progressive education
Academic Office Procedures


We believe that students should learn to work for the love of knowledge, the excitement of discovery, and the joy of using their minds effectively. Therefore, teachers do not show grades to parents or students. Students are evaluated through regular discussions between themselves and teachers, through written comments on assignments, and all students and their parents receive a full set of detailed written reports six times a year. The academic dean and class deans will evaluate students' academic standing at the end of each marking period. At that time, the deans will determine whether a student should be moved onto Academic Warning or Academic Probation based on their grades and effort marks.

We also record grades six times a year at each marking period. These grades are noncumulative and reflect work done in that marking period. At the end of each trimester, the student receives a grade for the last marking period and a cumulative grade for the trimester. Also a final course grade is recorded. This allows us to provide colleges with a record of academic achievement.

The college office shows the transcript including grades to juniors during the winter trimester. At that point, seniors and juniors will have an option to view their grades. Likewise, the academic dean may decide to discuss grades with parents or students if that is necessary to help a particular student understand his or her academic standing at the school. Written evaluations are specific and intended to indicate to the student his or her level of achievement.

Of the five core values of The Putney School, participation is perhaps most essential to the success of our daily endeavors. All of our programs—from classes to assemblies, evening activities to Sing, and sports to work—are designed to be most enjoyable and most effective with everyone present. Attendance at Putney, as in life, is mandatory. We assume that students will make every effort to fulfill their commitment to participate fully and respectfully and will communicate in advance if they are unable to do so. Students unwilling to embrace the value of participation and who fail to meet their commitments as a result, will find their membership in the community in question.

Effort Marks

In addition to letter grades, students receive effort marks for their work during each marking period. Effort marks range from 1 = excellent to 4 = unacceptable. Effort marks are important in determining the Senior Independent List (see the Student and Parent Handbook) and in identifying students about whom a teacher has some concern. Students in good standing are expected to maintain consistent effort

Why don’t we teach to Advanced Placement or standardized tests?

Our goal is to teach students how to define good questions, how to research and analyze, and how to present their thinking in coherent and compelling ways. None of this can be measured by standardized tests such as the APs, which are necessarily designed to teach students how to answer finite questions which others have posed. Putney has never had an AP curriculum, and we are now being joined by many of the top schools in the country. It is clear to us that colleges understand our program, because our students do well in today’s competitive college process. You can learn more about this educational movement at the website of the Independent Curriculum Group.



The Putney transcript records course grades for both semesters as well as the final grade for each year for each student. The student's record of participation in the non-academic programs of the school is also recorded. If a student does not graduate from Putney, a withdrawal or dismissal is noted on the transcript. Major suspensions lasting more than a week also are noted.

During the winter trimester, juniors receive an unofficial copy of their transcript as part of the college planning course. An unofficial copy of the final junior transcript is sent to the junior and the parent in the summer between junior and senior year. In the fall or early winter of the senior year, students must request that an official copy of the transcript (generally with first semester marking period or fall semester grades) be sent to colleges to which he/she has applied. Then, after the student notifies the college office of his/her college enrollment choice, the final transcript is sent in June.

As with the college process, if a parent or student wants a transcript sent, a request in writing is necessary. E-mail to, fax to 802-387-7321, or mail to:
The Putney School
418 Houghton Brook Rd.
Putney, VT 05346-8675

If all tuition payments are current, an official transcript may be sent directly to an institution of learning or employment. An unpaid tuition balance will result in the school's withholding a student's transcript until satisfactory arrangements are made with the Business Office.


The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
802-387-5566 (main) | 802-387-6278 (fax) | |