In the Upper School, we seek to honor the unique needs and contributions of each student through a continuing process of challenge and self-reflection. We utilize a wide variety of teaching practices and learning opportunities to cultivate respect, understanding and compassion for others. The success of our students also depends on close collaboration with parents and families. We expect our students to work with teachers, students and other members of the community to become independent, life-long learners. Because the hallmarks of a Bullis education include honesty, integrity and responsibility, we place great importance in the Bullis Honor Code. In educating our students, we seek not only to prepare students for success in higher education, but also to equip them with the skills needed for a balanced, fulfilling and meaningful life.
The Bullis curriculum not only provides students with the academic background necessary for their success at the college level, but also acts as the cornerstone for an entire range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities that help develop well-rounded individuals. Our goal is to graduate good students who are good people.
Bullis helps students establish this cornerstone by presenting them with a curriculum that generates reasonable challenges for all students. Each student’s schedule is tailored to meet his or her academic needs.
In keeping with this goal, Bullis is concerned with the quality of students’ work and the effort and integrity that go into producing that work, especially as noted in the “Bullis Code of Academic Honesty.”
The Bullis Curriculum Guide, which we make available each spring, details the school curriculum. Refer to it and the school’s website for specific information about courses, scheduling, special academic programs and diploma requirements.
Students play an active role in the process of course selection. Midway through the third trimester, Upper School students receive instruction and materials for use in planning the following year’s schedule. Their classroom instructors and faculty advisors discuss departmental choices with them. Students work out tentative course selections with their parents and advisors. The advisor gives the tentative schedule to the academic staff for review. Final scheduling is done in June and July, and students are notified of problems and conflicts during the summer and at registration.
Course Load: A normal Upper School course load consists of six subjects per day. Students wishing to carry more or less than a normal load must receive approval from the academic dean.
Schedule Changes: Because of the care taken to create appropriate schedules for each student, changes are rarely necessary. However, should a schedule change be necessary, the student must secure the approval of the academic dean.
Tests and Final Examinations: Student performance is evaluated and graded on a regular basis in all courses. Quizzes may be announced or unannounced, a practice that helps students maintain a consistent pattern of work by encouraging day-to-day preparation. Teachers instruct students in the best way to prepare for their examinations, and they notify their classes several days in advance of major tests. Make-up tests and quizzes are administered as needed at the discretion of the teacher. Courses include two-hour final examinations at the end of the first and third trimesters. Final examinations represent 20 percent of the total grade for the trimester. Students who qualify for extended time are allowed up to time and a half the scheduled time and must complete all work on that day. Completion of a test or exam takes precedence over all after-school activities. A modified exam schedule is provided for students having more than two final exams on the same day. No trimester or final exam may be administered prior to the originally scheduled time without the approval of the academic dean.
Department Testing/Major Assignment Days: The school encourages departments to observe the following testing days so that students do not have more than three major tests (not quizzes) or assignments on one day. A test is usually distinguished from a quiz by the following: a test usually covers work done over a period of time greater than two weeks and is planned to take an entire period to finish.
Monday: foreign language, math and health
Tuesday: social studies, science and art
Wednesday: English and math
Thursday: social studies, foreign language and health
Friday: science, English and art
Reports and Grades: The Bullis school year is divided into trimesters. All students receive progress reports at the midpoint of each trimester. Report cards are sent home at the end of each trimester. Students with grades below 70 and those whose grades have changed dramatically also receive interim reports at different points of each trimester. Copies of report cards, progress reports and interims are kept in the student’s school file.
Students receive numerical grades in all academic subjects according to the following system:
90-100—Excellent performance within subject matter. Has
demonstrated excellent knowledge and mastery of skills and their application.
80-89—Very good performance within subject matter. Has
demonstrated facility with skills and their application.
70-79—Adequate performance. Has demonstrated basic knowledge and grasp of skills and their application.
60-69—Poor performance. Has not fully met course objectives, but has demonstrated sufficient knowledge and familiarity with skills to pass the course, indicating concern in cases where course is sequential.
Below 60—Inadequate performance. Has demonstrated inadequate knowledge and little or no grasp of skills and their application. Failure, no credit.
Students who have not completed all assigned work during any marking period may receive a grade of incomplete at the discretion of the teacher. Students have ten days from the end of the marking period to make up all unfinished work. Work will not be accepted after the grace period has expired.
Effort Grade Criteria:
- Coming to class promptly, with assigned work completed and correct class materials, ready to begin work.
- Contributing positively to class discussion: answering questions raised by the teacher or by a student and sharing ideas and insights with the class.
- Paying attention in class: listening to the teacher or student who is speaking and taking notes when appropriate.
- Exercising self-control by refraining from comments and actions that are inappropriate in content or timing.
- Cooperating with the teacher in fostering a classroom atmosphere of courtesy, mutual respect and productive activity.
- Taking the initiative to anticipate absences, to make up missed work, to keep appointments and to seek help from the teacher when necessary.
- Correcting homework and class work and keeping papers readily accessible for efficient review.
- Writing legibly and neatly, heading papers and keeping notebooks in orderly fashion.
- Making an independent effort to learn.
Additional criteria applying to specific disciplines are discussed in class.
Effort grades range from 5 (strongest effort) to 1 (weakest effort) with 3 being average. What effort grades mean:
5 – Always meets or exceeds criteria.
4 – Often meets criteria; may need to improve in a couple of areas.
3 – Generally meets criteria with room for overall improvement.
2 – Seldom meets the majority of the criteria.
1 – Fails to meet criteria on a consistent basis.
Honors and Advanced Placement Courses
Honors and AP courses receive a five point “weight,” which is reflected in a student’s cumulative Grade Point Average on his or her transcript. It should be noted that grades in Bullis’s AP courses reflect the expectations of the College Board’s grading policies for that course’s exam.
