Upper School Handbook
Carolina Friends School is a vibrant and inclusive learning community empowering students to think critically, creatively, and independently. We foster active exploration and quiet reflection, individual endeavor and collaborative engagement. Inspired by Quaker values -- pursuit of truth, respect for all, peaceful resolution of conflict, simplicity, the call to service -- we teach our children that it is possible to change the world.
Welcome to Carolina Friends’ Upper School! The Upper School, as set forth by the school’s mission, strives to be a community of learners engaged in the pursuit of truth, understanding, and the common good. This framework animates all that we do in our intellectual, artistic, athletic, and service endeavors. To foster these pursuits, we believe in cultivating relationships and in the value of trust and respect, and we believe that behaviors of staff and students alike should reflect the trust and respect that is afforded to everyone. We believe that the Inner Light, which all people possess, can with reflection and thoughtful discussion lead people to right words, right action, and right attitude.
The CFS Upper School Handbook reflects the work and needs of the Upper School staff, and it evolves to address concerns brought by Upper School students. In keeping with the Quaker belief that truth is continually revealed, students and staff may be led to offer changes to the principles, policies, and procedures described here. Students who wish to propose changes may bring their concerns to Clerks, our student government forum open to all students, for discussion. Proposed changes to the handbook will be brought to Staff Meeting, and the Upper School staff will work with Clerks toward discerning the right path forward. The handbook will be reviewed annually, and changes may always be made on an as-needed basis.
Information about Upper School policies and practices follows.
Index of Topics
Academics and Coursework
Academic Resources, Progress, and Difficulty
Bullying and Harassment
Cell Phone Policy
College and Career Counseling
Community Engagement and Expectations
Disciplinary Action and Support
Diversity and Inclusivity
Driving and Sign Out Policy
Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
Gender Identity, Attraction, and Expression
Sexual Health Education
Sign Out Policy
Student Safety and Confidentiality
CFS strives to be a community of learners committed to Quaker values and principles. In all our interactions, respect is paramount. Because we respect one another, and because we believe in the inherent worth of all people, we seek to listen deeply to one another when we find ourselves in conflict or disagreement. Community-building time and class time are equally valued. Meeting for worship, group collection, advisory times and service days are opportunities for us to grow together and to care for our space and our community. Engagement in community means that we speak and act with integrity,that we follow through with our obligations, and that we honestly express our ideas and boundaries. Just as important we support others in doing likewise and offer them the same respect we wish from them.
Teachers are responsible for setting clear expectations for behavior and work in their classrooms, and students can expect the Dean for Students and the Head Teacher to support teachers in maintaining these expectations. Teachers are encouraged to take time to explain the reasoning behind rules and expectations and, when appropriate, to ask students to take part in creating classroom norms and agreements. Whenever there is a question about behavior, our interactions should be governed by courtesy, respect, and safety .
o Attendance and Tardiness: A student who does not attend class regularly has a diminished experience compared to a student who attends consistently. Credit for a class depends on sufficient attendance, completion of work, and participation in activities. Likewise, being on time shows respect to the teacher and fellow students. Tardiness is disruptive to the flow of class and advisory time, and habitual tardiness shows a lack of respect for the time of others. Teachers refer students who are having trouble being on time or attending class to the Dean for Students.
o Personal Technology: Over the last decade, personal mobile computing devices have become ubiquitous, and they can often be powerful tools for learning. They can also be powerful distractions. The default rule of the Upper School is that mobile devices should be silenced and put away during class and during other advisee and community times like assemblies, group collection, and meeting for worship. Staff members may choose to collect devices during class or during tests. Devices may be used during passing periods, breaks, and lunch. Teachers and advisors may decide to permit their use for classroom activities, but teachers should not have to spend time policing inappropriate use of personal technology. Teachers may confiscate devices that are causing undue distraction and refer the problem to the Dean for Students or the Head Teacher. Students may use laptops and tablets for note-taking and academic work, but students who are off-task on their devices will also be referred to the Dean for Students or Head Teacher. The Network Use Policy at CFS applies to all personal and school devices using the CFS network. Students on campus who choose to use their personal data plans on campus are still required to follow all rules around mobile devices, community standards, and community trust.
o Dress: The Upper School believes that students should have latitude in expressing themselves through their attire. Clothes should be clean, comfortable, and appropriate for a work and learning environment. Clothing that is distracting, that depicts dangerous or demeaning messages, or that advertises or references the use of substances illegal for minors leads first to a conversation with the student’s advisor and then, if problems persist, to the Dean for Students and/or Head Teacher.
