Regular class attendance is integral to Milton students’ work. Students understand material better after listening to teachers’ explanations, and they can refine their thinking after articulating their ideas in a discussion. These benefits boost performance on written assignments. In addition, student engagement enhances the communal experience shared by all members of a class. A student’s absence therefore diminishes the individual’s and the group’s educational experience. However, there are several valid reasons that may arise for missing class, including illness, family emergencies, and extraordinary opportunities.

Attendance Procedures for Specific Situations

Absences must be reported directly to the Deans’ Office, which is solely responsible for maintaining student attendance records. Notifying teachers is not necessary but a welcome courtesy.

  1. Illness and family emergencies: When a student is absent because of illness or family emergency, parents must log on to Veracross, which is accessible from the Milton Academy website, under “Parents”. On the home page, on the right side under “Portal Links,” families should select “Report an Absence”. Parents should report an absence on each day a student may be out. If the student arrives after the academic day has begun, they must check in at the deans’ office before going to class or other commitments. Students excused from classes for a short-term illness or other appointment are expected to get their assignments in Schoology. A day student who is in school but feeling unwell may miss class or other formal school obligations only if excused by a member of the Faulkner Health Center or Counseling Center staff. Boarding students must go to the Faulkner Health Center or the Counseling Center during the academic day if they are feeling unwell. If a student is absent because of illness for an extended period of time or needs to miss school for a medical procedure, parents should also contact the Faulkner Health Center or the Counseling Center, whichever is appropriate, so that the school can provide the appropriate support during and after the absence. For more information about medical leaves and in-house medical support, please refer to the Medical Leave section under Health and Wellness.
  2. Medical appointments: The school encourages parents to arrange appointments outside of school hours whenever possible. If a student has a medical appointment during the academic day, parents should log on to Veracross. On the home page, on the right side under “Portal Links” families should select “Report an Absence” and note both the time of dismissal and when the student is expected to return. Students should check in at the deans’ office upon arrival to campus, and provide a doctor’s note in order to be excused from class.
  3. College visits: Class I students are allowed two days in the fall to visit colleges, and two days in the spring to visit colleges they are considering seriously. Students who wish to miss classes to visit colleges must pick up and complete a request form from the College Counseling Office. The College Counseling Office will notify the Deans’ Office to record the visit in the student’s attendance record.
  4. Requests for a special absence: A student who wishes to miss one day or part of a day of classes for reasons other than a scheduled appointment or college visit must have a parent or guardian log on to Veracross. On the home page, on the right side under “Portal Links”, families should select “Report an Absence” and include the details of the impending absence. If a student wishes to miss more than a single day of school because of an extraordinary opportunity, the academic dean will provide tentative approval for that request only if it meets the following criteria: a. The reason must be compelling, in the judgment of the academic dean. Please note that family trips planned outside of Milton’s vacation schedule do not, except in the most extreme circumstances, meet this standard.
    b. The student must be in good academic standing.
    c. The student must have a solid attendance record.
    d. The student should not, under normal circumstances, request more than five special absence days during the year.
    e. The student should not, under normal circumstances, miss more than three consecutive school days for a special absence.

    If these conditions have been met, a student has the following responsibilities:
    a. Teachers will need a chance to register concerns with the academic dean. These conversations may result in a tentative permission being withdrawn. As part of the communication process, the student must obtain signatures well in advance on the special absence form from each teacher, the advisor and the class dean if a day student, and house head if a boarding student. The academic dean’s tentative permission becomes final when the form has been completed and returns the special absence form to the deans’ office assistant.
    b. The student must complete homework or graded exercise agreements as agreed upon with their teachers. The student must arrange for a fellow student to take class notes for missed classes. Many students find it helpful to arrange a meeting to review completed work with a teacher upon their return.
  5. Assessment week: Special absences will not be granted during this period, except in the case of personal or family difficulties. Please note that weather cancellations may require changes in the exam schedule.
  6. Dismissal for school vacations: The school does not excuse absences for early vacation departures except in unusual circumstances. Families should book travel reservations well in advance and schedule departures to occur several hours after the last class. For the fall, winter, and spring breaks, the houses will close at 11 p.m. the night that classes end. Students departing by plane before 8 a.m. the following morning may make arrangements through the Deans’ Office to remain on campus. For guidance on making travel arrangements, please review the Vacation Dates 2023–24.
  7. Last week of school through Graduation: Special absences will not be granted except in cases of personal or family difficulties. The houses close at 6 p.m. on Graduation day.

