.

Late to class 1/2 hour work jobs

Community assemblies provide the school with excellent programs that often feature CA students. Students are expected to be attentive and to behave appropriately during assemblies. Sleeping or talking during assemblies may result in work job assignments.

All work job assignments are completed on designated Saturday mornings starting at 9:30 a.m. A student may defer a work job assignment one time, but the hours assigned will be doubled and the work job assignments must be completed on the next designated Saturday morning, regardless of a student’s other commitments. A student who defers a work job assignment a second time will receive a one-day in-house suspension and will be placed on probation.

A student who accumulates three unexcused absences from class in one semester will be referred to the assistant head/academic dean, and may receive a dean's warning. If there is any work assessed during a time when a student has an unexcused absence, there may be a significant academic penalty (e.g., a “zero” for the day or a “zero” on a test, quiz, paper, or exam with no chance to make up the work). Any additional unexcused absences from class will be referred to the dean of students and may result in a Discipline Committee hearing. Any student who accumulates five hours of work job assignments as a result of unexcused absences from classes, chapel, announcements, class meetings, or community assemblies will be referred to the Dean of Students. Additional unexcused absences from any of those commitments could result in an in-house suspension.

2.06 Course Withdrawals

Students may withdraw from a class after speaking with the assistant head/academic dean and their advisor. Alteration of a student's schedulePlease refer to the Concord Academy Course Catalogue for policies about academic credit, course withdrawals, and taking a course on a pass/fail basis.

2.07 Diploma Out of Course Policy

At the discretion of the head of school, a senior who is not able to meet the academic requirements of the school by the last academic day of the year can be granted a diploma out of course. A student pursuing a diploma out of course must complete academic classes in another institution or with a CA-approved adult and  present written evidence of success in that work to Concord Academy. A diploma achieved in this way is a “diploma out of course,” and is marked with the date the diploma is awarded. Arrangements for completion of academic requirements are determined with the head of school, the assistant head/academic dean, and appropriate members of the faculty. If the student has come close to meeting requirements and has a satisfactory record of citizenship, they may be allowed—at the discretion of the head of school—to participate in graduation ceremonies with their class. Students are not eligible to participate in any other graduation ceremonies in later years. Seniors not in attendance at the conclusion of the second semester of their senior year may not participate in graduation or other end-of-year ceremonies.

2.08 J. Josephine Tucker Library

The J. Josephine Tucker Library at Concord Academy is a place for individual study, collaborative work, and research. Patrons are expected to abide by the following rules:

  • Work quietly and be respectful of others.
  • Check out ALL materials at the circulation desk before leaving the library.
  • Take personal belongings with you when leaving the library.
  • Drinking water in bottles only - no food or other beverages.

Violations of these rules are subject to disciplinary action.

Borrowing Policies and Loan Periods Edit section

  • Circulating books and older periodicals can be loaned for the semester;
  • Sound and video recordings and current periodicals can be loaned for seven days;
  • Chromebooks, projectors, and audio equipment can be loaned for 24 hours;
  • Reserve materials for class assignments and reserve copies of textbooks can be loaned for up to two hours.

Fines and Fees

Although there are no overdue fines, patrons are responsible for all materials borrowed and will be charged for the full replacement cost of lost or damaged materials. The Library staff also work with the Circulation Supervisor at the Concord Free Public Library to assist in getting seniors to return materials, pay overdue fines and/or replacement fees prior to Commencement.

2.09 Religious Holidays

In an effort to support the diverse backgrounds of our students, excused-absence slips for the observance of religious holidays will, in most cases, be authorized using the normal procedures. The school will attempt to avoid scheduling athletics and other special events on the eve and first day of significant religious holidays. Faculty and students are reminded each year about academic expectations on religious holidays.

2.10 Study Skills

The Academic Support Center (ASC) is designed to offer help with study skills to all students (e.g., organization, reading efficiency, construction of a study schedule, and limited content-specific help). Help from members of the ASC is offered to all students, but is a limited resource. Triage of student needs occurs during the busiest times of the semester, though the ASC tries to meet all requests. If a student’s need to one-on-one tutoring exceeds the ASC’s ability to meet it, we will work with the family to engage an outside tutor at the student's family’s expense. Financial aid is available for tutoring in situations where the ASC cannot meet a financial aid student’s needs. Basic study skills also are part of the freshman health and wellness curriculum.