The Hotchkiss School

The Hotchkiss School strives to develop in students a lifelong love of learning, responsible citizenship, and personal integrity. We are a community based on trust, mutual respect, and compassion, and we hold all members of the community accountable for upholding these values.

The School is committed to mastery of learning skills, development of intellectual curiosity, excellence and creativity in all disciplines, and enthusiastic participation in athletics and other school activities. We encourage our students to develop clarity of thought, confidence and facility in expressing ideas, and artistic and aesthetic sensitivity. We expect all members of the community, in and out of the classroom, to subject their views and actions to critical examination and to accept responsibility for them. We hope that our graduates will leave Hotchkiss with a commitment to service to others and to environmental stewardship, and with a greater understanding of themselves and of their responsibilities in a global society.

No student need ever feel alone in meeting the challenges he or she will encounter at Hotchkiss. In addition to the daily support provided to students by classroom teachers, athletic coaches, club advisors, counselors, and other adults, students benefit from the attention of Faculty Advisors, Class Deans, Dormitory Faculty, and Proctors.

Faculty Advisors

The integrity of the relationship among Faculty Advisors, students, and parents is essential to our ethos. Every new student is assigned a Faculty Advisor who is responsible for attending to that student’s academic and personal progress. The Faculty Advisor is often the primary contact for an advisee’s parents or guardians, and generally serves as a nodal point for communication regarding the advisee. Parents with concerns and questions about their child should generally contact his or her Faculty Advisor first.

Each Faculty Advisor meets regularly with his or her advisees individually and as a group, and follows a common calendar designed to address advisees’ needs in a timely manner.

A student may always request a new Faculty Advisor from the Dean of Academic Life. Faculty Advisors are accustomed to such moves, and do not hold hard feelings when advisees seek new Faculty Advisors.

At the end of each academic year, returning students are invited to list the Faculty Advisors to whom they would like to be assigned in the following year. Though advisee groups are limited in size in order to assure equitable distribution of each Faculty Advisor’s attention, the School makes every effort to assign students seeking a change to one of their preferred choices.

Class Deans

Class Deans are responsible for monitoring the academic and social progress of the students in the class to which they are assigned. Each Class Dean serves the class to which he or she is assigned over its four years of enrollment; in other words, the Class Dean assigned to the preps remains assigned to that class through to its graduation. Class Deans work closely with the Dean of Students, the Dean of Academic Life, the Registrar, the Dean of Student Health, and Faculty Advisors. They also chair meetings to discuss students’ progress with parents and teachers; chair faculty meetings at which the progress of the students in their class is reviewed; track attendance; report official concerns and actions to parents; conduct weekly class meetings; and play a general role in student life. Students should direct requests for permission to miss any academic or School-related commitment to their Class Dean.

Dormitory Faculty

Our dormitories are places of shelter, safety, rest, study, spontaneous fun, and leisure. They are also places where our students learn to mature intellectually, emotionally, and physically, and live well with others in order to prepare for, most imminently, the greater liberty of college life. Our Dormitory Faculty tend to this aspect of the School’s mission with integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication. Each team of Dormitory Faculty, which varies in number according to the size of the dormitory, is supervised by a Dormitory Head; the Dormitory Heads report to and meet regularly with the Dean of Students and Dean of Residential Life.


Proctors are seniors and upper mids who have been carefully selected on the basis of their generosity of spirit and exemplary approach to the academic and social demands of School life. They live in close proximity to their proctees, are alert to their needs, and help care for their well-being. Working in close concert with Dormitory Faculty, they enforce School rules with sensitivity and without resort to force, and tend to community life within the dormitory.

Student life at Hotchkiss, which is governed by our Community Regulations, is primarily the responsibility of the Dean of Students, who reports to the Head of School.

We believe that education is the means by which we both discover our world and contribute to its transformation, and that one’s education is best pursued in the company of others, for others’ benefit as well as one’s own. In that light, our students learn how an individual can live within a group, and how a group can live with ideals conveyed by an institution. We believe that people perform and relate to one another best in environments characterized by honesty, safety, trust, respect, belonging, and inclusion. Our Community Regulations contribute to such an environment. They promote and protect the standards required for our students to thrive and for the School to succeed in its mission and emanate from a place of rigorous care for and commitment to our students’ development as people.

Each student is required to know and comply with our Community Regulations. No one should expect to be preemptively warned to adhere to them, and one’s assertion of ignorance of a rule will not be accepted as an excuse for one’s violation of it. Rules and policies may be modified or amended during the School year. Such changes, if and when they are made, are publicized to the community.

In general, these Community Regulations are directed to conduct that takes place on campus. While misconduct that occurs off-campus may not ordinarily be the basis for disciplinary action, the world surrounding us has its own laws and standards, and one’s enrollment here grants no immunity from them. Serious misconduct that adversely affects people beyond Hotchkissnearby, far away, or in the virtual territory of social mediais unacceptable and could elicit a disciplinary response.

Because some forms of misconduct have the potential to bring about a student’s separation from the School, we employ two committees to address concerns regarding misconduct:

  1. The Discipline Committee (DC) is comprised of appointed and elected faculty members and elected students. The DC investigates most Major Offenses, as well as any other actions that may warrant a disciplinary response because they imperil the integrity and safety of our community or the well-being of its members, or fail to demonstrate a necessary commitment to our core values. Following deliberation, the DC recommends responses to the Head of School, with whom final authority on disciplinary matters rests. Any member of the faculty or staff may bring a complaint of an infraction to the attention of the DC. A student may bring a complaint of an infraction to the attention of the DC only in conjunction with an adult. Students wishing to present such a complaint may confer with any trusted adult. Further information on the DC and the recommendation options it is permitted to forward to the Head of School can be found under Supplements at this link Discipline Committee
  2. The Community Conduct Council (CCC) is specifically trained to fairly and expeditiously address complaints pertaining to sexual harassment or misconduct and to violations of the Code of Ethical Conduct. Comprised of senior administrators who receive special and continuing training, the CCC pursues internal inquiries, as appropriate, and following deliberation recommends responses to the Head of School. It strives to protect the privacy of those involved and therefore limits the sharing of information to those who have a need to know. In accordance with Connecticut law, the CCC reports suspected instances of abuse, neglect, and statutory rape to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Students may bring complaints regarding sexual misconduct, violations of the Code of Ethical Conduct, and other forms of harassment to any member of the CCC or to any trusted adult. Further information can be found here Code of Ethical Conduct

These two committees work with care to determine the validity of charges, andwhen appropriatehold people properly accountable for their behavior, help them learn from their mistakes, and restore the community’s equilibrium. As is true at other independent schools, the law of evidence does not apply; in this sense, though both committees follow rules that guide their methods, neither process can be likened to a trial. The faculty is customarily notified by email of actions taken by the DC, and faculty members may ask to review the minutes of the committee’s proceedings, once they are available, in the Head of School’s office.

When the grievous or serial nature of one’s inappropriate behavior warrants his or her dismissal from Hotchkiss, it can have distressing consequences for many people other than the person being sent away. Often, the enormity of what one puts at risk by behaving inappropriately only emerges once it is too late. All students are therefore encouraged to regularly contemplate the long list of people who care about them, and to approach their lives in a manner that will merit their supporters’ admiration.

Dormitory Heads may impose reasonable penalties within certain limits for minor violations of Dormitory Regulations, and are expected to do so with an eye towards general standards for such penalties as determined by the Dean of Residential Life in consultation with the Dean of Students and Dormitory Heads. Students who harbor concerns about the equity of such transactions are encouraged to confer with any trusted adult. For an account of rules and expectations pertaining specifically to residential life, please consult the Dormitory Regulations. [Section V] Dormitory Regulations

We expect that our students will take responsibility for their actions and decisions, and the effects of those actions and decisions. In the case of a suspected violation of the rules, students must cooperate fully with inquiries, and answer questions truthfully. The refusal to cooperate, the failure to answer questions truthfully, and the failure to disclose relevant information are all serious offenses, as is the making of false accusations.

Students who discover a peer or group of peers committing Major Offenses and do not leave the scene immediately may be held equally responsible and may share equally in any disciplinary response. Students actively aiding peers under the protection offered by the Health Center Policy are exempt from this provision. [See below: “Major Offenses, G. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs.”]

