The Hotchkiss 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.

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, 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 the primary link between the School and the 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 call 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 their needs in a timely manner. The Dean of Residential Life keeps parents alert to this calendar.

A student may always request a new Faculty Advisor from the Dean of Residential Life. 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

The Class Deans work in conjunction with the Dean of Students, the Dean of Academic Life, and the Registrar. They 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 workclosely with Faculty Advisors; 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 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 this aspect of the School’s mission with integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication. Each team of Dormitory Faculty, which varies in number relative to the size of the dormitory, is supervised by a Dormitory Head; the twelve Dormitory Heads report to and meet regularly with the Dean of Students and Dean of Residential Life.


Proctors are Seniors 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.

At Hotchkiss, students learn how an individual can live within a group, and how a group can live with ideals conveyed by an institution. In that light, 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; they 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 Hotchkiss—nearby, far away, or in the virtual territory of social media—is unacceptable.

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 (see below), 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. 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 at: 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 at: Code of Ethical Conduct

These two committees work with care to determine the validity of charges, and—when appropriate—hold 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 Dean of Students’ 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 summarily 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 come to 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 IV] 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 is 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 click here: 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, neglect, and statutory rape to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

    Statutory rape occurs when a person has sexual relations with another person who is not old enough to legally consent to having sexual relations. Under Connecticut law, statutory issues of consent arise with respect to sexual relations with a minor under age sixteen. If two people have sex, and one of them is under the age of sixteen, the older person could be charged with sexual assault in the first degree. If one person is between thirteen and sixteen years of age, and the other person is more than three years older, the older person can be found to have committed sexual assault in the second degree. Charges may be filed by the victim, the victim’s parents or guardians, or the State’s Attorney.

  6. Harassment, intimidation, coercion, bullying, hazing, 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—especially during adolescence—and to school—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 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: 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. 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.

    In order to use the Health Center Policy, students may appear at the Health Center alone, or with another student or a faculty member. Students admitted to the Health Center for alcohol or drug intoxication are evaluated by the nurse on duty and admitted to the Health Center. As with all Health Center admissions, the Dormitory Faculty on duty is notified of the student’s admission. After care and recovery, Health Center staff will notify the student’s parents or guardian of the admission and the reason for it. A School-approved professional counselor or health care provider must then evaluate the student in order to help determine the need for additional care and counseling. The student’s parents are included in this process. Exceptions to the usual confidentiality of care occur when: 1) the student is discovered to require urgent medical attention; and 2) the situation is public knowledge.

    Should a student fail to comply with the program outlined by the Health Center, he or she will be referred to the Class Dean. If a student is admitted to the Health Center a second time under the Health Center Policy, the response remains non-disciplinary, but the student may be instructed to withdraw from the School in order to ensure proper evaluation and treatment.

    Student Assistance Team

    Students who wish to share concerns about peers’ behavior anonymously, and thus without fear of retaliation, should contact the Student Assistance Team (SAT). Student Assistance Team Student Assistance Team Report Form
    [Form is also available on Blueboard under Services]

    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.

  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; possession or use of tobacco alternatives in any form, such as herbal cigarettes.

  9. Disrespect

    Inherently disrespectful actions, whether they are verbal, nonverbal, 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 or automobile keys. [See below: “Major Offenses, N. Automobiles.”]

  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 PM (or dusk, if earlier) until 6:15 AM, campus bounds are defined as:

    That 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 studen’s parents or guardians prior to 4:00 PM on the Thursday preceding the excursion.

  15. Automobiles

    Use of an automobile, as a driver or passenger, without permission; hitchhiking.

    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 click here: Vehicle Policy

  16. Curfew

    Violation of curfew.

