Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses some of the common questions and concerns you may have about the high school experience.  Our website has a good search engine, so give it a try if your question is not answered below.

As always, feel free to contact the Guidance Staff directly!

Photo courtesy of MetroWest Daily News

How will I know who my child’s guidance counselor is?

Your child will be assigned to a guidance counselor as a freshman and will remain with that counselor through graduation.  To determine which counselor your child is paired with, refer to the Guidance Staff section of this website.

How many terms and semesters are there in a school year?

There are 4 terms and 2 semesters each school year.  The dates for the 2013 - 2014 school year are:

Semester I: August 27 through January 16

Term 1: August 27 through November 1

Term 2: November 4 through January 16

Semester II: January 21 through June 16*

Term 3: January 21 through March 28

Term 4: March 31 through June 16*

*subject to change pending snow days

How often are report cards and progress reports distributed?

2013-2014 Progress Reports Distributed

2013-2014 Terms Close

2013-2014 Report Cards Distributed

October 4, 2013

November 1

November 8

December 13, 2013

January 16

January 24

March 7, 2014

March 28

April 4

May 9, 2014

June 16



What are the attendance and absenteeism policies at AHS?

The faculty and administration of Ashland High School are committed to offering a quality education to their students. School attendance is crucial to learning and will be closely monitored. Classroom participation and student/teacher interaction are fundamentally important reasons for good school attendance. Therefore, the following policies have been adopted to maximize student attendance in school and in class:

  • Upon arrival to school, students are to report directly to the cafeteria.
  • All students are expected to be in class and homeroom on time. A student who is tardy to class will be admitted to class. If the student has an acceptable note or pass from a staff member, the tardiness will be excused. Otherwise, a student will be assigned detention with the teacher.
  • A student who is enrolled in a course is expected to be present each time class is in session.
  • No student should be absent more than the maximum limits. Students who exceed these limits may incur loss of credit. Examples: Courses meeting yearly - 15 missed classes per year; loss of credit at 16. Semester courses - 8 missed classes per semester, loss of credit at 9. Any student changing classes during the marking period will have his or her total accumulation of absences in the former class carried over to the new class.
  • Extenuating issues may be referred to the Attendance Review Panel.
  • Students who accumulate three class cuts in the same class are subject to loss of credit.
  • Parents will be notified by a warning letter from the Assistant Principal of excessive absences prior to loss of credit.
  • Parents will be notified by letter from the Assistant Principal of a loss of credit when a student exceeds the maximum limit in a particular course. Students have the right to appeal the loss of credit. (Refer to the Appeal Process).
  • Teachers will be informed of a student's loss of credit by the Assistant Principal.
  • Students who have lost credit due to excessive cutting or absences may remain in the course for a grade, but will receive no credit, provided further cuts do not take place and students comply with classroom rules. For example, a student who has lost credit in Spanish I due to excessive absences, but who has passed the course with a grade of D or better, may go on to Spanish II. However, he or she must earn a minimum total of 20 credits in order to graduate from Ashland High School.


Some missed classes are for legitimate reasons and do not count in calculating the maximum limit. Family vacations during school time are not excused absences. The following circumstances are considered legitimate:

  • Absence due to illness or medical appointment, when confirmed by a DOCTOR, IN WRITING.
  • Death in the family, when confirmed in writing by parent/guardian.
  • Observance of religious holidays, when confirmed in writing by parent/guardian.
  • Pre-Approved, school sponsored field trips.
  • Class meetings approved by the administration.
  • College conferences and visitations (maximum of three per year), which have received prior approval from the administration and are supported by notes from parent/guardian.
  • Other school-related and administration-approved meetings or functions.
  • Court subpoenas.
  • Registry of Motor Vehicle appointments (i.e., learner's permit or road test).
  • Extenuating circumstances as deemed by the Attendance Review Panel and/or administration.