The School strives to treat all students fairly, and to respond to all students misconduct equitably and consistently. On occasion, the School’ s need to protect students’ privacy may result in a popular sense that someone is receiving either preferential or prejudicial treatment. Students who come to harbor such concerns should speak with any trusted adult.

Major Offenses are acts that imperil the integrity and safety of our community or the well-being of its members, or that fail to demonstrate a necessary commitment to our core values, and so could potentially lead to a student’s separation from the School. The following list is extensive, but not comprehensive. Certainly, students should avoid words and deeds that may lead to Major Offenses. That said, our students are expected to hold themselves and their peers to a higher standard than this. The quality and integrity of our community life are everyone’s responsibility, and perpetually vulnerable to conduct that, though not always subject to disciplinary action, may still constitute egregious violence to the respectful climate we wish to promote. Gossip, sarcasm, selfishness, poor sportsmanship, wastefulness, and scheming may not result in disciplinary action, but can—in a community of our intimate size—disturb others and bring discredit to those inclined to such behavior. Students are encouraged to consider that their relationship to the School and to the people who comprise our community will be lifelong. In this same spirit, whenever our students engage with the world beyond our campus—nearby, far away, or in the virtual territory of social media—they are expected to represent the School admirably, and to set a positive example for others.

Major Offenses

Major Offenses include but are not limited to:

  1. Academic dishonesty

    Plagiarism, improper acknowledgment of sources, cheating, improper collaboration between or among students, the use of specifically prohibited resources, or similar offenses. For further details about academic integrity, please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy.

  2. Lying, including misrepresentation of documents

    Making false statements; failing to disclose relevant information; forging, altering, or otherwise falsifying any document or communication.

  3. Acts of violence or physical force

    Any act of violence or use of physical force against another person.

  4. Theft and willful property damage

    Taking someone else’s property without his or her explicit permission to do so; willfully damaging or destroying someone else’s property, even if the owner has granted access to it.

  5. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment

    Any sexual activity for which clear and voluntary consent has not been given in advance; any sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving valid consent because, for example, she or he is under the age of consent, sleeping, or otherwise incapacitated or impaired; any act of sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking.

    Consent is defined as an affirmative, unambiguous, informed, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent can be revoked at any time.

    Sexual misconduct includes digital media stalking and the nonconsensual recording of sexual behavior. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances and propositions, or other undesirable verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

    In accordance with Connecticut law, the School reports suspected instances of abuse and/or neglect to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), including reports of sexual assault with respect to a minor, sometimes known as statutory rape.

    Statutory rape is the term commonly used for the criminal offense that occurs when a person has sexual relations with a minor who is not old enough to legally consent to having sexual relations with that person. Under Connecticut law, statutory issues of consent arise with respect to sexual relations with a minor under age 16, depending on the age of the minor’s partner. For example, if two people have sex, and one person is between 13 and 16 years of age, while the other person is more than three years older, the older person can be found to have committed sexual assault in the second degree. In addition, in those instances where the individuals involved each fall within this three-year age bracket, the conduct, while not criminal in nature, may nonetheless necessitate a report to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

  6. Harassment, intimidation, coercion, bullying, or retaliation

    Unreasonable conduct or behavior that is personally offensive or threatening, impairs morale, or interferes with the educational environment of students, and may relate to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status, physical or mental disability, national origin, or ancestry or other protected category; retaliation (defined as any and all adverse actions) taken against people who, in good faith, have reported concerns about others.

    Further remarks on Sections E and F:

    There is a type of discomfort that is native to life&mdash especially during adolescence—and to school&mdash especially challenging, busy, diverse schools, such as this one—that stimulates one’s healthy development when met with mindfulness and grace. In this sense, certain discomforts contribute to the School’s value. Being new, meeting people from backgrounds different from your own, competing against others for a spot on a team or in a play, being pushed to excel by a teacher who has more faith in you than you do in yourself —with their teachers’ help, our students learn how to navigate such challenges, and they grow in the process.

    There is another type of discomfort that has no place here. Any behavior that contributes to a hostile environment—whether it is verbal, non-verbal, written, electronic, physical, or psychological; whether it takes the form of harassment, misconduct, bullying, or hazing of a racial, sexual, religious, or class-based nature; whether it occurs between or among students, or between students and teachers or staff—is absolutely inappropriate.

    Students who experience this latter type of discomfort (or who sense that someone else is experiencing it) are strongly encouraged to take swift and deliberate action. Simply put: if you see something that seems wrong—something that makes you feel strange, ashamed, nervous, or threatened—please seek the counsel of any adult you trust.

    For further information on this subject, please consult the General Harassment Policy.

  7. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs

    Possession or use of alcoholic beverages on campus or in connection with any off-campus School-sponsored activity by any student; possession or use of drugs, inhalants, chemical substances, or drug paraphernalia, except as specifically prescribed to that student by a physician.

    Students found to be in violation of this rule will be dismissed. The clarity of our “no-chance” policy supports our students’ commitment to resist adverse behaviors.

    Further remarks on the use of alcohol and illegal drugs:

    Students sacrifice a measure of liberty and privacy as a condition of being members of this community. In general, we hope that they will feel strengthened rather than diminished by such sacrifices, and view our no-chance policy in this context. Our program is distinguished by the quality and integrity of our students’ interaction with one another and our faculty and staff. We therefore view the use of alcohol and illegal drugs, and the impairment they produce, as antithetical to our mission, purpose, and ethos. Students who permit alcohol and illegal drugs to be a part of their Hotchkiss experience, and are discovered to be in violation of this rule, will lose their place among us.

    Health Center Policy

    Owing to our fundamental commitment to students’ safety and well-being, students experiencing alcohol or other drug intoxication themselves or observing such a state in peers are encouraged to use the Health Center Policy to seek immediate help free from disciplinary action. See Section IV for further details.

    Off-campus behavior

    The School strongly encourages students and their families to respect state and federal laws regarding alcohol and illegal drug use when students are off-campus, and to be especially cognizant of their liabilities under “social host” laws, which pertain to those people who serve alcohol in their own homes to guests under the legal drinking age. A student who returns to campus under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs consumed elsewhere is in violation of the School’s policy.

    Prescription medications

    Prescription medications are not to be kept in student rooms without the approval of the Health Center. See Health Services [Section IV] for School policy on handling of prescription medications.

  8. Use of tobacco and tobacco alternatives

    Smoking, possession or use of tobacco in any form; possession or use of any smokeless device by which to deliver nicotine (including “e-cigarettes” or “vaping” products); possession or use of tobacco alternatives in any form, such as herbal cigarettes.

  9. Disrespect

    Inherently disrespectful actions, whether they are verbal, nonverbal, written, virtual, or physical, and inherently disrespectful patterns of behavior, regardless of one’s stated intent, directed towards any member of the community.

    Students are expected to respond cooperatively to instructions issued by faculty members and other adults in the context of their role as figures of authority. If a student were to respond to such instructions with explicit or implicit hostility, defiance, or belligerence, the student may be found to be in violation of this provision.

  10. Trespassing and tampering

    Intrusions into locked or unlocked spaces without explicit permission or authorization; presence in places at times when one’s presence there is unwarranted; tampering with locks, windows, window screens, or similar obstacles in order to access prohibited places.

  11. Weapons

    Possession or use of dangerous weapons, which are defined as any object (including firearms, ammunition, slingshots, knives, swords, hatchets, incendiary devices, fireworks, or other explosive devices) that could reasonably be perceived as a weapon.

  12. Fire

    Possession or use of materials and objects that can start a fire; any action, regardless of intent, that compromises fire safety.

    Tampering with smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, pulling false alarms, blocking egresses in buildings, and failing to comply with fire alarms or fire alarm drills all constitute violations of this provision.

  13. Keys

    Unauthorized use or possession of School keys, student IDs, or fobs.