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

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

  17. Use of Technology

    Failure to abide by the School’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Acceptable Use Policy

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 AM 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 “rainbow 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 with either a jacket or tie are always appropriate, 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. Even as we recognize that romantic relationships may sometimes involve consensual sexual intimacy, and that sexual curiosity during adolescence is common, our stance on such behavior is that among students in this setting it is inappropriate, regardless of their age, gender, and sexuality. This position is informed by our overarching concern for the integrity of our community, and our commitment to our students’ safety, well-being, and right to be free from unwanted exposure to others’ sexual intimacy. Students found to be in violation of this provision will be referred to their Class Dean for discussion and notification of their parents or guardians. 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 register their bicycles with Campus Security, and 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 PM. 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 Hixon Pool without a lifeguard or coach on deck.

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

Every student is issued a dormitory room key upon arrival at the School. 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 Business 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 below: “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, armchair, desk chair, and a lamp. Each room has a closet. Students are asked to not bring additional furniture. Only heavy-duty extension cords are permitted, and they are available for purchase in the School Store.

First-floor rooms are equipped with curtains. Students should furnish their own bedspreads and small rugs, if desired. All pictures and other decorations must be suspended from the molding. Any decorations must not cause permanent damage; for example, the use of thumbtacks and tape on the walls is 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 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 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 PM to 10:00 PM. 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-dorm study hall per week and will have study hours, either in or outside of the dorm 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 PM 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 PM to 9:00 PM.
    Upper Mids do not have official study hall in dormitories on Wednesday nights.

  • From 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM, 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 PM.
On Sunday night, all dorms and the Main Building are under study conditions from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.


From Sunday night through Friday night:

All students have a dorm check-in at 10:00 PM. This means that UMs or Seniors who are utilizing out-of-dorm study hours must be back inside the dorms by 10:00 PM.
Upper Mids must check-in by 9:00 PM during the first marking period; subsequently, they must check-in by 10:00 PM.
Preps and Lower Mids must check-in by 8:00 PM.

On Saturday nights, all students must check-in by 11:00 PM.

Lights Out

Every night except Saturday, Preps and Lower Mids must have their lights out by 11:00 PM. On Saturday nights, Preps and Lower Mids must have their lights out by midnight. All upperclass students must be quiet by 11:00 PM.

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 consistently 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 at: Common Room Visiting Hours.

Inter-Room Visiting

Inter-Room Visiting among all dorms promotes learning, friendship, partner or group study, and community among students affiliated with different dormitories. It is permitted through a sign-out and sign-in process. All students have the privilege, and the permissions increase by grade level. 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: 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 dorm. 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 here: Weekend Procedures

Overnight Guests

Students wishing to host an overnight guest from another dorm 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 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’ Wing. Outside guests are only permitted to sleep over on Saturday nights.

Health Services

The Health Center is always staffed when School is in session, and offers regular daily clinic hours. If necessary, students may be admitted for short-term observation or overnight care, or they may be referred to specialists at Sharon Hospital. Proof of medical insurance is a requirement.

Students may request assistance with matters related to nutrition, sexuality, birth control, STI testing, alcohol and drug issues, and other health-related topics. School Counselors are available for students who want help with personal or academic issues. For more information on matters pertaining to Health Services, the Health Center, counseling, medical records, prescription medications, medical leaves of absence, and sports medicine, please go to

Red Card

Students who are deemed ill following examination at Health Services are often issued Red Cards and sent back to their dormitory to rest and recover. While on Red Card, a student is expected to remain in his or her room in quiet isolation for the remainder of that day and evening. Health Services will provide the student with nourishment for lunch when the Red Card is issued. The student is generally permitted to go to the Dining Room for the evening meal, and should be in bed by 11:00 PM.

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

Our commitment to academic integrity—a concept founded upon honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility—is absolute and necessary given the nature of our scholarly enterprise. It promotes and protects our community and its mission, hones our students’ skills while training them for the standards of college studies, and instills a lifelong appreciation for the bond between intellect and character.

Simply put: it is always wrong to pass off someone else’s work as one’s own, regardless of one’s intent; it is always wrong to seek to gain an unfair advantage over one’s peers. All students are obligated to review the School’s policy on academic integrity, and to speak with their teachers and Faculty Advisors about confusing situations as they arise, before potentially problematic work is submitted for evaluation. Please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy at 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, Chapel, Auditorium, and all-School meetings.