If a Bullis student takes an AP course, he or she is required to take the AP exam.
The Bullis School Code of Academic Honesty
Academic honesty is critical to the education of individual students and to the integrity of the Bullis community. Students who misrepresent their own work or present the work of others as their own deprive themselves of the benefits of the learning process.
Plagiarism is the
presentation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own. While plagiarism is
generally associated with research papers, other assignments may also be
plagiarized. These include homework assignments, essays, written labs, oral
presentations and visual presentations. In order to avoid plagiarizing, a
student must appropriately cite any source used in preparing or completing an
assignment. Because of the seriousness of this issue, students are encouraged
to ask their teachers for clarification if there is any doubt as to whether a
source must be cited. A student may not reproduce his or her own work for a
Cheating is related to
plagiarism. A student who utilizes another student’s work, copies from another
student, shares information about a graded assignment, copies from his or her
own notes during a graded assignment or in any way misrepresents his or her
knowledge during a particular assessment is cheating. Cheating may occur on
tests, quizzes, homework assignments, labs and other graded work. As policies
can vary in some cases by department, teacher and assignment, students are
encouraged to clarify any questions about the expectations pertaining to
A student who plagiarizes
or cheats appears before the assistant principal. The assistant principal determines
whether the student is responsible and will usually refer the student to the
Conduct Review Board (CRB). The CRB conducts a hearing and recommends consequences
based on the following guidelines:
A first offense typically
results in the student being required to re-do the assignment without
unauthorized assistance. The
resulting grade is entered with a 50% deduction. This grade cannot be dropped. A Disciplinary Warning is issued.
A second offense typically
results in a suspension of 2-5 days and a specified period of Disciplinary
Probation. No credit will be given for the work in question.
A third offense at any time
during the student’s career at Bullis will most likely result in the student
being permanently separated from the community. No credit will be given for the
work in question.
Steps will also be taken to ensure that the student
understands the severity of his or her actions and learns from the experience.
Given the violation of community trust implicit in academic dishonesty, a
student’s participation in certain school activities may also be restricted.
Academic Honors: At the end of each trimester, an honor roll is posted. The Upper School awards certificates to students who have distinguished themselves academically. A student whose average grade is 88 or above earns Honors designation; those whose average grade is 92 or above earn High Honors.
Academic Difficulty: If a student has a grade average below 70 in any course, he or she should see his teacher as soon as possible. If the student is having serious difficulty in a class, the teacher may require that he or she attend extra instruction for that subject.
Extra instruction may take place immediately after school or at mutually free times. Extra instruction takes precedence over all activities except science labs and scheduled athletic contests.
Academic Improvement Plan:
A student with a failing
grade or with grades below 70 in two or more courses is placed on an academic
improvement plan for a maximum of two trimesters. Specific guidelines,
including a daily academic checklist, for improving work and for judging
improvement are established so that the student and parents understand the
school’s expectations. The
improvement plan is designed to help students achieve at a high level and to
experience academic success.
The progress of students placed on an improvement plan is reviewed at
regular intervals during the school year, and a student is removed from an
improvement plan if he or she has no grades below a 70 at the end of the
A student with any grade
below 70 after two trimesters on an
improvement plan is placed on academic probation, which constitutes a major
change in a student’s status and results in a contract hold for the following
school year.* Specific guidelines, including a daily academic checklist, for
improving work and for judging improvement are established so that the student
and parents understand the school’s expectations. The progress of students
placed on academic probation is reviewed at regular intervals during the school
year, and a student is removed from academic probation if he or she has no
grades below a 70 at the end of a trimester. Failure to satisfy requirements of
academic probation may hinder a student’s ability to return to Bullis the
*Once a student has been placed on two improvement plans during his or her time in the Upper School, he or she will be placed directly on academic probation if any of the following conditions occur:
- He or she has at least one grade below a 70 while on an improvement plan;
- He or she has one failing grade while not on an improvement plan;
- He or she has two grades below a 70 while not on an
Homework: Homework is given regularly in all courses at Bullis. Students have 20 to 45 minutes of homework for each class each night, depending on course and level. Students are responsible for all homework. When homework is collected, it is evaluated and returned in a timely fashion. While a single homework assignment of normal length is usual over a weekend or short (three-day) holiday, students may be assigned (and should expect in honors-level courses) lengthier assignments for longer holidays or vacations.
Students have time to do homework in study hall during the school day. Making good use of this time can reduce the amount of time spent studying in the evening. In the case of a prolonged excused absence from school, students will be helped in getting assignments and materials. In all other cases, students are responsible for getting all missing homework assignments and materials from teachers. Upon returning to school, students are responsible for checking with teachers to see that work is up-to-date and for making up any missed quizzes or examinations as soon as possible.
Study Halls: Study halls are intended for studying and completing school-related work. Students should arrive with all materials so that they can make use of the entire period. Proctors insist on quiet, especially in the ninth- and tenth-grade study halls, so work can be completed and proper study habits developed.
To leave study halls for extra instruction or to do research in the library, students need a written pass from the appropriate teacher. Study hall proctors do not write notes for students. Students are expected to get passes in advance. Upperclassmen have more independence in this area and are to exercise greater responsibility.
Summer School: Students who fail any course during the regular school year must make up that course in summer school at Bullis or at another institution. Students who earn grades of 60-69 in any course may be required to attend summer school to prepare for the following year’s work in that subject. The academic dean must review and approve the syllabus for any summer school course from another institution to be taken for Bullis credit.
- Juniors and seniors, please note: Graduation requirements are published in the Curriculum Guide and on the school’s website. Please understand what is expected. Check with the academic dean if you have any questions or problems.