  14. Campus Bounds

    Leaving campus bounds without permission. During daylight hours, campus bounds are defined as:
    South: Sharon town line
    West: New York state line
    North: Massachusetts state line
    East: Housatonic River (near bank)

    From 7:45 p.m. (or dusk, if earlier) until 6:15 a.m., campus bounds are defined as:
    The portion of campus bordered by Route 41 and Route 112 and the far sides of the 4th, 5th, and 6th fairways of the Hotchkiss School Golf Course.

    When leaving campus at any time, students are expected to obtain the proper permission and to sign out on their dormitory corridor.  

    Permission for day trips to New York City can be given only by the Dean of Students, who must receive verbal or email permission from the student’s parents or guardians prior to 4:00 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the excursion.

  15. Automobiles

    Use of an automobile, as a driver or passenger, without permission; hitchhiking. Riding in an automobile driven by a person under 25 years of age (unless that person is a family member).

    Day students are never permitted to convey boarding students in vehicles during the term.

    Boarding students are customarily not permitted to have motorized vehicles on campus. In order for a boarding student to have a motorized vehicle on campus, permission must be received from and all keys must be held by the Dean of Students.

    For further rules pertaining to students and vehicles, please go to the Vehicle Policy.

  16. Curfew

    Violation of curfew.

    Sunday through Friday, all boarding students are expected to be in their dormitories by 10:00 p.m. On Saturday night, all boarding students are expected to be in their dormitories by 11:00 p.m. After these hours, students may not admit anyone to the building or leave the building without permission until 6:15 a.m. the following morning.

    Please consult the Dormitory Regulations for an account of rules and expectations pertaining specifically to residential life. Dormitory Regulations

  17. Use of Technology

    Failure to abide by the School’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Please refer to the Acceptable Use Policy link under the Supplements Section here: Acceptable Use Policy

  18. Gambling (including online gambling)

    is not permitted in the dormitories or anywhere else on campus.

  19. Possession or use of a fraudulent personal identification.

Other expectations associated with community behavior:

Dress Code

The School is committed to a student dress code that permits relative comfort in a variety of learning environments, encourages an appropriate degree of personal expression without causing distraction or offense to others, maintains equity, and contributes to the decorum and general seriousness of purpose that is meant to characterize community life during the school day.

The Dress Code is in effect for all School appointments and in main School areas (Main, Griswold, Ford Library, Chapel, Harris House, and Dining Hall) from 7:00 a.m. until the end of the class day. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, students may be out of Dress Code during the lunch hours.

The Dress Code specifically prohibits: t-shirts; polo shirts; clothing with logos and letters; athletic gear, such as mesh shorts, sweatshirts, and team jerseys; athletic shoes, sneakers, shower shoes, slippers, and flip-flops (though leather sandals are acceptable); denim garments; immodest apparel (e.g., exposed midriffs and décolletage; form-fitting clothing, including leggings worn alone as pants); tank tops, strapless tops and tops with straps less than two inches wide; and headwear (except when required by religious custom). Questions about the appropriateness of any specific garment should be addressed to the Dean of Students before it is worn.

Clothes should always be in good repair, neat, and worn as intended.

Collared shirts are expected to be worn with a jacket and/or tie, as are dresses and blouses with skirts or pants. The hemline for dresses and skirts should be at or below the wearer’s fingertips.

When the weather is especially warm, the Head of School may invoke a modified version of this Dress Code, which permits tailored shorts.

When the community gathers for special occasions, such as All–School meetings and special dinners, students are often instructed to dress more formally than as stipulated by the daily Dress Code. At such times, students wear coats and ties, dresses, or other attire that is similarly respectful of the given event’s significance.

Students are expected to respond cooperatively when informed that they are not in compliance with the Dress Code.

Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is a complicated issue in a boarding school comprised of students who may range in age from 13 to 20, and who hail from the full range of cultures, beliefs, and values. While we recognize that romantic relationships may involve consensual sexual intimacy and that sexual curiosity during adolescence is common, we are committed to creating a learning and residential environment characterized by safety, trust, and respect for all. For this reason, sexual intimacy is inadvisable in this setting.

The School offers education about sex and sexuality through the Human Development program, and provides a range of counseling and advising resources, with the related goals of fostering thoughtful decision-making and encouraging students to postpone sexual activity.

If and when it occurs, sexually intimate behavior should not infringe on the privacy or rights of others, victimize a person or group, or compromise the integrity of our community. This position is informed by our commitment to our students’ well-being and right to be free of unwanted exposure to others’ sexually intimate behavior. Responses to such behavior may include, but are not limited to, faculty conversations with the students involved, communication with the students’ advisors, referral to School health professionals, consultation with the Class Dean, and parental notification.

Students should review “Major Offenses, E. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment” (above) for information on Connecticut law and the age of consent.

Environmental Stewardship

All community members are expected to be conscious of their use of resources and to minimize waste. For more information on the School’s expectations in this area, which are overseen by the Director of Environmental Initiatives, and related matters, please go to:

Non–motorized vehicles

Students are responsible for the bicycles they bring to campus. They are required to lock, store, and operate them properly. Helmets must be worn when riding on public roads, and Connecticut traffic laws are to be obeyed at all times. Conveyances such as skateboards, scooters, and inline skates may not be used indoors and are forbidden on state roads. The School encourages the use of appropriate safety equipment.

Water Safety

Swimming is confined to The Hotchkiss Beach on Lake Wononscopomuc or the Hixon Pool. Three competent and confident swimmers must be present in order for any student to enter the water. We define competent as: 1) able to swim 50 yards without stopping, and 2) able to tread water without stopping for two minutes. Students who cannot do both are not competent swimmers, should not feel confident in their ability, and may not be counted as one of the three people required to be present in order for anyone to enter the water.

Students should take the School–administered swim test during the opening weeks of the academic year.

Further remarks on The Hotchkiss Beach:

Swimming for students is confined to the area marked by buoys. To swim beyond the buoys without explicit faculty permission is to be “out of bounds” and thus grounds for disciplinary action. [See “Community Regulations, N. Campus Bounds.”] The Hotchkiss Beach is off-limits after 6:30 p.m. In the event of severe weather, lightning, or thunder, all students must exit the lake and seek the nearest appropriate shelter. Additionally:

  • No boats of any kind are permitted in the swimming area
  • No horseplay on the raft, in the water, or on the beachfront
  • No fishing in the beach area
  • No swimming under the dock
  • No diving off the rocks
  • No dogs are allowed at The Hotchkiss Beach

Please keep in mind that our waterfront is abutted by private homes and The Interlaken Inn. Be respectful of the School’s neighbors and their property.

Further remarks on Hixon Pool:

No students should be in the Hixon Pool without a lifeguard or coach on deck.

Students are not permitted to have private watercraft on campus.
Use of any other watercraft without specific permission of the owner is not allowed.

The School’s commitment to students’ health and well-being is supported by Health Services, which is primarily the responsibility of the Dean of Student Health, who reports jointly to the Dean of Students and Head of School.

Health and Counseling Services

Health Services is located on the ground floor of Wieler dormitory. The Health Center is open and available to students at all times when school is in session. Our professional team provides medical and counseling services, and coordinates the care of students with our athletic trainers. We are equipped to care for the majority of common illnesses and injuries, and most ambulatory healthcare services. We have a number of licensed beds for day and overnight care of students when school is in session. Walk-in services are provided 24 hours a day by our nursing team. Doctor’s appointments can be scheduled during regular hours Monday through Friday, and our full-time Medical Director is on call 24 hours a day when school is in session.

How To Contact Us:
Telephone: (860) 435–3226 (24/7)
Fax: (860) 435–2422
General questions and communications can be sent to:

For emergency medical care, students will most often be transported to our closest hospital, Sharon Hospital, located five miles away in the town of Sharon (

Health Insurance

All students must have health insurance while attending Hotchkiss. A copy of the current medical insurance card and of a prescription card must be kept on file in the Health Center. International students, students who do not have a U.S.-based health insurance plan, and students with state Medicaid coverage must arrange for and purchase the student health insurance policy offered by the School. The insurance information is available from the Business Office.

Immunizations/Medical Records

The School sends a request for medical information to all current parents. It is a requirement of the State of Connecticut that all students have their health forms and immunization records returned to the School before arriving in September. Students without proper medical report forms on file with the Health Center upon arrival to campus at the start of the year will not be permitted to remain at Hotchkiss.

