Pursuit of Excellence

Deerfield Academy believes that attendance in class is essential to individual academic success and community health. However, when appropriate opportunities to pursue off-campus enrichment arise, students may fill out this official request to miss class.

Students are permitted to miss a maximum of five class days each school year. This electronic request form must be received at least three days prior to departure. Forms submitted within three days of departure may be assigned APs, just as a late weekend form would be.

To use this electronic request form, your absence should fall in one of the three following categories:

  • Pursuit of Excellence: For example, an academic conference or competition (aside from those affiliated with Deerfield), an athletic tournament, or a performing arts audition.

To be eligible to petition for pursuit of excellence, students must:

  • Remain in good academic standing;
  • Maintain solid citizenship;
  • Demonstrate extraordinary accomplishment in their areas of excellence;
  • Receive invitations to pursue extraordinary opportunities.

In petitioning, students must establish:

  • In what ways an event furthers their development of excellence;
  • What they have done to qualify for the opportunity;
  • That the opportunity has resulted from a rigorous selection process;
  • That there is no way to engage in the opportunity without missing school.

Interested students should petition by filling out the Pursuit of Excellence Form. The form should be completed as soon as an opportunity arises: at least three 93) days in advance and, ideally, ten (10) days prior to the event. A sub-committee of the Curriculum Committee reviews all petitions. The Office of the Academic Dean notifies students of decisions and, when petitions are approved, notifies classroom teachers. Students are expected to speak to their teachers about upcoming absences and to make up all missed work without requesting extra help from teachers.

Exceptions to the above may be granted at the discretion of the Curriculum Committee.

  • College Visits: Juniors and seniors must speak with their college advisors to plan any college visits, including athletic recruiting trips, prior to submitting this form. It is generally expected that college visit days will not be requested before winter term junior year. However, in the case of a student who is an early Division I athletic recruit or another unusual exception, ninth and tenth graders must speak with a member of the College Advising Office and then may request approval for a College Visit Day.
  • Other: For example, an interview for a summer job or internship that cannot be scheduled on a weekend, a sibling’s graduation or wedding, or a religious observance.

Please note that any absence related to medical issues (such as doctors’ appointments, injury, surgery, or chronic illness) must be approved through the Health Center. Parents are asked to call the Health Center directly (413-774-1600) to discuss their child’s plans. Information will be shared with faculty on a limited basis.

For emergencies (such as the passing of a family member) that will affect a student’s attendance, please call the Dean of Students office (413-774-1454).