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 Book. 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

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.

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.

Make-up Work

Make-up classes, quizzes, and tests are matters of faculty judgment. Students are expected to notify teachers well in advance any time they know they are going to miss classes and to be responsible for work missed because of illness, weekends, athletic trips, college visits, field trips, etc.

Zeros may be given for daily work in class, but a zero may not be given as a penalty for work missed because of an unexcused absence, unless the graded exercise was previously announced.

Work During Vacations

Teachers may not assign or expect students to work on major papers or projects over the Thanksgiving, Winter, or Spring Holidays. No new homework can be assigned for the first day back from the Winter and Spring Holidays.

Over the Summer Holiday, students are expected to complete books assigned by the English Department and an “all-School read” assigned by the Head of School. Some elective courses may require or encourage summer work as a condition for taking the course during the coming academic year.

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.

Incomplete Policy

With the consent of the Head of Department and the Dean of Academic Life, a teacher may give a student an incomplete grade only when circumstances are beyond the control of the student to complete assigned work in the normal course of events. Such circumstances 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 teacher should inform the student how unresolved work will affect his or her grade. In consultation with the teacher, the student’s Faculty Advisor, and Class Dean, the Dean of Academic Life will set a deadline for the unresolved work.

Students may receive an incomplete marking period grade that may never be resolved if they switch section levels of a course near the end of a marking period or if they were absent from a number of classes for medical reasons.

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 click on the following link for the possible ARC responses: ARC Responses

Language Waivers

A student with a diagnosed Language-Based Learning Disability (LBLD) may receive accommodations specific to a foreign language that include an alternative language diploma requirement (ALDR) or a waiver of the requirement. The student requesting accommodations owing to a documented LBLD must submit a written request to the Dean of Academic Life. The Dean of Academic Life may grant ALDRs or waivers in consultation with the School’s psychologist, who will review the psychometric testing and survey as appropriate the student’s current and past teachers and other relevant faculty before making a recommendation. The Dean of Academic Life in consultation with the School’s psychologist and the Heads of the Classical and Modern Languages Department will design ALDRs with equity, the integrity of the diploma, and documented disability in mind. The student’s transcript will note the granting of an ALDR or waiver.


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 is ineligible to 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. The student may petition the Committee on Academic Standing (CHAS) to receive credit for the year.


A student seeking information regarding readmission should contact the Dean of Academic Life, who chairs the Committee on Readmission. Formal requests for readmission, accompanied by required supporting materials, should be submitted by February 15; applications for readmission received after this date will be considered on their merits and in terms of available space in a given class.

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 Director of Health Services 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. Course work 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:


Chewonki Semester School:

Island School:

High Mountain Institute:

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 Director of Study Skills is responsible for ensuring that the needs of students with diagnosed learning disabilities are addressed. For more information, and details regarding other sources of academic support, please go to

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. For further information about this resource, as well as details about the School’s Archives and Special Collections, please go to

Information Technology Services (ITS)

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

Center for Global Understanding and Independent Thinking (CGUIT)

Supervised by the Director of Global Initiatives, the CGUIT assists faculty in infusing global-mindedness into the classroom and other School operations; ensures international and intercultural opportunities are available to all students; monitors and reports on international events to the School; develops alliances with selected institutions around the world; arranges for visits of relevant scholars and other speakers; and assists the Dean of Faculty and Dean of Academic Life to bring world standards into different areas of Hotchkiss. For more information, please go

Office of International Programs

Overseen by the Director of International Programs, who reports to the Director of Global Initiatives, this office helps address international students’ needs and works with any 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. For more information, please go to

Academic Calendar
Academic Integrity Violations
Academic Regulations
Acceptable Use Policy
ARC Responses
Attendance Policy
Code of Ethical Conduct
Community Conduct Council
Daily Schedule
Discipline Committee
Dormitory Regulations
Fire Safety and Appliances
General Harassment Policy
Health Center Policy
No Chance Policy
Student Assistance Team
Vehicle Policy
Weekend Procedures