Prescription Medications

School policy mandates that the Health Center be notified of all prescription medications that students plan to bring to school. Medications are not to be kept in student rooms without approval of the Medical Director or the Director of Nursing.

The School requires that students prescribed psychotropic medications inform the Health Center of their treatment and bring their medication to the Health Center at the beginning of each term or at initiation of treatment. The conditions these medications may be used to treat include but are not limited to ADD, anxiety, and depression. All psychotropic medication will be stored at the Health Center. Students will pick up their medications according to the dispensing schedule determined by the Health Center. Students who are dispensed medication weekly are reminded to always lock their dormitory rooms. If the Health Center determines that the student cannot self-administer medications safely, the School reserves the right to revoke the student’s self-administration privileges and move to dispense daily.

The sharing or selling of such medications by students with other students is dangerous, illegal, and constitutes a Major Offense. See Major Offenses, G. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Counseling Services

Under the general oversight of the Dean of Student Health and the Director of Counseling, counselors are available to assist students with the variety of challenges, changes, and concerns that develop during adolescence and during school, including anxiety, depression, interpersonal conflicts, achievement conflicts, and concerns about social choices. Short-term outpatient treatment is provided at no cost. Students and parents are encouraged to seek out a counselor regarding personal or emotional concerns with a student. Four licensed therapists provide 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, on-call emotional crisis evaluations and counseling. If long-term treatment is needed, students may be referred to appropriate private licensed professionals in the community. Parents are routinely notified if ongoing treatment or support is provided or if issues of safety arise. Counselors provide support in cooperation with the Deans’ Office, Faculty Advisors, and Dormitory Faculty.

Psychiatric consultation is also available to students who request medication evaluations and diagnostic consultations. Usually, students who are prescribed medication are also seen in brief psychotherapy in the counseling department.

Please note that fees for Psychiatric Services are not included in the health and medical fee of the School’s tuition. Parents must make separate arrangements for payment.

Medical Excuses

Students too ill to attend classes during the school day will remain in the Health Center for rest, observation, or treatment. Medical and sports excuses are only given for classes or sports missed due to significant illness or injury. Retroactive medical excuses are not given. Occasionally, following an examination and determination by the Medical Director, Director of Nursing, or Assistant Director of Nursing, a student may be discharged to his or her dormitory room for the day. When a student is discharged to her dormitory for the day, the Health Center will notify the Deans’ Office and the Dormitory Faculty. When a student is admitted to stay overnight in the Health Center, the Dormitory Faculty, Deans’ Office, and parents are notified. Parents are not routinely contacted concerning their child’s non-urgent medical care and treatment, but should feel free to be in touch with the Health Center if they have any questions or need any further information.

Sports Medicine

The Athletic Training Office is in the Mars Athletic Center and is staffed by certified athletic trainers who are available daily for the assessment and treatment of sports-related injuries.

They are available daily for the assessment and treatment of sports-related injuries. The athletic training room is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the fall and spring, and from 1:00 to 8:20 p.m. in the winter season. It is open Wednesday and Saturday from noon until all home games are finished. The ImPACT concussion program, a computer-based neurocognitive testing program, is administered to all students and is used in
the evaluation of head injuries.

Seeking Help

Students should feel free to seek guidance from any faculty member in order to resolve or seek support with a problem. If a student is seeking help or guidance, the student may disclose a past violation of a School rule involving drug use or alcohol during such a discussion, and no disciplinary consequence will result from that conversation. Following the discussion, and consultation with the student, parents may need to be notified. Parents and other School personnel will always be notified, in consultation with the student, in situations where a student’s safety is of concern.

Students who wish to seek help or guidance or share concerns about peers’ behavior may also submit a Student Assistance Report. These forms, like counseling conversations, are kept private, within the limits of the law and School policy, and are never a part of a student’s academic record. The form can be found online here.

This form will go directly to the Dean of Student Health and the Director of Counseling. The Dean of Student Health and the Director of Counseling will identify resources and next steps best suited to address the concern. The ultimate goal is to provide support to students before more substantial problems arise.

Student Assistance Reports will be reviewed throughout the day, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Dean of Student Health or the Director of Counseling will acknowledge a report when it is received.

The Health Center Policy

Under the Health Center Policy, students in active violation of the School’s rules regarding drug and alcohol use may share their situation with a faculty member in order to seek help and safety. The faculty member to whom the student confides must immediately take the student to the Health Center for medical care and notify the Dean on Duty. Though the student’s parents, Dormitory Faculty, Class Dean, and Faculty Advisor will be notified consequently, no disciplinary consequences will result from the student’s disclosure, unless a faculty member has already observed or retained material evidence of the student’s violation of School rules. Students using the Health Center Policy to seek help for their peers may speak with a faculty member, call Security, or go directly and immediately to the Health Center. A student seeking help for a peer should not attempt to manage the situation alone (i.e., do not attempt to escort an affected peer to the Health Center by yourself). Always call an adult for assistance as soon as possible. The Class Dean and the Dean of Student Health will determine the appropriate follow-up plan, which will often involve specific behavioral expectations.

Policy on Sharing of Health Information

The Hotchkiss School recognizes that information regarding a student’s health is highly sensitive and recognizes the importance of maintaining appropriate confidentiality. The School understands that a student’s ability to trust treatment providers and health advisors with sensitive private information about his or her personal health history and behaviors furthers the full disclosure important to health and well-being. Of equal importance, of course, is the School’s obligation to provide for the student’s safety, security, and well-being, as well as the safety, security, and well-being of other students and the community in general. In this light, the School must have full and accurate information about each student’s health and must occasionally share a student’s health information with others in the School, parents, or guardians.

Accordingly, the School must be informed if a student is being monitored or treated, or is taking medication for a protected chronic or serious medical condition or for ADD, ADHD, or another learning disability; or for a psychiatric condition. To accomplish that, parents or guardians (and students, in some cases) may need to arrange for or authorize treatment providers to disclose information to the School.

In addition, the School may determine that its disclosure and sharing of a student’s medical, psychological, and psychiatric information—including HIV/AIDS or substance abuse treatment information, if applicable—with faculty and others is reasonably necessary and helpful to: (1) the student’s health, well-being, safety, education, and full participation in the Hotchkiss community; or (2) other students’ health, well-being, safety, education, and full participation in the Hotchkiss community; or (3) the Hotchkiss community’s safety and well-being.

Consistent with this policy, as a condition of enrollment, parents and students agree to provide all the required information and to sign any written authorizations the School determines are necessary to permit the School to obtain or share health information described above.

Leave of Absence and Medical Leave Policy

For a variety of reasons, time away from School may be necessary for a student. The following descriptions outline typical grounds for and forms of leaves, although individual circumstances may require alternative responses.

Personal Leave

Personal Leave is granted to a student by his or her Class Dean at the request of the family, usually in order to attend to personal matters at home. Personal Leaves are typically brief in duration and do not exceed two weeks. In order to be granted a Personal Leave, the student must complete a Personal Leave form (available upon request in the Deans’ Office) with his or her Class Dean. During a personal Leave of Absence, students are expected to communicate with teachers about missed work. Teachers will take steps to help a student make up missed work and, when appropriate, teachers will adjust expectations about the work that needs to be completed to meet the requirements of the course.

Medical Leave

The policy below outlines the process the School will follow when a student requires a Medical Leave. In such cases, students are given individualized attention, consideration, and support throughout the process. Each Medical Leave is designed to address the needs of an individual student, and the goal of a Medical Leave is to enable students to return to School with an increased opportunity for academic and social success. Students should take the time needed to achieve this goal.

In administering this policy, the School does not discriminate against qualified students with a disability.  In particular, the School is committed to assuring that students with a disability enjoy equal access to, and an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from, the programs and services offered by the School in compliance with federal and state nondiscrimination requirements.  Accordingly, the School will reasonably accommodate students with medical and mental health conditions in accordance with applicable law and whenever appropriate will support accommodations that enable the student to remain in School.