National Honor Society
Bullis annually selects students to its chapter of the Senior National Honor Society in accordance with the society’s national by-laws. “Membership in the National Honor Society is a privilege, not a right, based on the four criteria of scholarship, character, service and leadership” (N.H.S. Constitution).
Selection Process: Students possessing a cumulative weighted average of 91.5 percent are nominated for membership. The difficulty level of the student’s course load is a consideration of nomination. Students wishing to pursue their nomination complete a student activity form detailing information on their service to the school and community, participation in school life and areas of leadership. The N.H.S. advisors compile a file on each student, which includes his or her activity form, transcript, conduct record and a faculty evaluation based on the four criteria.
A faculty council is responsible for electing students to membership. Members of the faculty council evaluate anonymous copies of each student’s file. A student must receive at least three positive votes to be accepted for membership. After a final tally of the votes, the advisors inform the faculty council of the students they elected. The N.H.S. advisors then send letters to all nominees informing them of the decision of the faculty council.
Membership: A student must maintain a cumulative average of 91.5 percent and participate actively in N.H.S. activities to remain a member. Any student who fails to meet the society standards comes before the faculty council to discuss the situation. The faculty council may dismiss any student who violates the by-laws of the society or the rules of the school.
Members of the National Honor Society develop and execute Community Service projects, and work collaboratively with the Community Service Club.
Peer Tutoring: Through peer tutoring, Upper School students help other students with studies. The program helps match students and schedule meetings. Tutoring may be arranged through the Upper School Learning Support office.
Communicating with Faculty/Administrators
Parents of Upper School students with academic, athletic, extracurricular, health or disciplinary concerns should contact the first person listed in the appropriate category below. If you are unable to resolve the matter, you should then proceed to the next person.
- Academics: Teacher, Advisor, Department Chair, Academic Dean, Principal
- Athletics: Coach, Boys’ or Girls’ Athletic Director, Upper School Assistant Principal
- Extracurriculars: Advisor, Upper School Assistant Principal, Principal
- Health: Nurse, Advisor, Upper School Assistant Principal, Principal
- Disciplinary: Upper School Assistant Principal, Principal
Participation in athletics at Bullis is both a privilege and
a responsibility. As members of a Bullis athletic team, student-athletes are
expected to make a personal commitment to represent Bullis in an exemplary
fashion and to follow rules of training and conduct necessary to maintain
strong, healthy minds and bodies. Because student-athletes are in a highly
visible position requiring leadership and responsibility, they are held to a
higher accountability of conduct and behavior than students who choose not to
participate in interscholastic athletics. Athletic consequences, therefore, are
implemented independently of and in addition to any recommended through the
The following rules apply to all students participating in
interscholastic athletic activities or attending team-related activities, including
out-of-season camps or tournaments. These rules apply at all times throughout
the school year, beginning with pre-season tryouts, extending to the last day
of school, and including any summer team-related activities.
Loss of athletic eligibility applies to games only. For the
purposes of this eligibility policy, a game is defined as a single
interscholastic contest, match or meet. Student-athletes will be expected to
practice with their team during the period of suspension. If the loss of athletic
eligibility occurs prior to the final game of the season, the student-athlete
will be suspended for the subsequent week (one or two regular season games) of
the current season of play. If the loss of athletic eligibility occurs during
or after the final game of the season, the student-athlete will be suspended
for the first two weeks (one or two regular-season games) of the next season of
play, whether in the same school year or the following school year. If the loss
of athletic eligibility occurs during the final game of one’s senior season,
the student-athlete will be required to serve community service or other
assigned activities as determined by the athletic directors and/or the dean of
Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco
Student-athletes shall not use or possess tobacco products,
drugs, alcohol or performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, whether it
occurs on or off school property or at a Bullis School function.
Consequences for violations of the Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Policy:
- The student-athlete will be suspended from
interscholastic competition for one week (one or two games).
student-athlete will lose any leadership position on the team for the remainder
of the season.
- The student-athlete will be dismissed from interscholastic competition for the remainder of the season
- The student-athlete will be required to attend substance-abuse counseling as recommended by the school.
Student-athletes must maintain a cumulative average of 70 and
have no failing grades in a marking period. Grades will be reviewed by the
Upper School Principal after the official submission to the Upper School office
at each mid-trimester and again at the end of each trimester, a total of six
times each year. All student suspensions will be initiated on the day that
grades are reviewed.
Consequences for violations of the Academic Eligibility Policy:
- The student-athlete will initially be
suspended from interscholastic competition for a minimum of one week. During
that time, the student-athlete cannot attend practice or attend away
games. He/she may attend home
games at the discretion of the coach and the athletic director, but he/she may
not be in uniform.
- During the suspension, the
student-athlete will be placed on an academic improvement plan by the Upper
School Principal that will include a daily checklist as well as mandatory extra
instruction meetings. The
student-athlete’s academic performance will be reassessed after one week by the
Principal and will be based on grades, effort, teacher comments, and other
necessary indicators of progress. Once the week is complete, students will
become eligible when they have demonstrated through grades, effort grades and
teacher comments progress towards improving his/her overall performance.
Bullis student-athletes are expected to display appropriate
conduct and sportsmanship at all times throughout the season.
Consequences for violations of the Sportsmanship Policy:
- If a student-athlete is ejected from a game, he or she
will be suspended from the next interscholastic competition.
a student-athlete is ejected from a second game for unsportsmanlike behavior
during the same season, he or she will be suspended from the next two
player ejected from more than two games for unsportsmanlike behavior during one
season will be suspended for the remainder of the season and will lose the
opportunity to receive any post-season honors.
Individual league policies in boys’ soccer (IAC) and boys’
ice hockey (IAC) meet or exceed the consequences detailed above and thus
supersede the Sportsmanship Policy in the case of a single ejection. The
Sportsmanship Policy applies to all student-athletes in cases of two or more
ejections in a single season.