o Campus Visitors: Students may, with the advance permission of the Head Teacher, bring visitors to campus. Permission should be sought several days in advance so that staff can be notified of a visitor. Visitors should attend classes with their hosts unless other arrangements are made with the Dean for Students.
o Posted and Unit-Specific Rules: Different parts of campus may have special rules because of the environment and the age of the students the unit serves. Students are responsible for observing posted rules in all environments. Science Labs, the Library, and anywhere students are working with technology have posted rules for the safety of students and equipment. Likewise, Upper School students are required to know and follow the rules of other units when they visit, and to be mindful of how their age-appropriate language and behavior might be perceived by younger children.
In most cases of disruptive or inappropriate behavior, teachers and advisors hold conversations with students to help them understand how their behaviors have been inappropriate and in what ways the behavior needs to change. The Dean for Students and Head Teacher are informed of these conversations. If problems persist, the Dean for Students and Head Teacher work with the advisor both to hold a student accountable and to explore ways to support the student seeking to change. Parents, teachers, and the Guidance Counselor may also be involved in creating plans through which students gain clarity around behavioral expectations.
CFS believes in restorative justice, meaning that consequences should be aimed toward healing both the student and the community trust. We believe that restorative justice creates greater accountability than consequences that are simply punitive.
Any student who acts in a way that betrays the trust placed in all students by the community is, at the discretion of the Head Teacher, required to appear before a council of the Staff Student Discipline Committee (SSDC). The student portion of the SSDC is a committee of approximately 10 students who serve two year terms. Students entering their second year of their term review applications for students who wish to serve, and with the help of the Dean for Students, choose a full committee for that year. Any Upper School Staff Member may serve on any given council of the SSDC.
A council of the SSDC is a group of students and staff assembled to hear cases involving violations of community trust. The council is tasked with creating a process by which a student can repair the trust that has been damaged by the student’s actions. Only students who have admitted to violating the community trust have the benefit of an SSDC hearing. When, in the judgment of the Head Teacher, a student has violated the community trust but has not admitted doing so, no hearing takes place. Discipline decisions are, in these cases, left to the Head Teacher.
Once a student admits a violation and appears before a council of the SSDC, the student is presented with a statement about what happened and given the opportunity to respond and answer questions. The advisor, as advocate, shares insights and thoughts on the situation. Following a clerked discussion, the SSDC makes a recommendation of consequences to the Head Teacher.
The Head Teacher must “sleep on it” before issuing final consequences. The Head Teacher may take the recommendation of the SSDC in whole or in part, may reject the recommendation and take different action (which will be explained in writing to the clerk), or may send the case back to the council for reconsideration. When there is as final decision, the Head Teacher informs the student, advisor, and family through a conversation followed by a letter to the student documenting the whole process. This letter is placed in the student’s permanent file.
In some circumstances, a council of the SSDC may conclude that a violation is such that trust cannot be restored by the student. In this case, separation of the student from the community is recommended. Upon receiving a recommendation for separation, the Head Teacher calls a meeting for worship with attention to the situation for the Upper School staff. After “sleeping on” the perspectives offered at this meeting for worship. the Head Teacher makes a final decision on separation.
Families facing the possibility of separation may be moved to withdraw their student. The Head Teacher may inform families of this option at any point during the disciplinary process.
Students facing separation are removed from the community for the remainder of the school year. Credit for classes in progress is granted at the discretion of individual teachers. Separated students have in the past returned to CFS the following year after reapplying. If a student wishes to return, and is readmitted, the Head Teacher works with the student to restore community trust and re-integrate the student into the Upper School community.
Separation is a rare occurrence at CFS. More often, students are asked to perform a number of tasks that are designed as opportunities to reflect on the community and the trust that sustains it. Off-campus privileges or participation in activities or trips may be revoked. Some students face suspension from school. Students who are suspended as a result of the SSDC process are not permitted to come to school or attend school functions for the duration of their suspension. The Head Teacher, the Dean for Students, the Guidance Counselor, and the student’s advisor collaborate to create tasks that should be completed during the suspension to help prepare the student for re-entry into the school community.
Whether or not discipline is handled through the SSDC, the student and the College Counselor may be required to disclose disciplinary situations, processes and consequences according to how colleges require this information.