  1. When: A Medical Leave is granted by the School for the management of a physical or emotional illness that: (a) interferes with a student’s ability to participate in the School’s program; (b) has an undue negative impact on others; and/or (c) is beyond the practical limits of care that the Health Services Department can provide.  Certain medical and psychological conditions and behaviors require more treatment, support, supervision, and care than a boarding school can provide, and as a consequence they are best handled outside the boarding school setting when the student’s needs and any risks associated with the student’s medical condition cannot be addressed or reduced to an acceptable level through accommodation.  In some situations, these conditions and behaviors may also result in undue disruption in the community and in the residential life of the School. Should such a situation arise, the School reserves the right to grant or require a Medical Leave or a Medical Separation.

  2.  Who Decides: The decision concerning whether a student is to be placed on a Medical Leave shall be made by the Leave Team, which includes the Dean of Students, the Dean of Student Health, the Dean of Academic Life, and the student’s Class Dean. The Leave Team also determines the length of the leave and what conditions must be met in order to return (e.g., relevant assessments, counseling, educational activities, etc.) as outlined below. The Leave Team works closely with the professionals in the Health Center, and in all such cases will actively consult with the student and, where appropriate, with the student’s family for the purpose of procuring their input into the decision.  Determining the expectations and structure of a medical leave, and how best to meet the needs of the student in accordance with the existing standards of the School, is an interactive process between the student, family, and School.

  3. Basis for Deciding: The Leave Team may make its determination on the basis of: (a) an assessment by the Medical Director; (b) the student’s clinical needs; (c) careful consideration of the student’s safety and well-being; (d) the student’s possible impact on the safety and well-being of the community; (e) the student’s capacity to participate in the residential and academic program of the School with or without accommodation;(f) the School’s ability to provide appropriate care; and (g) information received from the student and the student’s family concerning the student’s condition, needs, and preferences.

  4. Duration: The School will determine the duration of the Medical Leave and the minimum length of absence. Because every student’s situation is different, the length of recommended leave will be determined individually.

  5. What is Required: During the Medical Leave, once a student has been placed on Medical Leave, the student and family will receive a letter outlining the School’s expectations and requirements with respect to the Medical Leave. Letters are individualized and may include specific criteria, conditions, and behavioral expectations relevant to the student’s needs and the reasons that informed the Medical Leave. In general, there are three requirements during the Medical Leave:
                           a.  The student will receive ongoing treatment by a medical professional appropriate to the student’s condition;
                           b.  The family will engage in ongoing and regular communication and cooperation with the School about the student’s treatment and the School’s expectations during the Medical Leave;
                           c.  The student and family will comply with such other conditions that the School articulates in the Medical Leave letter.

  6. Returning from a Medical Leave: Return from a Medical Leave is not automatic. The School gives significant weight to documentation from the student’s treatment providers regarding the student’s ability to function academically and safely at the School with or without accommodation. The School will exercise the right to make a final decision about a student’s return to campus. The Leave Team shall determine whether and under what circumstances a student should return to School or be medically separated from the School. The Leave Team then forwards a recommendation to the Head of School. Factors that inform the Leave Team’s recommendation include: the student’s and the family’s compliance with the requirements of the leave; the student’s clinical needs; safety considerations; impact on the well-being of the community; the student’s capacity to participate in the residential and academic program of the School with or without accommodation; and the School’s  ability to provide appropriate care. In order for the School to consider a request to return from a Medical Leave:
                           a.  All necessary information as specified in the Medical Leave letter must be forwarded to the School by the deadlines outlined in the letter;
                           b.  The student must demonstrate an ability to participate safely in the program of the School with or without accommodation, and the School must determine it has the ability to provide the appropriate treatment, support, and supervision required for the student to return and participate in School;
                           c.  The student must satisfy any condition or behavioral expectations placed on the student in connection with his or her return from a Medical Leave;
                           d.  Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements may result in a continuation of the student’s Medical Leave or in a Medical Separation.

  7. Medical Separations:  A Medical Separation from School is authorized by the Head of School following a recommendation by the Leave Team. Although a Medical Separation involves the loss of a student’s place in School, it leaves open the possibility of application for readmission. It therefore is to be distinguished from withdrawal or dismissal. A medical separation is reserved for the student who, for reasons of illness, cannot meet the requirements of the School, with or without an accommodation. Conditions that might warrant medical separations include but are not limited to: incapacitating physical or emotional illness; serious drug or alcohol problems; or any condition requiring more treatment, support, supervision, and care than the School can provide.


Dormitory life at Hotchkiss, which is governed by the Dormitory Regulations, is primarily the responsibility of the Dean of Residential Life, who reports to the Dean of Students.

Our dormitories are places of shelter, safety, rest, study, spontaneous fun, and leisure. They are also places where our students learn to mature intellectually, emotionally, and physically, and live well with others in order to prepare for, most imminently, the greater liberty of college life. Living well with one another in close quarters depends upon respect for our rules, as well as sensitivity, patience, and effective communication.

Each student is required to know and comply with our Dormitory Regulations. No one should expect to be preemptively warned to adhere to them, and one’s assertion of ignorance of a rule will not be accepted as an excuse for one’s violation of it. Rules and policies may be modified or amended during the School year. Such changes, if and when they are made, are publicized to the community. A comprehensive listing of dormitory rules and regulations is available at Dormitory Regulations .

Safety and Privacy

All external dormitory doors are electronically locked and controlled. Upon arrival at the School, each student is issued, and is then subsequently responsible for, both a student ID, which provides access to their dormitories during approved times, and a dormitory room key. To help protect personal property, each room has been equipped with an individual lock. Students should keep their doors locked when they are not in their rooms, and should not enter another student’s room in his or her absence. Theft is rare, but students should exercise common sense in deciding to bring valuables from home. Marking common items with one’s name, keeping track of one’s things, and not leaving money visible or in obvious locations are all advisable practices.

Contractors assigned to perform work on campus are obligated to wear insignia issued by the Security Office. Any unfamiliar person not equipped with such insignia should be reported immediately to Dormitory Faculty or Campus Security. Anyone equipped with such insignia behaving in a questionable manner should be reported immediately to Dormitory Faculty or Campus Security. No one should fear any repercussion from making such a report in good faith.


Dormitory rooms are assigned for the entire school year, and are not available for use during vacations, except with special permission from the Dean of Students or the Dean of Residential Life. Guests are permissible only within certain guidelines (see: “Overnight Guests”). The School expects that students will not stay late at the start of or return early from vacations.


Rooms are supplied with a bed, mattress, bureau, desk, desk chair, and a lamp. Each room has a closet. Students are advised not to bring additional furniture. Anyone who brings extra is required to remove the furniture. Only surge-protected power strips are permitted, and they are available for purchase in the School Store.

First–floor rooms are equipped with window coverings or shades. Students should furnish their own bedspreads and small rugs, if desired. All pictures and other decorations may not cover more than 50% of the walls and must be hung using only an approved removable adhesive (available in our School Store). The use of thumbtacks and transparent tape on walls of a room is not permitted. Hanging and/or suspending of tapestries is also not permitted. Empty alcoholic beverage containers and similar items may not be used to decorate rooms or common areas.

For further information, please go to: Room Guidelines

Room Changes

Room changes are rare. They require extensive deliberation among and ultimately the approval of the Dean of Residential Life, the Dormitory Head, and the Dormitory Faculty on the student’s corridor. Any student wishing to change a room should first consult with his or her Proctors and the Dormitory Head.

Room Inspection

For obvious reasons pertaining to health and fire safety, students are expected to keep their rooms neat and clean. Dormitory Faculty inspect students’ rooms each Sunday night. This inspection does not constitute a Room Search (see below). Rooms are also inspected at the beginning and end of each year. Dormitory Faculty report any damages or broken items to the Dormitory Head and the Business Office, and request repairs during the academic year if and when necessary. Occupants are charged with the cost of repairing damages to their rooms.

Room Searches

Faculty and/or staff will enter a student’s room if there is a concern about that student’s whereabouts or safety. On rare occasions, circumstances may warrant a formal search for contraband in a student’s room. In most cases, Dormitory Faculty will conduct the search in the presence of the student and a Proctor. In unusual circumstances, the search may be conducted with only the student present or in the student’s absence. If and when the student is not present for a room search, either the Dean of Students, Dean on Duty, or the Dean of Residential Life should accompany the Dormitory Faculty conducting the search.