Consistent daily attendance is vital to the academic and
social development of Bullis students. Attendance is also directly linked to
success in the classroom. Please follow the set procedures when a student will
be absent from school. These procedures help us meet our responsibility to be
aware of your child’s whereabouts and to ensure his or her safety.
Unexcused absences without notice are unacceptable and may
lead to serious disciplinary consequences. Bullis School encourages parents to
support our efforts to promote honesty and responsibility in our students and
to support our attendance and lateness policies by making sure that students
only miss school for appropriate reasons.
Bullis follows the attendance policy of the State of Maryland, which defines the following as appropriate reasons for absence from school.
- Illness of the student
- School approved out-of-school activity
- Death in the immediate family
- Physical incapacity (documented)
- Mental incapacity (documented)
- Court summons
- Violent storms
- State emergency
- Religious holiday
Bullis regards days or classes missed for the above reasons as excused absences, for which any missed work may be made up for full credit.
All other absences are considered unexcused absences.
Teachers will provide make-up opportunities for students who have missed
assignments, tests or quizzes during an acknowledged unexcused absence.
However, students can only earn up to 80% credit for the assignment. It is
important to note that teachers will not be expected to re-teach material that
a child missed due to an unexcused absence. Any student with an unexcused
absence without notice (class cut) will not be eligible for 80% credit, and
will receive 0% credit. A pattern of unexcused absences or a flagrant
initial offense is handled within the discipline system and may lead to work
detail, Saturday detention, probation or dismissal. Students who miss school
for false or misleading reasons, regardless of who supplied the reasons, may be
required to appear before the Conduct Review Board for participating in a lie.
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Absence from School:
If a student will be absent
and is unable to notify the school ahead of time, a parent or guardian must
phone the Upper School Office by 8:15 a.m. so that the absence can be verified
as excused by the time first-period attendance is collected. If a student is
not in class and no call has been received, the absence may be considered
unexcused. Please call the Upper School Attendance Hotline at 301-634-3630 or send an e-mail to USattendance@bullis.org.
In the case of all anticipated excused or unexcused absences,
Upper School students must
inform the school one week ahead of time with a signed letter from home that
states the reason for the absence and when it will occur. They will then
receive a Notified Absence Form from the Upper School Office. The
form is to be signed by the teachers of classes that will be missed and by the
principal at least two days before the day of the absence. Mandatory
suspensions from school for disciplinary purposes will be considered excused
absences. The principal may require a physician’s note for continual absences
due to illness.
Unexcused absences without notice from class, assembly, or
meetings (cuts) are not permitted. These offenses will result in Saturday
morning detention and two disciplinary points. An egregious offense may result
in more serious disciplinary action, including an appearance before the Conduct
Absence and Credit:
Excessive absences impede a
student’s ability to participate fully in the classroom environment. Students
who are frequently absent from class will inevitability suffer academic
consequences. Any student who attends 85% or less of class meetings will be
denied credit for the course whether the absences are excused or unexcused and
regardless of mathematical average. The student must submit a written petition
to the principal requesting credit and attend a meeting to discuss the
requests. Three late arrivals count as a missed class under the 15 percent
Any student who misses 10* or more classes in one trimester will be
placed on Attendance Probation. If a student is placed on Attendance Probation,
arrangements must be made ahead of time with the assistant principal for all
absences in the following trimester. Any senior on Attendance Probation in the
third trimester will forfeit their exam exemption regardless of mathematical
*School-sponsored trips, athletic contests and religious holidays will not be included when calculating the total number of absences.
If a student must leave
school before the end of the normal school day, he or she must check out at the
Upper School Office. A student will be dismissed early only if a parent phones
or sends in a note in advance, explaining the reason for leaving early. Early
dismissal will be marked excused or unexcused using the Attendance Policy
Late To School Policy:
It is the responsibility of
Bullis Upper School students to report to school by 8:00 a.m. If a student
arrives at school late or is late to a class, he or she must check in at the
Upper School Office and get a pass to be admitted to class. Lateness to school
is disruptive to teachers and to fellow classmates. If a student is
consistently late to school, he or she may be subject to the following
consequences: detention, a parent conference with the dean of students and the
Upper School principal and, if the behavior does not improve, an appearance
before the CRB.
Late To Class Policy: If a student is late to class he or she must report to the
Upper School Office for a late slip, or have a note from the prior teacher
explaining the lateness. Each late arrival after the third one may result in a
one percent reduction in the student’s trimester grade in that course. The
teacher will fill out a Student Comportment Form to notify the student, the
parents, the advisor and the principal that this academic consequence has been
imposed. The maximum penalty in a course is the loss of five percent of the
grade for that trimester. At that time, the principal must be informed before
any further penalty is assessed, and a parent conference may be required.
College Visits: For college visits, juniors and seniors are allowed (with
advance notification given to the principal) to miss a combined total of six
days of school for college visits. All missed assignments must be
Juniors are discouraged from visiting colleges while school is in session, and we recommend that visits take place during weekends, spring break and summer vacation between junior and senior years.
The following list includes some of the current clubs and activities at Bullis. Students may get more information about a club by talking with a club member or advisor.
Community Service Club
The Community Service Club is one of
the largest and most active clubs on the campus.Students participate in several long-standing
service traditions, including the Thanksgiving basket project and Pie Bake, an annual
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and a Cereal Drive.In addition, members are involved in ongoing
service projects including visits with the elderly at Manor Care, a reading
buddy program at The Deiner School, and regular Saturday volunteer sessions at
A Wider Circle.
“It’s Academic” Team
Selected students compete against one another in contests requiring rapid recall in art, history, literature, mathematics and science. Competition against other schools may be arranged. Students also prepare for appearances on the “It’s Academic” television show.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)
Members of SADD work to inform other students of making destructive decisions, and of practical ways to combat this problem. The group provides literature and sponsors speakers and discussion groups about their concern.