Historically, Quakers have stressed the importance of being mindful of what one says. One should speak simply, clearly, truthfully, and without titles referencing rank and status. We observe this at CFS by addressing one another without titles. No matter the age of the community member, or the person’s title or status, we address one another with our familiar names. We do not observe the “thee” and “thou” of early Quakers, but we honor their radical egalitarianism in a way that is understood in a modern context.
We should remember that this is not a sign of disrespect to authority, but an acknowledgement of respect for the equality of all who are created in the image of God. Quaker concern for plain speech extends to swearing and profanity as well. We should remember that, when we speak to one another and about others, we are speaking to and of that of God in everyone. Demeaning, discriminatory, threatening, and blatantly profane language—sometimes even when said in jest—is corrosive to community.
While humor is an important part of life at CFS, we must be aware of the ways in which others are affected by what we say. We should be especially mindful about avoiding gossip, about avoiding demeaning remarks about those who are not present, and about using language that objectifies or diminishes others as individuals or as groups. Students who are made uncomfortable or are offended by a conversation or a remark should either let the offending person know, or bring it to the supervising teacher (if it is in a class), to their advisor, or to the Dean for Students or Head Teacher for help.
Because the school is responsible for students during the school day, it is important that we be able to find all students when necessary. The student sign-in and sign-out helps us do this.
Students in possession of a driver’s license and with parental permission may drive to school and may park in spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis. Only staff may drive beyond the drop-off circle and onto the Upper School campus. There are no reserved parking spaces. CFS has no policies governing who drives to and from school with whom.
Only juniors and seniors who have their NC “After Nine” license may drive off campus during lunch and free periods (not breaks), and they may take only one passenger who is also a junior or a senior. Juniors and seniors must have explicit permission to ride with other students on file in the Upper School office. All school rules are in effect during school hours when students are off campus.
Students who drive off campus, or who ride with others, are responsible for signing out at the Upper School office. Students should clearly indicate where they are going, what time they departed, and who is in the car. Students must also sign in upon return. Not signing out, or giving dishonest or incomplete information on the signout form, is grounds for disciplinary action, which may include revocation of off-campus driving privileges.
Students who decide to walk the campus trails during the school day may do so with another student. Students should sign out and indicate “trails” in this case. Students should not leave campus, go out on or cross Friends School Road, or go onto neighboring property.
Carolina Friends School is a drug, alcohol and tobacco-free campus. The following are strictly prohibited at CFS: using illegal drugs (or synthetic variants of illegal drugs); using a medication in a way other than the way in which (and for whom) it was prescribed; using tobacco/nicotine (including smoking, “vaping,” or smokeless tobacco products); drinking or being under the influence of alcohol. Students who use drugs, alcohol or tobacco on campus, or who come to campus under the influence of controlled substances, are in violation of the community trust.
This policy extends to all CFS functions even when they are held off campus (trips, sporting events, dances, retreats, etc.). All violations of this policy result in disciplinary action. Violations may result (and have resulted) in students being separated from Carolina Friends School.
Bullying, or the intentional and persistent verbal or physical targeting of individuals or groups with the intent to humiliate, intimidate, or marginalize, is a violation of community trust and are not tolerated. Students who persist in bullying behaviors appear before the SSDC.
Students who witness bullying behaviors are encouraged to “be bold” and stand up against these behaviors. Students often try to manage conflicts within peer groups on their own, but when encountering bullying, students should approach their advisor or other staff members for help. Staff members should report any instances of bullying to the Dean for Students and the Head Teacher.
- Physical violence is never acceptable at Carolina Friends School. Students who intentionally act in a physically violent manner against another member of the community are suspended from school until an SSDC hearing can be arranged.
- Sexual harassment is the violation of any person’s sexual boundaries. Words or actions that are perceived to be unwelcome sexual advances have no place at Carolina Friends School. Students must honor one another’s boundaries, and should report instances where boundaries are violated.
- Bullying, harassment, or intimidation (in person or online) involving CFS students when away from school can and often does come to school with the students. If and when these behaviors begin to affect students at school, CFS considers bullying, violence, or harassment, even outside of school hours, as a violation of our community trust to be handled as such.
