Academic honesty goes right to the heart of our educational mission. It is expected that each Morristown-Beard student will live up to the standards reflected in our five Core Values. Once a student puts his or her name on any paper, test, or assignment to be handed in and graded, the assumption is that it is solely the student’s own work.
Academic Guidelines and Requirements
The school year consists of two semesters of approximately sixteen weeks each. Students are required to take a minimum of six classes each semester. Seniors must pass all of their classes to graduate. Exceptions to any of the academic requirements listed below must be approved by the Head of Upper School and Dean of Faculty.
|Science||Three years of laboratory science, with no course repeats|
|History||Three years, including American History|
|Mathematics||Three years inclusive of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Advanced or Intermediate Algebra|
|World Language||Three years of the same language in the Upper School|
|Arts||One full year of arts, visual and/or performing|
|Physical Education||Two years (grades 9-10)|
|Health||One quarter in both the freshman and junior years|
|Driver's Education||One semester in sophomore year|
Students generally go beyond the minimum requirements in pursuit of their academic interests, and we encourage them to do so.
Academic Probation is based on a faculty review of student records, including attitude, aptitude, effort, and achievement. The conditions set forth in the probation relate specifically to GPA, but allow for subjective evaluation of attitude and deportment. After each semester, students who fail one course, who have two or more unsatisfactory grades (D or below), or who have an average of C- or below (GPA of 1.67) will automatically be placed on Academic Probation. The school also reserves the right to place on Academic Probation students who are working well below their ability level even though their GPA is above the minimum standard.
Course Drop-Add Policy
We do our best to place students in courses at the proper level of difficulty to challenge each individual appropriately. Occasionally, however, it becomes clear that a student has been misplaced.
Teacher-initiated course changes
If a teacher feels that a student has been placed incorrectly in a course, the course can be dropped at any time during the year. However, teachers will only advocate such action if the circumstances are compelling.
Student-initiated course changes
Students may only drop or add a year or fall semester course during the first two full weeks of the fall semester. For spring semester courses the drop period will be during the first two weeks of the spring semester. For quarter courses the student will have the first two weeks of the designated quarter to drop the course. Transcripts will not reflect a grade for the course dropped during the designated period. If a course is dropped afterwards, the student’s transcript will list the course and indicate that the student withdrew.
Students must use the official Drop/Add form and obtain all required signatures. Students who enroll in year-long courses are expected to remain in the course for the entire year. After the first two weeks of school, students will only be allowed to drop a full year course in the most exceptional cases.
Morristown-Beard grades are on an A to F scale, using the following equivalencies:
|Grade||Numerical equivalent||Standard Grade|
The GPA calculation is based on a student's final grades, and is obtained by averaging the appropriate grade points earned in each class, weighted to reflect each course's credit value. A full-year course carries 1.0 credits, a semester course carries .5 credits and a quarter course carries .25 credits. "Pass," "W," or "INC" grades are not included in the GPA computation.
Grade Computation After a Student Changes Course Level
Within the first semester
If a student changes from one level to another in the same course (for example from Honors to Regular), the grade he or she earns in the second course will be used for the semester grade. However, the student’s average before the switch will be factored into the semester grade after the course change. If the transfer happens too late in the semester for the new teacher to calculate a fair grade, the two teachers involved will meet in order to agree on a grade. Or, if a student transfers into a new course very late in the term, the final grade can be determined by factoring the number of weeks in each course.
Between the first and second semesters
If a student changes from one level to another in the same course each course will have both a semester grade as well as a year end grade.
Withdrawal from a course
If a student drops a course entirely, the transcript will note a “W” for withdrawal from the course.
The school has two honor rolls, which recognize academic achievement. Each Honor Roll is calculated at the end of the semester. To make the Headmaster’s List, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.8 with no grade below B–. To make the Honor Roll, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 with no grade below a B– or a 3.2 GPA with no more than one grade in the C range.
Morristown-Beard is a member of two honor societies: The National Junior Honor Society for students in grades 7-9 and the Cum Laude Society for students in grades 11-12. Faculty members of the Cum Laude Society nominate and elect students with outstanding academic records.
Teachers and students may at times wish to take advantage of the flexibility and academic freedom offered by an independent study course. Though self-directed, and structured to meet the needs of student and teacher, an independent study course must have a clearly defined curriculum and include a description of the student's final product (e.g. research essay, analytical essay, web page, musical composition, computer program etc.). The required form and detailed instructions for setting up an Independent Study course are available in the office of the Head of Upper School. Independent study courses are graded like all other semester courses. They are to be given for regular academic credit, barring special circumstances.
The Learning Center
Morristown-Beard School offers instructional support to Upper School students in its Learning Center. Staffed by Learning Specialists, the Center assists students in maximizing their study skills. The Learning Center strives to enable each student to become a self-sufficient learner. The staff uses instructional procedures to support the learner in developing strategies necessary for academic independence. Our scaffolding technique employs the student’s course content to teach approaches to reading, writing, studying and overall organization. A peer-tutoring program complements these resources. Scheduled students receive support from one to three periods weekly. All Morristown-Beard students may drop in to the Center as needed.
Counts as a Quarter Course, on a Pass/Fail Basis
As a capstone experience before graduation, seniors research and develop a proposal for a senior project combining academic and "real world" elements. Students are encouraged to develop a project that will allow them to learn and to think critically about themselves, the environment, the arts, social issues or a possible career. Elements of the Senior Project are: (1) Developing a proposal and having it approved (2) Spending three weeks on site during spring semester (3) Keeping a comprehensive written Field Journal to document and reflect critically on the project (4) Delivering a formal, oral report to the project committee.
Please Note: As part of their own Senior Project requirement, all juniors will observe at least one senior presentation.
Senior Exam Exemptions
Any senior student who has achieved an A- average at the date two weeks prior to the scheduled final exam or other assessment due date for any course will be exempt from the final exam or assessment. For full year courses the A- must be the yearly average, and not simply the second semester average.
Community Service Program Requirement
Counts as a semester course on a Pass/Fail basis. Students must pass to move on to next grade level.
Each student is required to complete eight hours of community service and a series of reflections on their experience each semester.
The school reserves the right to require summer school for students who have failed or done poorly in a course. In some cases, summer courses may be required of a student in order to return to Morristown-Beard.