Diversity Awareness at Bullis (DAB)
DAB promotes cultural awareness amongst Bullis’s diverse community. The club sponsors dinners, films, speakers, participation at conferences and other activities. DAB
is open to all Upper School students who seek to promote and support our
mission of Diversity and Equity at Bullis. Each year, Bullis supports a delegation of students who attend the
Student Diversity Leadership Conference sponsored by NAIS. There, DAB leaders receive training and
return to our campus ready to conduct workshops on diversity-related issues
with fellow students, coordinate speakers and assemblies, and network with
students at area independent schools.
Bullis Ambassadors are affiliated with the Admission Office. Ambassadors are trained to give tours not only to prospective students and their families, but also to school visitors such as alumni, trustees and other school officials. Ambassadors’ training educates selected Upper School students about the school’s history and traditions and about how to show the school’s facilities. Ambassadors are also taught how to communicate with parents and other adults in a comfortable manner.
All freshmen are involved in the Peer Mentor Program, which is designed to help ease the transition to the Upper School. Peer Mentors are juniors and seniors, chosen through a rigorous selection process, and are responsible for leading weekly discussion groups, planning special activities and hosting guest speakers on today’s issues.Peer mentors are expected to participate in a retreat.
Bullis Student Tutoring
Bullis supports student tutoring services for students by providing a supervised meeting space and time for students to work with trained and qualified peer tutors. Our student tutors receive community service hours for their work. They are selected through an application process and receive tutoring training. Our tutors have demonstrated a consistently high level of success in the areas they tutor. For more details please contact your divisional learning specialist. Students interested in applying to become a tutor can speak with the Upper School learning specialist.
Students create and edit several school publications. To start helping with a publication, see the advisor.
The school newspaper, Bullis Bulldog, published several times each term, describes important events in the life of the school and provides students with an opportunity to address the entire community on issues of importance. Lower, Middle and Upper School students are encouraged to become involved in the publication.
Roll Call is the Bullis School yearbook. Its publication is the responsibility of a committed staff of student editors under the direction of an advisor. Students interested in photography, layout and business affairs are encouraged to become involved.
Logos is the school journal of art and literature. Any student may submit poetry, prose or artwork for publication.
Statement of Philosophy
The College Counseling Office supports all Bullis students as they navigate the college admission process. Our overall goal is to provide our students with the necessary tools to make good, informed decisions. We want each senior to get to the decision-phase of the process with options—options among a list of schools that fit his or her academic, social, athletic and extracurricular needs. Fit is our primary criterion for choosing a college. We are not driven by a manufactured list based on prestige or “name,” but by the hope of helping each individual student find schools that are right for him or her. We strive to help students find places where they will be happy and productive throughout their entire college experience
We recognize the college process, when approached most effectively, must be a team effort. Parents and counselors certainly should be a part of this team, but the student must play the central role. Parents assist, encourage and act as sounding boards; a counselor listens, recommends and serves as a vital resource for information, but when the student actively engages and takes ownership of the process, they benefit the most. Students who take charge actively seeking information and assistance fare best while learning a lot about themselves.
We hope to empower our students to:
- fully embrace the self-examination that precedes the college search process;
- locate and use quality resources;
- ask provocative, informing questions;
- write and speak about themselves with pride and confidence; and
- make good, informed decisions.
The College Counseling Office has resources (guidebooks, college publications and software) available for students and parents. We also maintain a link on the Bullis Web site with announcements about upcoming college visitors and standardized test dates.
College Evaluation Goals and Policy
As a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Bullis School adheres to the policies governing communication between schools and colleges endorsed by the association. These are spelled out in the association’s “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.”
- Provide, in a timely manner, for colleges and universities accurate, legible and complete official transcripts for the school’s candidates.
- Provide colleges and universities with a description of the school’s marking system.
- Provide a school profile that clearly describes special curricular opportunities (e.g., honors, Advanced Placement courses, seminars) and a comprehensive listing of all courses with an explanation of unusual abbreviations and any information required for proper understanding.
- Provide accurate descriptions of the candidates’ personal qualities that are relevant to the admission process.
- Report any significant changes in candidates’ academic status of qualifications between the time of recommendation and graduation, consistent with federal, state or local regulations.
- Urge candidates to understand and discharge their responsibilities in the admission process. Candidates will:
- Comply with requests for additional information in a timely manner.
- Respond to institutional deadlines and refrain from stockpiling acceptances.
- Refrain from submitting multiple deposits or making multiple commitments.
- Respond to institutional deadlines on housing reservations, financial aid, health records and course prescheduling, where all or any of these are applicable.
- Not reveal, unless authorized, candidates’ college or university preferences.
- Advise students and their families not to sign any contractual agreement with an institution without examining the provisions of the contract.
- Exercise their responsibility to the entire educational community.
- Counsel students and their families to file a reasonable number of applications.
- Counsel students and their families to notify other institutions in writing when they have accepted an admission offer.
The Bullis Upper School administration, head of school and Board of Trustees endorse the following guidelines for use in formulating an accurate assessment of a candidate’s personal characteristics, for measuring these characteristics’ relevance to college admission consideration and for determining whether a change in a student’s status after the initial evaluation should be reported.
Assessing Personal Characteristics: The college counselors will write school evaluations for all Bullis students. We will present accurate, balanced appraisals of students’ academic achievement, potential, character and personal contributions. Evaluations are primarily based on the relationships we develop with students and supplemented by progress reports and discussions with faculty and administrators.