 Absence: Calling In

Parents/guardians must call the school (508-881-0177) as soon as possible to register with the office the reason for the student's absence. In the event a parent/guardian does not notify the office by the close of school the following day, the student will automatically be deemed truant and will take the appropriate consequences for truancy. A call must be made within this time frame for each day of absence. The responsibility for this procedure is that of the parent/guardian and the student. No exceptions will be made to this rule.

 Attendance to Class: Class Skips

  • First unexcused absence/skip from class: Extended Detention. A zero will be given for the class cut and no opportunity to make up the work missed.
  • Second unexcused absence/skip from any class: Two (2) extended detentions. In addition, a conference involving the student, parent/guardian, administrator, and, if appropriate, the teacher will be arranged. A zero will be given for the class cut with no opportunity to make up the work missed.
  • Third and subsequent unexcused absence/skip from any class will result in more severe consequences including multiple extended detentions and/or suspension. Three skips from the same class will result in loss of graduation credit for that class.
  • Parent/guardian, student and administrator conference will be scheduled. The student will receive a zero for any work missed.

 Dismissals from School

Parents must sign out a student in the Main Office upon departure. No student will be dismissed without a parent or guardian’s signature unless that student is a senior and is exercising his or her senior privilege to be dismissed during a last-period study. Those seniors exercising this privilege must file the appropriate documentation, and must sign out in the Main Office. Dismissals for medical reasons must be cleared through the nurse who will contact a parent or guardian.

What athletic opportunities does AHS offer?

AHS offers multiple sports during the fall, winter and spring seasons, available to all students.  Refer to the Athletics website for a complete list of teams and coaches.  Prior to each season, a meeting will be held for all student athletes who intend to try out for a team that season.  The coaches will provide information about tryout dates and other relevant details for the upcoming season.  An athletic form and physical form, along with the appropriate sport fee, must be submitted to the Athletic office prior to a student being allowed to participate in tryouts.

What standardized tests will be required during high school?

In addition to the required MCAS tests taken during high school, there are several college admission tests recommended by the guidance department including the PSATs, SATs and ACT exams.  Please refer to College Admissions Tests for more detailed information.

How important is it to be involved in extracurricular activities, such as clubs, sports, and volunteer projects?

Counselors recommend that all students participate in one or more extracurricular activity while in high school to become a well-rounded member of society.  Students who are involved in activities feel more connected to the school.  Also, colleges and scholarship committees frequently request information on extracurricular participation and demonstrated leadership while in high school.

What Student Governance programs are available for students to participate in?

Student Government

Each class at Ashland High School elects a president, vice president, secretary, historian, and treasurer to provide leadership and organization, and establish lines of communication among the student body, student council, school council and the administration. It is the responsibility of the officers to address the needs of the classes and to inform the classes about Student Council activities.

Student Council

The Student Council is the umbrella under which all the other clubs and student organizations at AHS function. Although membership is by election, the council is an "open" council. This means all interested students wishing to participate as council members can join the ranks by attending at least three meetings in a row and volunteering to actively participate in at least three projects of the council (including dances, homecoming, spirit week, community service projects, etc.).  The council participates in statewide conferences and has interest in the national organizations of councils. At AHS, this council is responsible for the student activities calendar and is a support to all clubs and activities. Members are leaders serving as role models to all students and are active participants in meetings and leadership building programs.

Student Advisory Council to the School Committee

Purpose: The members of the Advisory Council to the School Committee consider matters of student interest that come before the School Committee.  They present their collective perspectives as non-voting members to the School Committee. The Advisory Council consists of five elected students.

Are there Community Service requirements for graduation?

Yes, community service is a requirement for student graduation from Ashland High School.  Students must complete a minimum of 25 hours of unpaid service to the community by the first day of senior year. All community service must be completed and all paper work submitted to be eligible for senior privileges. For tracking purposes, we'd appreciate it if this requirement were met by the end of the student’s junior year, but it must be completed by the first day of senior year.

How is the Honor Roll determined at AHS?