At CFS, we recognize that matters of sexuality and gender identity are personal matters that are lived out in a wide variety of ways. We also acknowledge that high school students are often in the process of exploring and understanding their sexual and gender identities and are actively making personal decisions about sexual values and behavior. CFS supports students in their development by offering clear, honest information about sex and sexual behavior in our health education classes. Comprehensive sex education is part of the curriculum of the CFS Life class required for all 9th graders. Students who enter the Upper School after 9th grade satisfy the requirement either by transfer credit or through the Adolescent Health class at CFS.
CFS also offers to seniors an elective course, “Senior Life,” that addresses the challenges of transitioning to life in college and career. Age-appropriate discussions of sex and sexuality, and information specifically addressing issues of sex and sexual assault on college campuses, are core aspects of this course.
We believe that students should make decisions about sexual behavior mindfully, guided by their own and their family’s values. We also believe that students should think carefully about sexual relationships and intimacy in advance of intimate encounters. Situational guidance is available from the Guidance Counselor and the Health Education Teacher at CFS. Students may also obtain condoms from the Guidance Counselor and Health Education teacher, and may ask their advisor or another trusted adult at CFS for help in obtaining protection.
We believe that all people have the right to be safe in being their whole selves at CFS. This means that discrimination or disrespect shown to someone because of sexual orientation or gender identity is antithetical to our core values. All partnerships and relationships based on mutual attraction are valued equally at CFS.
Students and staff also have a right to be addressed and referred to by the names and gender pronouns that they choose. All community members are asked to make clear efforts to honor these wishes of students and staff. We also recognize that gender fluidity means that there may be periods of transition for some students, and encourage those students to be assertive but gentle in correcting community members who make mistakes around names and pronouns.
For the comfort and convenience of our students and staff, we have men’s and women’s bathrooms as well as single and lockable unisex bathrooms on campus. Community members who choose to use the men’s or women’s rooms may use the facilities corresponding to the gender with which they identify.
The Upper School is a community of staff, students, and families who respect and honor the contributions of people from diverse backgrounds. We seek to create spaces where diverse viewpoints can be safely expressed and valued in the work of seeking truth. We also know that there are groups of students for whom it is important to share key aspects of a common experience. Therefore CFS sponsors affinity groups on campus such as the Diversity and Multicultural Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance. CFS expects its students and staff to act inclusively in all aspects of school life. Students and staff are expected to strive against discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on age, race, color, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical disability, genetic information, family status, socioeconomic background, national/ethnic origin or immigration status.
Anyone who experiences or witnesses discriminatory language or action directed toward a specific person or group of individuals should bring such incidents to the attention of the supervising teacher, advisor, Dean for Students, or Head Teacher.
The safety and well being of the student is the primary consideration in all student-teacher communications. Student communication with the Guidance Counselor is protected by legal guidelines. Staff members should consult with the Guidance Counselor or the Head Teacher if there are questions or concerns regarding confidentiality.
Advisors and teachers should share concerns for a student’s safety or well being with the Guidance Counselor and the Head Teacher.
All staff members have a legal obligation to report suspicions of child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) to the Head Teacher, who is responsible for pursuing such matters with the Guidance Counselor and the Head of School. Advisors are also required to report cases in which they suspect that a student of engaging in self-harming behaviors.
In cases where a student’s safety or well being at school is in question, the Head Teacher and the Guidance counselor collaborate to create clear parameters for the student at school. In cases deemed necessary or appropriate by the Head Teacher, the school may request permission from parents to speak confidentially with a child’s mental health team (therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist).
Medical Leave at CFS takes two forms. First, when a student becomes too ill to attend school for an extended and open-ended period of time, families may request that the student be placed on medical leave. This means that, for the duration of the leave, the student will not be expected at school and that assignments may be modified depending on the student’s ability to complete work.
Second, the Head Teacher may place a student on medical leave when a student’s words or actions cause the staff to question whether the student is safe to attend CFS. A medical leave is not a suspension andis not recorded in a student’s permanent record. It is a period in which the Head Teacher gathers more information about a student’s condition and enters into a period of discernment about what kind of support a student needs to be safe and successful at CFS, and whether CFS can provide such support. The Head Teacher remains in close contact with parents during a medical leave and seeks to move forward both thoughtfully and efficiently.
Upper School staff is immediately informed when a student has taken, or been placed on, medical leave.
When we say that academics at Carolina Friends are “different by design,” we mean several things. First, we believe in student-centered education. This means that teachers strive to evaluate students individually and "meet students where they are.” Teachers work to cultivate, above all else, a growth mindset in their courses. CFS teachers have high expectations, and those high expectations are calibrated for each student. Teachers may push some students toward more advanced work or achievement, while asking other students to focus on foundational skills or information.