Relevance for College Admission Consideration: The relevance of character and conduct assessments are measured by the degree to which they have affected an applicant’s academic progress, the progress of others or the order and integrity upon which the school community depends. Any single violation of a major school rule or chronic pattern of lesser violations, therefore, may be relevant. Breaches of integrity, lying, cheating or plagiarism in the senior year will be communicated to colleges.
Significant Change in Status or Qualification: Significant changes in academic qualification are apparent to college admissions officers because they request trimester and final grades for the senior year as a matter of course. Bullis communicates any relevant change in the conduct of a student, and all cases of suspension, dismissal or withdrawal, to all colleges to which a student has applied, as required by the principles of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, of which Bullis is a member.
Bullis sophomores and juniors are required to take the PSAT in the fall. Students are also encouraged to take the SAT I and II exams as well as the ACT exam when appropriate. We are a national test center for the ACT and offer it here twice a year (September and April), but do not offer the SATs on campus except for non-standard administrations. The College Counseling Office will advise about when best to take the exams, guide students through the registration process, as well as answer questions about test formats, scoring and what can be learned from results.
Please visit the College Counseling section of this website for more information.
Each Bullis student is expected to be honest and courteous,
to show respect for the rights and opinions of others and to conduct himself or
herself as a good community member. This often means going beyond a simple
commitment to abide by stated rules. In all situations—on or off campus—Bullis
students are to display the good judgment, behavior and attitude that are
cornerstones of constructive relationships with others and that reflect
positively on the entire school community. Bullis students are to abide by the Honor Code at all times.
Day-to-day rules are needed in any community to set
identifiable standards and to ensure fair treatment of community members. The
basic rules at Bullis are supported by traditional conduct systems designed to
meet the educational needs of Upper School students. A good conduct system is
educative, not solely punitive. Our aim in personal discipline, as in academic
discipline, is to help students understand that their choices in behavior have
consequences. To this end, Bullis
seeks to provide students both formal and informal guidance on attendance,
academics, athletics, extracurricular, network use and other day-to-day rules
and expectations. No policy can
address every conceivable situation, therefore Bullis utilizes a range of interventions
as determined necessary to meet the needs of students and the community.
In the Upper School, students have
greater responsibility for their conduct. Every student should evaluate his or
her behavior as a member of a learning community. Faculty hold and enforce
expectations for appropriate behavior in their classes and throughout the
school day. The assistant principal handles problems dealing with excessive
tardiness, repeated dress code problems and serious or continued rule
Students are encouraged to take action whenever they observe
a peer in an improper or wrongful act. It is possible to bring an incident to
the attention of a faculty or staff member in confidentiality if the student
makes that intention clear from the start.
Bullis reserves the right to immediately suspend or dismiss a
student for serious conduct which compromises health or safety or for taking
any action that may be judged prejudicial to the school, whether at school or
elsewhere, that brings discredit or embarrassment to the school.
on Bullying and Harassment
Bullis School is committed to giving each member of the school
community the full measure of dignity and respect to which he or she is
entitled. Diverse religious, ethnic, racial, economic and cultural backgrounds,
sexual orientations, and gender identities, as well as different learning
styles and abilities, are represented within the student body and faculty,
staff and administration.
Bullis strives to create and maintain
a caring and safe learning and teaching environment in which everyone can learn
and develop to his or her fullest potential without feeling fear or
intimidation. To this end, our school community will not tolerate bullying or
harassment. We consider unacceptable all forms of bullying, which we define as
a repeated conscious, willful, malicious and/or deliberate activity that
excludes, harms, induces fear, threatens further aggression, or creates
terror. Furthermore, we will not
allow harassment of any sort based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation,
gender identity, national origin, religion, age, physical ability, economic
status, personal qualities or learning differences. We define harassment, which can be intentional or
unintentional, as unwelcome, harmful behavior based on a personal
characteristic of the person harassed. Unacceptable behavior, whether involving
bullying or harassment, includes, but is not limited to, verbal abuse, physical
bullying/harassment or the threat of physical bullying/harassment, gossip, and
the use of technology (including but not limited to the Internet, cell phones,
e-mail, instant messaging, iChat, blogging, web sites and photography) which
affects any member of the community’s comfort level, behavior or performance in
Any student who believes that he or
she has been the target of bullying or harassment or has witnessed the bullying
or harassment of another student by any member of the school community should
contact his or her advisor, classroom teacher, counselor, assistant principal or
At the discretion of the
assistant principal, instances of bullying or harassment may result in
disciplinary action including, but not limited to, an appearance before the
Conduct Review Board or Administrative Review Board.
Upper School Student Comportment Forms
Student Comportment Forms (SCF) are used to notify students
when they display a lapse in judgment or develop a pattern of poor behavior.
Copies of the SCF are distributed to a student’s advisor and the principal through Bullis email. It
is the student’s responsibility to share the SCF with their parents. SCFs
emphasize behavior, attendance and honor code infractions. The SCF serves to
initiate a disciplinary response. At the discretion of the assistant principal a
comportment form may result in a warning, detention or an appearance before the
Conduct Review Board. Students who are assigned to after-school detentions may
be required to miss all or a portion of their after-school activities at the
discretion of the assistant principal.
Upper School Point System and Detention
The Upper School follows a point system to monitor uniform
violations, lateness, and truancy. Students will earn one point for each dress
code infraction and for each tardy, as well as two points for each unauthorized
absence. After earning a set number of points, students will face the following
5 points: 3:00 p.m. detention
8 points: 3:00 p.m. detention
10 points: 3:00 p.m. detention
12 points: Saturday detention
14 points: Saturday detention and a meeting with assistant principal and Upper School principal to discuss further consequences
15 points: Conduct Review Board or Administrative Review Board
Detention is held Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 3:00
to 4:00 p.m. The exact time of Saturday morning detention is determined by the
assistant principal. Detentions take priority over all other school events with
the exception of games or performances, and an unexcused absence from a
detention will be treated as an unauthorized absence. Students begin each
trimester with zero points.