An Honor Roll based on three categories of scholastic achievement is published at the end of each marking period. All subjects are treated equally.

  • High Honors: 90 or better in all subjects
  • Honors: 80 or better in all subjects
  • Merit: 80 or better in all subjects, except one grade of 77-79

Do the students have Mid-Year and Final Examinations?

All students are required to take mid-term exams at the end of the first semester in January and final exams at the end of the year in June. Incomplete grades must be turned into the guidance department no later than two weeks after report cards have been issued. The administration will grant extensions, if needed, due to extenuating circumstances.

  • Any senior who attains a grade of 90 or higher in each of the four terms of a yearlong course will be exempt from taking their final exam in that class. Any senior who attains a grade of 90 or higher in Terms I & II of a first semester class will be exempt from taking their final exam in that class.
  • Students who are absent from school during exam periods must provide a doctor’s note.
  • Students must take exams during their assigned class periods.
  • No student will be permitted to take exams during the make-up period unless they have provided the office with a doctor’s note.

What are the requirements for National Honor Society at AHS?

Students who have achieved an exact cumulative GPA 3.2 or higher over their freshman and sophomore years and who are exemplary in the areas of character, leadership and service are eligible for induction into the Socios Chapter of the National Honor Society in November of their junior year.  If students meet the academic requirement, they are then eligible for consideration on the basis of community service, leadership, and character.  Please see the NHS website for more information.

What are the course levels and how are placement decisions made at AHS?

All placements are designed to provide maximum intellectual challenge for each student. The school makes placement decisions on the basis of aptitude as determined by standardized testing, past academic performance, and teacher recommendations. Placement assumes that ability will allow success, but normal student effort is also assumed; low grades are not automatically a basis for dropping levels. It is also assumed that students and teachers will anticipate upward movements in level placements based on intellectual growth over years of schooling. Placement levels may vary in different subject areas, and trial attempts at upward placement are encouraged. All course levels are designed to challenge students, promote critical thought, and provide opportunities to problem solve. The professional staff at Ashland High School is committed to the following: all students, upon graduation, will be expected to demonstrate they can synthesize, organize, and apply knowledge to complex and real life situations, and are fully prepared for post secondary education and/or work. 

Course levels are designated as follows:

  • Level 4 Advanced Placement (AP): A one-year course that ends with a nationally standardized examination that leads to advanced standing and/or credit in college.
  • Level 3 Honors (H): An intense course that demands much independent learning as well as critical, creative, and analytical thinking.
  • Level 2 College Prep 2 (CP2): Courses require a moderate to extensive intellectual development and outside preparation. These courses are designed to prepare students for college-level work. Students are assumed to be self motivating.
  • Level 1 College Prep 1 (CP1): Courses are student-oriented and characterized by lively classroom discussion, group projects, and homework appropriate for high school graduation.  These courses are also designed to prepare students for college.
  • Level 0 Unweighted: Represents courses that are not computed into GPA.

Course Level Placement

Students will be placed in core class levels based on their performance the previous year in the same discipline, as recommended by teachers, counselors, and department chairs. As a general principle, a grade of 85 the previous year will determine a student’s eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement classes. Please speak with your guidance counselor if you have questions regarding a placement decision or wish to discuss an override.

I have heard about Naviance.  What is it and when will we be able to access the system?

Naviance Family Connection is a web-based guidance resource for students to use to help in making decisions about colleges and careers. Juniors and seniors can research colleges, compare GPA, SAT scores, and other statistics to actual historical data from AHS. All students can build a resume, take a career interest inventory, view the schedule of college rep visits, and much more.

All students will now receive a registration code freshman year.  Once they successfully register for the first time, the user name is an email address and the password is one the students choose themselves.  For more information, refer to our Naviance webpage.

Whom can I contact for more information?

Our Guidance Staff is always available to help. 
Also refer to our "Who to Contact" list to find the best person to reach out to in other AHS departments. We look forward to working with you!