Study Hours

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays:

  • Preps and lower mids have study hall in their rooms from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. A prep or lower mid may sign out with a teacher’s note to an alternate study location.

  • During the first marking period, upper mids have two nights of in-dormitory study hall per week and will have study hours, either in or outside of the dormitory on the other three nights. After the first marking period, upper mids do not have official study hall.

  • Though they will not be required to be in a specific location until the 10:00 p.m. check–in, seniors are expected to respect study conditions throughout campus.

On Wednesdays:

  • Preps and lower mids have study hall in their rooms from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • From 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., all students have free time.

On Saturdays and Sundays:

  • There is no formally scheduled study hall.
  • On Saturday night, students check in by 11:00 p.m.
  • On Sunday night, all dormitories and the Main Building are under study conditions from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


From Sunday night through Friday night:

  • All students have a dormitory check–in at 10:00 p.m. Seniors and upper mids who are utilizing out–of–dormitory study hours must be back inside the dormitories by 10:00 p.m.
  • On Saturday nights, all students must check in by 11:00 p.m.


Every night except Saturday, preps and lower mids must have their lights out by 11:00 p.m. On Saturday nights, preps and lower mids must have their lights out by midnight. All upperclass students must be quiet by 11:00 p.m. Electronic devices are expected to be turned off.

Students are strongly encouraged to abide by these limits, which promote the habits necessary in order to sustain success and well–being. A student who finds himself or herself struggling to complete assigned work within the parameters established by the Lights-out policy should confer with his or her Faculty Advisor.

Common Room Visiting

All students are welcome to visit with peers in other dormitories’ common rooms at times posted in each dormitory common room and available online at: Common Room Visiting Hours.

Inter–Room Visiting

Inter–Room Visiting among all dormitories promotes learning, friendship, partner or group study, and community among students affiliated with different dormitories. It is permitted through a sign–in and sign–out process. All students have the privilege, although specific times and frequency vary for members of different classes. Students found misusing the privilege or in violation of the Inter–Room Visiting Policy will face disciplinary action. Please review the Inter–Room Policy at the Inter-Room Visiting link: Inter-Room Visiting Inter-Room Visiting.

Leaving Campus

Students needing to leave campus during a weekday or evening (but not overnight) should request permission from one of their dormitory faculty members. Students must sign out on the appropriate sheet posted in their dormitory. Students may not leave campus after sunset.

Students needing to go home or elsewhere overnight on a weekend must receive specific permission to do so. Weekend procedures are posted at: Weekend Procedures.

Overnight Guests

Students wishing to host an overnight guest of the same sex from another dormitory on a Saturday night may make such requests using forms available from Dormitory Faculty. Students in detention may not have a sleepover due to the conflict in time to get permissions and detention itself. Day students are welcome to stay overnight on Saturday nights, provided they receive permission either verbally or by email from the Dormitory Faculty on duty each time. Students wishing to host an overnight guest of the same sex who is not a Hotchkiss student must seek the appropriate permissions early in the week before the intended visit using forms available in the Deans’ Office. Outside guests are only permitted to sleep over on Saturday nights.

Fire Safety and Fire Drills

Every precaution should and will be taken to prevent dormitory fires. Smoking or any other open flame is not permitted in dormitory rooms. Candles and incense are not permitted. Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire hoses must not be tampered with under any circumstances. Each dormitory is required to conduct a fire drill in the first week of the academic year and monthly afterwards. For more information on fire safety, as well as a list of permissible and impermissible appliances, please go to: Fire Safety and Appliances.

Our academic policies and practices, which are governed by the Academic Regulations, are primarily the responsibility of the Dean of Academic Life, who reports to the Head of School.

Though teaching and learning permeate every facet of our broad engagement with students, the classroom sits at the heart of our enterprise. We define the classroom as a space where capable, intrinsically motivated students, guided by critically reflective teachers, deepen their capacity for learning and enhance their appreciation of learning undertaken by others.

Each student is required to know and comply with our Academic Regulations. No one should expect to be preemptively warned to adhere to them, and one’s assertion of ignorance of a rule will not be accepted as an excuse for one’s violation of it. Rules and policies may be modified or amended during the School year. Such changes, if and when they are made, are publicized to the community.

Academic Integrity

As stated in the School’s Statement of Goals and Purposes, the School “strives to develop in students a lifelong love of learning, responsible citizenship, and personal integrity. We are a community based on trust, mutual respect, and compassion, and we hold all members of the community accountable for upholding these values.”

Academic integrity is integral to our purpose as it is based on honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. It also trains students for the rigor of college studies and affirms the bond between intellect and character. Please go to: Academic Integrity Policy .

Daily Attendance

Students are expected to arrive at all required appointments punctually, prepared, and ready to participate as needed. Required appointments include class meetings, athletics and similar co-curricular obligations, Chapel, Auditorium, and All–School meetings.

Hotchkiss students are expected to meet all regularly scheduled appointments. The Class Dean will coordinate an attendance review for students who miss five class periods (excused or unexcused) in any course in a semester. The findings of the review will be communicated to the student and his or her parents. The Class Dean will coordinate a second attendance review if a student misses 10 class periods (excused or unexcused) in any course in a semester. A student who misses 15 class periods (excused or unexcused) in any course in a semester may not be eligible for credit for that course. The Dean or Associate Dean of Academic Life will review each case in consultation with the Class Dean and classroom teacher.

Evening Attendance

Regularly scheduled evening athletic practices take precedence over all other appointments, except for All–School meetings. Regularly scheduled evening music, dance, or drama rehearsals take precedence over all other appointments, except for athletics and All–School meetings. Whenever possible, students are expected to inform relevant adults of possible conflicts substantially in advance.


Permission to be away from School is granted rarely and then in accordance with rules established by the Faculty. Parents should contact their child’s Faculty Advisor or Class Dean to discuss any non–School sponsored absences in advance. Neither binding commitments nor transportation arrangements should be made until the student has received the Class Dean’s permission. For more information on absences, and the consequences that attend unexcused absences, please go to: Attendance Policy.

Diploma Requirements

To qualify for a diploma, students must be currently enrolled and in good standing in the School, must satisfy the various departmental requirements regarding level of study and proficiency, and must complete successfully the requirements as detailed in the Course Listing. Students should carefully plan their academic program with their Faculty Advisors, making sure that they will meet Hotchkiss diploma requirements and complete a challenging, comprehensive course of study that complements their interests and talents. For information about Course Load and Subject Requirements, please go to: Academic Regulations.

Completion of Course Work

Submission of Course Work to Instructors

Students are expected to take responsibility for the timely delivery to their instructors of all coursework in the manner and format prescribed by the instructors.

Late or Postponed Work

Instructors may grant students permission to submit late work during the term provided that the work is submitted by the date determined by the instructor and before the end of the marking period.

Work Missed During the Term

The basic responsibility for permitting the submission of late work during the term is the instructor’s. However, it may sometimes be the case that students have grounds for seeking extensions that they do not wish to disclose to their instructors. Because we do not wish for such discomfort to impede the granting of valid extensions, students in such circumstances may seek permission from their Class Dean to submit late work during the term in one of four carefully defined circumstances:

  • Religious observance: Students should assume responsibility for anticipating conflicts between deadlines and their religious observances, and should consult with their Class Dean at the earliest opportunity.
  • Incapacitating illness: By definition, an incapacitating illness requires immediate medical attention. Students suffering from an incapacitating illness should proceed directly to the Health Center in order to seek treatment, and then notify their Class Dean of their condition at the earliest opportunity.
  • Serious emergency: The death or injury of a family member or close friend constitutes a serious emergency, and students who learn of such a distressing event should contact their Class Dean immediately. Computer crashes and family members’ birthdays and weddings are not serious emergencies, and conflicts between deadlines and such events must be resolved with the relevant instructors.
  • A comparable crisis: Class Deans are expected to employ consistent judgment in determining whether or not a given situation rises to the level of a serious emergency, and to consult with the Dean of Academic Life if and when necessary.