In addition to the point system, students may be placed in a
detention by the assistant principal after receiving a comportment form for any of
the following reasons: an unauthorized absence; excessive absences; or a rule infraction
deemed egregious by the assistant principal. A student may receive more than one
detention for a single comportment form at the discretion of the assistant principal.
Immediate Suspension or Dismissal
Bullis may administratively suspend or dismiss a student immediately for any of the following offenses:
using or selling alcohol or illegal drugs on campus or during a
school-sponsored event, including being present at school or school activities
while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs (1)
- Possessing, brandishing or
using a weapon on campus
- Taking any action that may be
judged prejudicial to the school, whether at school or elsewhere, that brings
discredit or embarrassment to the school (2)
- Lapses in integrity such as
lying, misrepresenting, cheating or plagiarizing
- Sexual misconduct
- Abusing, harassing,
intimidating, bullying, or physically harming another person
- Displaying any form of
racial, ethnic, sexual or religious prejudice
- Displaying gross disrespect
to members of faculty and staff
- Other disruption to the
Determination of whether a
student is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will be made by one
of the following means: direct observation by school representatives, testimony
of witnesses or use of a breathalyzer device. Bullis reserves the right to use
a breathalyzer at school events if there are suspicions that a student is under
the influence of alcohol. If a student is suspected of drinking, he or she will
be removed from the event, and, in a private space, may be asked to take a
breathalyzer test. If the test reveals that a student has been drinking, the
student’s parents will be called to take the child home, and he or she will
face disciplinary consequences.
(2) A private party held off
campus is not a school-sponsored event. The school cannot be responsible for
supervision or enforcement of its rules on substance use at private parties.
Supervision and enforcement at such events is the responsibility of parents and
police. Bullis reserves the right to take disciplinary action, however, when a
student’s actions or conduct at a private party or anywhere else bring
discredit to the school. Examples would be vandalism, property damage, violence
or illegal behavior that gives rise to a medical emergency or a police
response. The host of a private party where such behavior occurs, as well as
other involved students, will be subject to disciplinary action if the matter
comes to the attention of the school.
If a student is caught under the influence of alcohol at a school event or if the Bullis administration becomes aware of a confirmed instance of alcohol use at an off-campus party, the School will implement the following consequences:
1. The student must undergo a medical evaluation at a School-sanctioned treatment program at the family's expense.
2. The student must enroll in a drug and alcohol program recommended through the medical evaluation.
3. The student must successfully complete the program.
4. There must be open communication between the program and Bullis.
A student will be forced to withdraw from Bullis if he or she does not successfully complete the program or if there is another instance of drug or alcohol use during his or her time at Bullis.
At all times the assistant principal has the option of referring
a student to a Hearing Officer who will determine disciplinary
consequences. Referral is typically
made for conduct which grossly violates Bullis expectations (including, but not
limited to, conduct for which the school may immediately suspend or dismiss the
student), conduct which is outside the purview of the Conduct Review Board or
Administrative Review Board, or for conduct which violates a previously-imposed
term of warning or probation. The
Hearing Officer is the assistant head of school, or designee. A decision by the Hearing Officer, or
designee, to impose disciplinary consequences (except dismissal) is final. A decision by the Hearing Officer to
dismiss a student is subject to review by the Head of School, if
Conduct Review Board
An Upper School Conduct
Review Board composed of faculty and students recommends consequences for
conduct involving lapses in integrity, bullying, and accrual of 15 or more
points. Appearing before the
Conduct Review Board should be considered a serious institutional response,
which can affect a student’s standing in the community. The function of this board is
to help a student who has breached community expectations to understand the
poor decision he or she has made and to think about ways to make better
decisions in the future; the board also serves to recommend appropriate
consequences to the principal. It should be noted that the Conduct
Review Board is a recommending body only, and its recommendations are not
binding. In some situations, the
principal may choose to suspend a student for one or more academic days in
order to arrange a Conduct Review Board meeting.
The principal, taking into consideration a Conduct Review
Board recommendation, determines disciplinary consequences. One common
consequence is that a student is placed on disciplinary probation. Being placed
on probation is a serious change in status for a student. It means that unless
behavior changes, or if there is another serious infraction while on probation,
the student may be dismissed from school. If a student’s behavior substantially
disrupts the educational environment, the Conduct Review Board would then
consider whether to recommend suspension or expulsion to the principal, who may
accept, decline, or change the recommendation. A decision by the principal to suspend a student is
Administrative Review Board
An Upper School
Administrative Review Board is available as an alternative to the Upper School
Conduct Review Board upon request of either the student or the assistant principal. The Administrative
Review Board consists of the assistant principal, moderator, principal, and a
fourth adult member of the Bullis community designated by the principal. Like the Conduct Review Board, the
Administrative Review Board recommends consequences for conduct including
lapses in integrity, bullying, harassment, and accrual of 15 or more
points. The Administrative Review
Board reviews all sexual misconduct.
The function of this board is to help a student who has breached
community expectations to understand the poor decision he or she has made and
to think about ways to make better decisions in the future; the board also
serves to recommend appropriate consequences to the principal. It should
be noted that the Administrative Review Board is a recommending body only, and
its recommendations are not binding.