Second, we believe that students should have a voice in framing their work. Students have a number of options for electives in any given term, and there are options for framing their work within many courses as well.CFS intentionally does not designate courses with distinctions such as “honors.” Curriculum is structured by both grade level and student achievement; students are encouraged to pursue advanced level study as appropriate to their interests and abilities. Likewise, we want our teachers to have opportunities to teach their passions, sharing with students what it means to explore a subject in depth and move from knowledge toward insight. Students may choose to sit for AP or SAT Subject exams in corresponding disciplines after consultation with their teachers, advisor, and the College Counselor.
Third, rather than evaluating students through traditional letter or number grades that supply little information about a student’s level of achievement or understanding, we offer in-depth narrative evaluations. At their best, these narratives offer insights into a student's learning process and evaluate individual progress in a given course. At the end of each year, advisors write a culminating narrative (“advisor letter”) reviewing each student’s academic and personal journey for that year and exploring areas for continued growth.
While we honor and cultivate individual achievement, CFS does not bestow honors or awards on any student. Likewise, students do not have a grade point average or class rank (see section on college counseling).
CFS operates on a trimester system, granting one credit per trimester of each course successfully completed. In each trimester, there are eight periods in which a student can take a course. Year long “core” courses are worth 3 credits; term-long courses are worth one credit. At the end of a term, students receive narrative reports accompanied by marks of Credit, Incomplete, or No Credit.
Incompletes are granted only when a student’s circumstances have made it impossible to complete the work required before the end of the term. A clear deadline for the work must be set, and teachers must be specific, both in the report and in person, when informing students and advisors what is necessary for credit to be earned. Parents and the Head Teacher should be notified as well. If the work is not completed by the secondary deadline, the Incomplete becomes a No Credit. Incompletes may not be carried into the following academic year.
CFS requires 84 total credits for graduation, although many students earn well over 84 credits over four years. To meet the minimum requirement, students need to earn, on average, 21 credits per year (7 per term). This number affords the opportunity for a study period (no credit is attempted or granted for a study period), or for tutoring sessions during the school day. Seniors who have met all course requirements and accrued the minimum number of credits are still required to pursue a minimum of 6 credits in any given trimester, not including participation in interscholastic sports.
Discipline-specific requirements are:
|Language Arts||12 credits|
|Social Studies||9 credits|
|Modern Language||6 credits|
|Cultural Arts||8 credits (including at least 2 in visual arts and 2 in performing arts)|
|Community Service||6 credits|
|Physical Education||6 (each sports team counts as 1 credit)|
|Human Sexuality||1 (satisfied by CFS Life Class taken by all 9th graders|
Advisors and the Registrar work closely with students to ensure that they are making sufficient progress toward each of these distribution requirements. The Head Teacher may occasionally modify these requirements for individual students (for example, those transferring from another school where opportunities and requirements were different than at CFS). Students are strongly advised to take a minimum of 1 term each of Community Service, Cultural Arts, and Physical Education every year.
During the spring of each school year, students register for a full year of courses for the following year. The schedule of courses is designed to accommodate as many of the students’ requests as possible. Students who fail to register for courses in the spring will need to choose their courses after the schedule has been created and other students have been placed. Beyond this necessary measure, classes are not scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. Students, along with their parents and advisors, should be deliberate about choosing their classes, making sure to register for electives in all three terms. Any student who does not register in the spring runs the risk that a desired elective for the following year will be full.
Some disciplines (e.g. modern languages, math) follow a prescribed progression, and students must receive credit for the courses in the appropriate sequence. Occasionally a teacher may grant credit for a course but recommend that the student not continue in the sequence, or that some remediation or tutoring be arranged if the student is to continue. Each department frames its own rules and guidelines for progressing through the curriculum. Prerequisites are stated clearly in the course catalog issued each spring and available on the website.
● Drop/Add: The first two weeks of each term constitutes a “Drop/Add” period in which students may change their classes. If a student withdraws from a course during this period, the course does not appear on the student’s transcript; if the withdrawal takes place after the drop/add period, the course is noted as a withdrawal on the transcript. The exceptions are certain advanced-level math and science courses. If a student is attempting to stretch by taking an advanced course, teacher and student may take several weeks to determine whether the student has been misplaced. Because CFS wishes to encourage these attempts to stretch, advanced courses dropped early in the year are not noted on the transcript.