Students in such circumstances may request that their Class Dean communicate directly with their instructors and may request confidentiality. Owing to the potentially sensitive nature of the grounds for an extension granted by a Class Dean, instructors are encouraged to accept such extensions without comment to the student, and to consult with the Class Dean subsequently, if and when appropriate.

Students who seek to extend a deadline for reasons other than those listed above should seek the permission of their instructor, as the instructor is the only person who can decide, in the context of the nature and requirements of the course, whether such permission is appropriate. This permission may not, however, extend beyond the end of the term. Permission to submit work still incomplete at the end of term may be granted only in consultation with the Dean of Academic Life.

Work Incomplete at the End of Term

With the consent of the relevant Head of Department and the Dean of Academic Life, an instructor may grant an incomplete mark (I) when circumstances deemed to be beyond the student’s control preclude the completion of assigned work. Such circumstances may include prolonged injury or illness, or instances when the student has been called away from campus during a period of final assessment. Prior to the close of a marking period, the instructor should inform the student how the incomplete work may affect his or her grade. In consultation with the student’s instructor, Faculty Advisor, and Class Dean, the Dean of Academic Life will set a deadline for the incomplete work.

In authorizing a mark of I, the Dean of Academic Life will stipulate the date on which the student’s late work will be due and the date on which the instructor is expected to submit a course grade to the registrar. This second date may not be later than one month after the beginning of the final examination period. If the student’s work has not been completed in time for the instructor to report a grade to the Registrar by the deadline stipulated, then the instructor will submit a grade for the student that reflects the absence of the missing work, or the Dean of Academic Life will convert the mark of I to a grade of F.

In most cases, students resolve incomplete grades when they finish the work required for the course. In two cases, incomplete grades for a marking period may remain unresolved. First, a student who must change levels within a course may be unable to complete the work missed in the course he or she joins as a result of the level change. Second, a student who misses a substantial portion of a course for medical reasons but who is cleared to earn credit for the course may be unable to complete all of the work of the marking period. A mark of Incomplete is not a grade and thus will not be reported on the student’s official transcript.

Use of Computers and Postponement of Work

Problems that may arise from the use of computers, software, and printers normally are not considered legitimate reasons for the postponement of work. A student who uses computers is responsible for operating them properly and completing work on time. It is expected that a student will exercise reasonable prudence to safeguard materials, including saving data on removable disks at frequent intervals and making duplicate copies of work files. Any computer work should be completed well in advance of the deadline in order to avoid last–minute technical problems as well as delays caused by heavy demand on shared computer resources. Authority to grant extensions on the basis of computer difficulties resides solely with the instructor.

Postponement of Final Examinations

Only the Dean of Academic Life may authorize postponement of a final examination. The Dean of Academic Life may give such permission because of a religious observance, an incapacitating illness, a serious emergency, or a comparable crisis. A student’s end–of–term travel plans are not a basis for the postponement of a final examination. Permission to postpone a final examination does not also carry authorization for a student to submit other work late in that course.

Make–up examinations are scheduled and administered by the Dean of Academic Life. The Dean of Academic Life automatically records a grade of F in a course for a student who fails to take an officially scheduled makeup examination at the appointed time. In such cases, if a grade is not received by the established date, the Dean of Academic Life automatically records a grade of F in the course.

Final Examinations Interrupted by Sudden and Serious Illness or Other Emergency

It is normally the expectation that when a student begins a final examination but does not complete it, the student will receive credit only for the work completed on the examination. If, however, a student becomes unable to complete an examination because of a sudden and serious illness or other emergency during the examination, the student may request authorization from the Dean of Academic Life to take a make–up final examination. In such a case, the student must explain his or her departure to the person proctoring the examination before leaving the room, proceed directly to Health Services, and notify the Dean of Academic Life as soon as possible.

Adding or Dropping Courses

Students may add or drop yearlong courses at the start of the first semester and semester courses at the start of each semester. After the first two weeks of a semester, students who wish to add a course must first discuss the matter with their Faculty Advisor, then receive permission from the Dean of Academic Life and the instructor. Semester or yearlong courses dropped after the first marking period and semester courses dropped after three weeks in the second semester remain on the student’s transcript with the cumulative grade at the time the course was dropped, but no credit is awarded.

On– and Off–Campus Projects

On– and Off–Campus Projects (both referred to as OCPs) provide second-semester Seniors with the opportunity to pursue independent academic projects in lieu of standard academic courses in the spring term. On–Campus Projects take the place of one course; Off–Campus Projects take the place of all courses. The application process for OCPs begins with a written proposal at the end of the first semester. If the OCP is approved, then the student must complete the project successfully by the end of the fourth marking period in order to be a diploma candidate. More information about the OCPs can be obtained in the Academic Office.


Students should expect to complete from three–to–four hours of homework per week for each of their classes. For most classes, this means about 45 minutes of preparation for each class meeting, though the greater demands of Honors and AP courses often require more time. Humanities homework assignments generally require 30 minutes or less.

Classes are excused to compensate for mandatory attendance at evening presentations related to the class. This policy does not apply to All–School meetings. Teachers granting excused absences to a class must also notify their Heads of Department.

If a student has three or more tests, papers, or projects due on the same day, the student has the option of having the paper or test that was assigned last postponed until the next day. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the teacher whose assignment is being postponed as much in advance as possible. It is not acceptable to inform the teacher on the day of the test.

Grace Days

Grace days are recorded on the School calendar distributed to students and follow most All–School meetings and the day after Parents Weekend, Thanksgiving Holiday, and Long Winter Weekend. No major test, paper, or project may be due on a grace day. Homework assignments are limited to half the normal amount of time for that day for each teacher, no matter when the assignment was given.

Examination and Project Periods

At the end of each semester, the School typically creates a schedule for exams and projects. A reading day precedes the first exam/project slot to provide students with uninterrupted time for preparation. No mandatory activities may be scheduled on the reading day, including review sessions (unless the exam is the next day), rehearsals, extracurricular activities, or major social events. Exams are typically two hours in length, and students must remain in the exam room for the entire examination period. Only the Dean of Academic Life or Associate Dean of Academic Life may reschedule a student’s exam. Teachers may not share exam or project results until the completion of the examination/project period. Teachers keep graded exams until the end of the next semester. Seniors are not required to take exams in June, unless they fall below a certain grade point average as set by each department.

Grades and Comments

Hotchkiss grades on a traditional scale, with A+ being the highest grade and F considered a failing grade. Students with an “A+” or “A” average earn first honor roll and students with an “A-” average earn second honor roll. Students placed on probation for academic dishonesty are not eligible for honor roll that semester.

Grades are reported four times a year: at the end of the first marking period in October, the second marking period (including first–semester grades) in December, the third marking period in March, and the fourth marking period (including second–semester and full–year grades) in June.

Comments—from classroom teachers and Dormitory Faculty—are written in December and June; seniors, however, do not receive classroom comments at the end of the second semester. Dormitory Faculty write comments for residents on their corridor, including day students, at various times during the school year. Preps and lower mids receive dormitory comments at the end of the first and third marking periods; upper mids receive dormitory comments at the end of the second and fourth marking periods; and seniors receive dormitory comments at the end of the second marking period.

Teachers also write class comments at the end of any marking period for a student who is failing or incomplete in his or her course for that marking period or cumulatively for the semester or year. Faculty Advisors write comments at the end of each semester.

Failed Courses

When students fail a course, they are given the opportunity to make up the failure in one of two ways. If appropriate, the course may be repeated the following year. Students also have the opportunity to take what Hotchkiss calls a “condition exam,” usually in August, after working with a tutor or completing coursework elsewhere.

Academic Review Committee (ARC)

ARC identifies students in significant academic trouble. The Class Deans, the Dean of Academic Life, and the Director of Study Skills will meet to review the records of students who are in academic difficulty. Through consultation with the student, the Faculty Advisor, the Dormitory Faculty, and the teachers, ARC diagnoses the sources of the student’s struggles and initiates action for improvement. The Dean of Academic Life is primarily responsible for reporting to parents any faculty decisions regarding academic review.