In some situations, the principal may choose to suspend a student for
one or more academic days in order to arrange an Administrative Review Board
The principal, taking into consideration an Administrative
Review Board recommendation, determines disciplinary consequences. One common
consequence is that a student is placed on disciplinary probation. Being placed
on probation is a serious change in status for a student. It means that unless
behavior changes, or if there is another serious infraction while on probation,
the student may be dismissed from school. If a student’s behavior substantially
disrupts the educational environment, the Administrative Review Board would
then consider whether to recommend suspension or expulsion to the principal,
who may accept, decline, or change the recommendation. A decision by the principal to suspend
a student is final unless the student requests review by the assistant head of
school. A written request must be
made within two school days of notification, provide any additional information
to offer in writing, and note specifically if any procedural error is alleged
to have occurred. The assistant
head of school reviews all available information to determine whether any
procedural error materially affected the outcome of the decision and whether
the professional judgment of the principal was arbitrary or capricious. Review by the assistant head of school
is typically completed within three school days. The decision is final except in cases of dismissal.
If a student is dismissed from the Bullis community, parents
may request that the head of school review the decision. A written request must be made within
two school days of notification, provide any additional information to offer in
writing, and note specifically if any procedural error is alleged to have
occurred. The head reviews all
available information to determine whether any procedural error materially
affected the outcome of the decision and whether the professional judgment of
the principal or assistant head of school was arbitrary or capricious. Review by the head is typically
completed within two weeks.
Cars on Campus
Driving to school is both a privilege and a responsibility. Students must register their cars with the Upper School Office and display a valid parking pass on their rear-view mirror. Students may not move their cars during the school day without specific permission, and they are not allowed in the parking lots during school hours. Parking or driving violations, and especially any reckless activity with an automobile, may result in losing privileges to bring a car onto campus and/or an appearance before the Conduct Review Board. Students who park illegally are subject to disciplinary consequences.
Announcements and Messages
Announcements are posted on monitors throughout the entire school each day. After getting the approval of a faculty member, students may submit announcements a day in advance to the Upper School Office.
To reduce interruptions to class, only emergency messages are delivered to a student while he or she is in the classroom. Students should periodically check monitors throughout the day.
Lunch is provided daily. All members of the school community are expected to be present for lunch. Students share the responsibility of serving and clearing tables. Students may not leave campus for lunch.
Lockers are assigned during registration each year and locks are available in the Upper School office. Lockers are school property and should be kept neat and undamaged. No permanent decoration is permitted, and students may be charged if stickers, posters or paint must be removed from the inside or outside of their lockers. Lockers should be locked at all times to protect personal property. The administration of the school reserves the right to search or inspect lockers.
Cigarettes and Tobacco
Smoking, chewing or possessing tobacco and tobacco products on campus or at school-sponsored events is against Bullis School policy and is subject to disciplinary action.
Cell Phones and Music Players
Cell phones pose a threat to academic integrity due to the increased ability to text message, photograph and transmit images. We will not allow cell phones to be used during school hours. Cell phones will be immediately confiscated and returned to students or parents at the conclusion of the academic day or at the discretion of the assistant principal. Any future offenses will result in detention and a student may not retrieve their cell phone until serving detention. If a cell phone is confiscated during a quiz, test or exam, the student may be subject to more serious disciplinary consequences.
CD/MP3/music download players can be used during 9th/10th grade study halls, in the back area of the library, in the Commons and in the classroom at the teacher’s discretion.
Items of Value
Bullis does not require students to bring personal items of value to school. These items are best left at home, and the school is not responsible for them.
Students who have applied to Bullis may arrange campus visits through the Admission Office; otherwise, students from other schools are not permitted on campus during the school day without approval of the principal.
Each student has a faculty advisor who follows his or her progress throughout the year. Students are permitted to request four teachers, one of whom becomes the advisor. New students are assigned advisors. In the Upper School, advisor-advisee meetings occur twice weekly throughout the year.
A student’s advisor serves a number of functions. Advisors try to remain aware of their advisees’ progress and are available whether a student has a personal problem or needs information about a school activity. Advisors may accompany students who appear before the Conduct Review Board and may sit in on conferences with parents. When an advisor cannot help, he or she will try to direct a student to someone who can. In short, if a student has a problem of any kind and is not sure what to do, the faculty advisor is a good person to see.
Upper School Learning Specialist
A trained learning specialist supports Upper School students and teachers to optimize the learning experience. Of particular assistance to students with different learning styles and able to guide teachers toward a broad array of teaching methods, the learning specialist can offer strategies to enhance the cognitive and academic performance of all students.
Upper School Counselor
Available to any student on a drop-in basis, the counselor assists individual students with psychological, emotional or social issues that may arise. Often such issues have a direct impact on a student’s academic experience. Parents may contact the Upper School counselor directly with specific concerns or with information about sources of stress that may arise in the life of any student. The Upper School counselor serves as an advisor to the Peer Mentor Program.
The student council serves as a liaison among students, faculty and administration. The student council meets to address student concerns, plan all-school activities, including Homecoming, and organize committee work that may effect school policy. The secretary/treasurer posts minutes of these meetings for community review.
Ninth through eleventh graders elect executive officers of student council from the junior class in the spring before the year of service. Executive officers work closely with the student council advisor and assistant principal. They are responsible for determining student council agenda items, running Upper School assemblies, supervising class elections and meeting with the Upper School administration to discuss upper school policy and community issues.
Class officers, who serve as the standing body of the student council, represent the interests of each class in grades 9-12. These officers work with class advisors to plan fundraising, community service and social activities. Officers are elected in the spring of the year prior to service for grades 10-12; ninth grade elections take place in the fall.
Each grade has its own faculty representative, or grade level coordinator, who assists with activities for the class, organizes class meetings and works closely with class officers.
Student Council Advisor
An appointed member of the faculty serves as advisor to the student council. The advisor is expected to work closely with executive officers, class representatives and the assistant principal on matters that could influence policy changes in the Upper School.
Holding a student council office is a position of honor and responsibility; thus, no student may run for class or student council office if he or she has any significant honors violations or if he or she is on disciplinary probation. Likewise, a student may be dismissed from office by a majority vote of the council for these and other reasons. The Constitution of the Bullis School student council includes all governing rules.