Minimum Attendance Policy

Once a student has missed the equivalent of three weeks of a full course or half course, or the equivalent of a week and a half of a semester course, the academic advisory group (composed of relevant department chairs) will be informed by the academic dean. The academic advisory group may invoke a sanction or sanctions. Some possible sanctions include:

  1. additional communication with specified adults to monitor the difficulties that prompted class absences.
  2. loss of privileges, such as the privilege of missing class for an extraordinary opportunity.
  3. loss of credit for the course.

All absences are included in the count for the purposes of this policy, except:

  1. absences for religious holidays.
  2. absences because of administrative leave.
  3. absences because of full medical leave. According to the medical leave policy, when a student has been on a full medical leave for four weeks, the academic advisory group meets to consider whether that student can receive credit for the year.

Unexcused Absences and Lates

  1. Unexcused class absences and lates: Students and parents will be notified when a teacher has submitted a class absence report. They will have the opportunity to ensure that absences are properly recorded. The penalties for unexcused class absences per semester are listed below.  The first three lates a student receives result in one hour of detention; additional lates beyond the first three will result in one hour of detention each.  Detention is held on Tuesday and Friday evenings.
Number of Unexcused Class Absences          (per semester) Response
1 Discussion with advisor
2 Meeting with class dean and advisor; one hour Friday night detention
3 Meeting with class dean and advisor;  three hours Friday night detention (completed within two weeks at most)
4 Meeting with class dean and advisor; three hours Friday night detention (completed within two weeks at most); letter home to parents
5 Meeting with academic dean and advisor; six hours Friday night detention (completed within three weeks at most); letter home to parents
6 Appearance before Discipline Committee


  1. Evening commitments: Attendance at dinner, study hall, and evening check-in is required for boarding students. A boarding student requesting to miss or be late must seek permission from their house head, the duty person, or the dean of students’ office. Students who are unexcused will incur increasing penalties or appear before a Dean’s or Discipline Committee.

Class Attendance and Extracurricular Activities

If a student has missed half (or more) of the academic commitments in a single day, they may not participate in athletics or other co-curricular activities that day. In this case, the student should check in with the deans’ office at the end of the academic day. The academic dean may grant exceptions to this rule in the case of college visit days, medical appointments, religious holidays, or other special absences that the dean deems unavoidable.

Required Attendance at Special Events

Students will be required to attend certain special events during the year. Some of these events include the entire Upper School, for example, an evening seminar or Graduation, and some of these events are for specific groups of students, for example, new student programs, and evening seminars. The School will try to notify families well in advance of any such obligation.

Personal Days (Boarding Students Only)

If, in the judgment of a house head, a boarding student needs a day off from school, the house head must have a conversation with the student about workload, time management and any stressors that have arisen. After that conversation, the house head may grant that accommodation provided that the following conditions exist:

  1. The student has no tests or graded exercises scheduled on the personal day.
  2. The personal day may only be granted during a full week of school and under extraordinary circumstances. A student should not expect to have a personal day before or after a day off from school or after an extended absence from school.
  3. The student has not taken a personal day already during the semester. Students may take no more than one personal day per semester.
  4. This particular accommodation is deemed by the house head the most appropriate response to the circumstances facing the student.
  5. The student agrees to use the day in the spirit in which it is intended: getting a good night’s sleep, and doing what else is necessary—particularly academic work.
  6. The student and house head make a plan for checking in over the course of the day with a member of the dorm staff or the student’s advisor.
  7. If a student has just returned from a medical leave or is receiving in-house medical support, the house head must consult with the appropriate adult in the Faulkner Health Center or the Counseling Center.

A personal day will end at 6 p.m. While on a personal day, a student must remain in the house and keep a low profile for the day, except to go to the dining hall for meals. Students will not be allowed access to academic buildings, including but not limited to, the Art and Media Center and Cox Library.

While on a personal day, in accord with the school’s attendance policy, a student may not participate in sports or extracurricular activities.