● Drop/Add forms are available from the Registrar or the Upper School Administrative Assistant. No student is permitted to drop a class without the permission of the advisor and the signature of teacher whose course is being dropped. If a different course is being added, that teacher’s signature is also required.
● Independent Study: Seniors (and, under special circumstances, younger students) are eligible to earn credit for independent studies. Independent studies may be designed and undertaken with a mentor by permission of the Head Teacher and the student’s advisor. Students may not take a course for CFS credit that is offered in the regular curriculum as an independent study. The only exception to this rule is when a student has a scheduling conflict that cannot otherwise be resolved. Applications for independent study must be submitted during the drop/add period. Forms are available in the Upper School office or from the Registrar.
● Online Courses: Independent studies include online courses, but such courses must be offered by an accredited, school-approved institution in order for credit to be granted. For the 2017-18 school year, CFS has approved FuelEd (formerly Aventa) as our online learning institution. The school requires official documentation that the expectations of the course have been fulfilled.
Upper School students are placed in our math sequence based on the recommendation(s) of their previous math teacher(s), their success in math courses completed to date, and consultation with the Upper School math department.
Independent or summer work to accelerate a student’s math placement is often difficult to complete successfully; such study requires extraordinary self-discipline and gifted levels of insight, and it may also require significant tutorial assistance. Typically, the level of understanding gained in such circumstances tend to be lower than the level achieved during the school year. Highly motivated students are urged to explore enrichment options before choosing to accelerate their math curriculum. On the basis of this experience, the Upper School math department has adopted the following policy: only in exceptional cases are Upper School students permitted to accelerate their math curriculum by pursuing summer study. Such study must be carried out within the context of a professionally supervised summer school program. Students interested in summer work to advance their standing in the Upper School math curriculum must petition the math department well before the end of the school year, preferably as soon as the student begins to consider this option. This written proposal must present compelling evidence of the student's ability and desire to condense the curriculum. The organization or institution overseeing the proposed study must be specified. The proposal is considered by the department in consultation with the student's advisor. The student and his/her parents are notified of the department's decision in writing. Proposals made during the summer cannot be reviewed in the manner outlined above; therefore, they will be neither accepted nor approved.
In sequence academic courses other than math, students earning no credit need to consult with their teacher, advisor, and the Head Teacher about the best way to proceed in the curriculum. This can include repeating a course, remediation or tutoring, or taking a different course in the discipline to make up for the course for which credit was not earned.
Academic honesty is central to the integrity of any school. Students must do their work according to the directions given. While collaboration and outside help are often appropriate and necessary to complete an assignment, the integrity of the endeavor is compromised when a student relies too heavily on the work of others. Copying another student’s work, asking someone else to do the work (or doing work for someone else), or simply presenting another’s work without citation or attribution is called plagiarism.
Upper School teachers take seriously their responsibility to help students recognize and avoid plagiarism. There are times when plagiarism occurs because a student does not understand the need to cite sources. When this happens, teachers help the student understand what needs to be changed about the work in question, and what changes need to take place in the student’s work process.
When a teacher determines that a student has knowingly plagiarized, the teacher contacts the student’s advisor and the Head Teacher. Plagiarism and other academic dishonesty are grounds for failing a course and appearing before the Staff Student Discipline Committee (SSDC).
The Upper School is committed to the academic progress of every student. Several resources exist for students facing academic difficulty. Broadly speaking, all teachers are available during free periods and by appointment to provide extra help when necessary Midway through each trimester, teachers issue mid-term progress checks that identify any academic difficulties. Advisors are charged with keeping a close eye on the overall academic picture for each student and are expected to bring their concerns to the attention of the Head Teacher and, when appropriate, to the Learning Specialist. Depending on the situation, some combination of these people will collaborate on a plan to help address the individual student's difficulties.
The Learning Specialist assists students who have identified learning differences, and their families, to negotiate the curriculum at CFS. Students who have received Psychological/Learning Evaluations from a medical professional should submit the report to the Learning Specialist, who distills the recommendations into an Accommodations Plan. Teachers use these plans to create appropriate learning accommodations for the student in individual classes. The Learning Specialist also helps students to understand their own learning parameters and how to self-advocate when necessary. The Learning Specialist can refer students to the Student Success Program, which provides tutoring and academic coaching for students during their time at CFS. This program is not covered by tuition and is made available to students and families for an extra fee. Financial aid is available for families who qualify.