The criteria for identifying a student in academic difficulty are: (1) one “F” or two “D’s” for any marking period; (2) unsatisfactory effort or performance significantly below demonstrated academic ability; and/or (3) potential to be unable to fulfill a diploma requirement. Once any of the above criteria has been met, the ARC process is set in motion. Please see: ARC Responses .

Modifications of the Foreign Language Requirement

Students with learning, speech, hearing, or other disabilities that significantly impact their ability to acquire a foreign language may request an alternative course in substitution for the foreign language requirement. The student must submit a written request to the Dean of Academic Life and provide documentation that demonstrates significant difficulty with language–based tasks in reading, spelling, writing, speaking or listening, which impact language acquisition. The Dean of Academic Life may grant an Alternative Language Diploma Requirement (ALDR) or waiver.

The Dean of Academic Life, in consultation with the Heads of the Classical and Modern Languages Department, will design the ALDR. The student’s transcript will note the granting of an ALDR or waiver, as the case may be.


Reclassification of students is rare. With guidance from the Faculty Advisor, Class Dean, and the Dean of Academic Life, a student seeking reclassification submits a written petition to the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing (CHAS). According to CHAS guidelines, the student must provide a relevant context and compelling rationale for reclassification.

Students Separated from School

A student who is dismissed or withdraws from School prior to discipline will not receive credit from Hotchkiss for outstanding work. The Dean of Academic Life will request an exit grade (i.e., the cumulative grade point average at the time of separation) and a written narrative of completed and outstanding work from each teacher to create a comprehensive document that will be sent to the separated student’s new school so it can determine the student’s credits. A student who is dismissed or withdraws prior to disciplinary action in the last four weeks of the spring term may petition the Committee on Academic Standing (CHAS) to receive credit for the year.

Students who withdraw or are separated from School must return their School–owned computers upon departure.


Students seeking readmission from a Voluntary, Medical, or Required Withdrawal or Separation should complete the application for readmission available through the Academic Life office. Readmission is not automatic, nor is it guaranteed. The application for readmission and all supporting documentation (e.g., Letters, Recommendations, Transcripts) must be received by February 15th. Students will be notified of a decision on their application on or around March 1st for Fall return in the following academic year.

The Readmission process is initiated when the Academic Life office receives your application. You may request an application from the Academic Life office, 860-435-3186.

Review of Your Request for Readmission

The Readmission Team, which includes the Dean of Students, Dean of Academic Life, Dean of Student Health, Dean of Residential Life, Dean of Admissions, and the student’s Class Dean, reviews requests and determines whether a student should return to School. The Readmission Team forwards a recommendation to the Head of School. Factors that inform the Readmission Team’s determination and recommendation include: coursework completed elsewhere since withdrawal; the student’s capacity to participate fully and safely in the program of the School; the student’s needs and impact on the well–being of the community; and the student’s Letter addressing the following:

  • When and why did the student leave Hotchkiss?
  • Why does the student wish to return to Hotchkiss at this time? (If appropriate, please address readiness to return to school).
  • What has been done since leaving Hotchkiss and what has been learned from the experiences?
  • If appropriate, an assessment of the issues confronted at Hotchkiss and following withdrawal or separation, how they have been addressed.

If the student attended another school following withdrawal or separation, an official transcript must be sent to the Registrar by the deadline of February 15th. Transcripts can be mailed or faxed to the Registrar’s attention at 860-435-3691.

If the student received medical and/or mental health treatment related to the reasons for the withdrawal or separation, the reapplication must include a letter from the physician and/or mental health provider detailing the length, frequency, and nature of treatment, and an assessment of the readiness to return to Hotchkiss.

Committee on Honors and Academic Standing (CHAS)

CHAS convenes as necessary to respond to the petitions of individual students making requests for accommodations and exceptions to academic policy. CHAS is chaired by the Dean of Academic Life and consists of the Associate Dean of Faculty (who serves as secretary), four elected faculty members, and two elected students. The Dean of Student Health is present as a non–voting member. In matters involving students who are not U.S. citizens, the Director of Global Initiatives is invited to be present, as well. At the end of the academic year, the authority of CHAS is transferred temporarily to the Dean of Academic Life. Students seeking an accommodation or exception to academic policy should make an appointment with the Dean of Academic Life to review the process for submitting a petition to CHAS.

Absences for Standardized Tests

PSAT, TOEFL, ACT, SAT. Students taking the PSAT, TOEFL, SAT Reasoning, or SAT Subject test are excused from all classes and homework due on the day of the test. Upper mids, however, are not excused from Saturday classes in the fall of the upper-mid year to take the SAT Reasoning or the ACT.

Teachers must give students sufficient time to make up missed material; they may not give a double assignment for the next class.

Students are responsible for scheduling an extra help session with their teacher to go over missed material, if needed. Missed quizzes or tests should be rescheduled within the next three class days.

AP Exams. Students taking a morning AP exam are excused from all appointments after the end of classes the day before the exam. Most morning AP exams end in time for students to return to their normal schedule for periods 5a and 5b, attending class or lunch as usual, and they are expected to do so unless their testing extends past noon. Students taking an afternoon exam are excused from their morning classes. Students are expected to notify teachers well in advance that they will be missing a class due to an AP exam and make up any missed work in a timely fashion. Students have the option of an automatic 24-hour extension for any quiz, test, or paper due in other courses on the day of an AP exam. AP teachers may not assign homework for the next regularly scheduled class meeting after the exam and may give up to two class cuts in order to allow the student time to catch up in other subjects. AP classes do not end with the AP exams and meet as usual until the end of the term.

Off–Campus Programs

Students have opportunities to spend a marking period, semester, or year away from campus, on an exchange, semester or yearlong program.

Exchange programs provide students with an intercultural learning opportunity that challenges them to blend the knowledge, skills, and understanding gained at Hotchkiss with those gained in a different cultural context. While exchanges focus on participating in the community life of the receiving school and on experiencing the culture of the host country, underclass students should plan a course of study that enables them to reintegrate into the Hotchkiss program as seamlessly as possible.

Students interested in participating in any exchange program should contact the Director of International Programs for details and guidelines.

Sanctioned off–campus semester and yearlong programs are designed and run by other institutions and organizations, and are considered unqualified extensions of the Hotchkiss program. Coursework completed during these off–campus programs receives full credit, is incorporated into Hotchkiss grade point average calculations, and satisfies Hotchkiss distribution requirements. The grades received at a sanctioned program appear on the student’s Hotchkiss transcript, with appropriate program and semester/year notations. In addition, Hotchkiss students will be liable for the disciplinary action taken by off–campus programs. Students dismissed from a School–sponsored program for disciplinary reasons will be dismissed from Hotchkiss.

These semester programs are sanctioned by Hotchkiss:

Students interested in attending a semester off–campus program must meet with the Dean of Academic Life by the end of the first week of the second semester to review the application procedure.

The yearlong program sanctioned by Hotchkiss is School Year Abroad (SYA): Students interested in attending a SYA must meet with the SYA Coordinator by the end of the first week of the second semester to review the application procedure.

Students interested in attending a different semester or yearlong program must petition the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing.

Related Academic Matters

Study Skills and Academic Support

The Study Skills Office offers support and specific assistance with study skills, time management, reading, and writing.

The Edsel Ford Memorial Library

Built in memory of Mr. Ford by his wife, Eleanor Clay Ford, and their three sons Henry Ford II ’36, Benson Ford ’38, and William Clay Ford ’43, the School’s 25,000–square–foot library is dedicated to partnering with teaching faculty to help students become sophisticated researchers.

Information Technology Services (ITS)

ITS is responsible for all computing and networking services. For more information, and the School’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and other policies, go to

Center for Global Understanding and Independent Thinking (CGUIT)

Supervised by the Director of Global Initiatives, CGUIT promotes understanding and awareness of global issues, cultural themes, and current events through curricular activity; ensures international and intercultural opportunities are available to all students; monitors and reports on international events to the School; develops alliances with institutions around the world; arranges for visits of relevant scholars and other speakers. Visit

Office of International Programs

Overseen by the Director of International Programs, this office helps address international students’ needs and works with students who wish to pursue off-campus programs and relevant courses of study at Hotchkiss. It administers grants for community-based service work in the developing world, and publicizes a range of summer opportunities. Go to

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