CFS students must remain in good academic standing in order to continue at CFS from year to year. The Upper School defines good academic standing as making clear progress toward graduation. Students whose sustained academic difficulty over time shows that there is not a clear path toward graduation are not granted a contract to return to CFS the following year. Teachers, advisors, counselors and the Head Teacher collaborate with students and families to find appropriate placement for students not invited to return.
The advisor-advisee relationship is at the core of a Friends School education. Advisors are primarily responsible both for knowing each advisee well and for cultivating an advisory group that can be a source of support for its members. The advisor is the first person a student should seek out when encountering a problem with another member of the community, and the advisor is responsible for helping students to employ their best voices in such situations. Advisors keep close watch on the “big picture” for each student. They are responsible for reaching out to teachers, the Guidance Counselor/Learning Specialist, the Dean for Students, and the Head Teacher as appropriate. Advisors are intimately involved in any disciplinary action involving the student, and they will be informed as soon as the possibility of disciplinary action arises. In disciplinary situations, advisors act as advocates for their advisees.
The advisory group provides one venue for students to participate in and care for the community. In addition to holding meaningful daily advisee meetings, the advisor plans various activities, including advisee days and advisee outings, over the course of the year.
Parents should consider the advisor the first point of contact for questions and concerns regarding their student’s experience at CFS.
The school day runs from 8:30-3:15. Students are expected to arrive on time and stay for the duration of the day. We begin our days in advisory groups, where we settle into silence and prepare for the day ahead. Classes either meet 4 times a week for 45 minutes, or twice a week for 75 minutes.
Approximately twice each term, we run a special 'Lab Week' schedule in which classes meet less often but for longer periods that facilitate labs or other activities requiring extended blocks of time. Teachers are encouraged to try new things during those longer blocks. The lab schedule also provides additional community time that can include but is not limited to club meetings, assemblies, and individual meetings with and/or help from teachers.
The daily and lab week schedules are included at the end of this handbook.
CFS employs a College Counselor who helps students explore and plan for their transition from CFS after graduation. The post-secondary counseling process is designed to help students understand who they are, and who they aspire to become. Emphasizing fit over prestige and keeping in mind that the college search is one facet of a much larger process, we consider post-secondary planning to be a years-long process of self-discovery. In a typical year, most CFS graduates will attend a four-year institution. Some will attend two-year schools or directly enter the workforce. A number of students will also consider and take gap years before continuing their education. At CFS, we honor the path of each student and the College Counselor works closely with families and students to facilitate exploration and execution around this process.
The College Counselor runs various programs during the course of the year related to college and career planning for both the Upper School and broader CFS community. In addition, the Counselor coordinates with college admissions officers to coordinate over 50 individual institutional visits to CFS each fall to meet with juniors and seniors. The College Counselor is also CFS’s designated contact for the College Board and American College Test, and works closely with the Learning Specialist to request testing accommodations for the SAT Suite of Assessments and the ACT for students whose learning plans include these recommendations.
College and career planning at CFS is facilitated by the use of the Naviance Family Connection software (Naviance). During the winter of the junior year, students and their parents/guardians meet with the College Counselor as a family to discuss post-secondary plans. In the fall of the senior year, the College Counselor meets again with each senior to formalize a plan for the final year at CFS. Throughout their time in the Upper School, students and their families are welcome to reach out to the College Counselor as questions and needs arise about the post-secondary planning process.
When seniors apply to institutions, the College Counselor coordinates the submission of school documents that typically include a CFS transcript, the CFS school profile, and a counselor recommendation & academic narrative. Due to the nature of CFS’s evaluation practices, the College Counselor writes an academic narrative summarizing each student’s term reports from each area of study across all enrolled terms. Students and families do not read recommendations or the academic narrative; the College Counselor submits these materials directly to institutions. In cases where merit scholarships and/or other institutional honors and awards are typically based on quantitative factors such as class rank and grade-point averages, the College Counselor works with institutions to facilitate this process in the context of CFS’ evaluation practices. For further details, students and families are welcome and encouraged to read the CFS school profile, which is available on the CFS College Counseling website.
This handbook is meant to be a guide for the staff, students, and parents of the Upper School. It is not meant to answer every question that may come up. It will certainly need to be amended as we grow as a community and as we think about situations differently. In any case, all decisions of the Upper School staff will be made with the highest consideration for the needs of any student affected.