A parent must notify the school by 9:00 am if a student is absent. Planned absences require a form to be filled in at least five days in advance. Unexcused absences may result in referral to the Judicial Council. Planned Absence Form

When a student misses a full day of school or if they miss part of the day due to an unexcused absence, they will not be allowed to participate in practices or contests. If a partial day is missed due to an excused absence, they will be allowed to participate (they must attend half of their classes prior to leaving for an athletic event). 


Attendance/School Hours

School begins with first period at 8:00 a.m. Students are expected to be on campus from 8:00 am until 3:15 p.m., even if they have free periods at the beginning or end of the day.

Attendance is recorded at the beginning of every class.

Freshmen and sophomores may not leave campus during the school day (8:00 a.m.-3:15 p.m.). Juniors and seniors may leave campus for lunch only between noon and 1:10 p.m., provided that they are not missing any school appointments/events. Students must sign out before leaving campus. Any student who needs to leave school for any other reason (medical appointments or going home ill are common reasons) must have a parent call the school ahead of time and must sign out in the Upper School Office.


Automobile Use

All drivers must drive slowly and carefully. Students are not allowed to park on campus during the school day. (They may park on the 7th and 8th floor of the St. Vincent’s West Parking Structure). The speed limit on campus is 5 mph. A separate document regarding parking and driving safety will be distributed to all families.

Books and Supplies

Each grade has a specific period to purchase books. When students go to the assigned book pickup time, they will receive a printed schedule, which includes their locker assignment. They will be guided through what books and required supplies to get for the start of the year and checkout electronically. It is best for students to pick up their books at the assigned time. We understand that some families will be out of town. Those students should plan to pick up their books the first day of school.Books each student needs will depend on their individual schedule: what language they are taking, what math and science, etc. All books that are needed for classes are available from the Catlin Gabel bookstore. Also available are specific supplies requested by teachers, such as math binders and science notebooks, as well asoptional items like locks and a limited number of agenda/planners. There are no other required supplies: feel free to use your favorite planner, notebook, pencils, pens and backpack!

All books and supplies bought through the Catlin Gabel bookstore are charged to student accounts. Your monthly billing statement will include an itemized listing of books and supplies bought. Many classes, especially English and history, will have additional books and readers throughout the year.
A limited number of used books will be available Wednesday, August 27. Please note not all books are available used; a full list will be available in mid-August.

Book Pick-up Schedule

Wednesday, August 26, 
9 - 11 a.m.

Used book sale

Cottage - lower level of Barn

Thursday, August 27
Juniors 9 - 11 a.m., Seniors 1 - 3 p.m.

Book pickup

Cottage - lower level of Barn

Friday, August 28

Sophmores 9 - 11 a.m., Freshmen 1 - 3 p.m.

Due date for all US forms

Book pickup

Cottage - lower level of Barn


Cell Phone Policy




In 2010, the Catlin Gabel Student Association (CGSA) worked diligently to create a cell phone policy that would preserve and improve the social atmosphere on campus. CGSA wanted guidelines that could be accepted by everyone and embraced so as to work not as a top-down rule that required enforcement, but as an organic initiative. CGSA believes in the responsibility of students here and also believe their opinions matter, because they define the culture of the school. When people wrote in the survey that they need their cell phones during the day in order to manage their calendar and call their parents and organize their carpools, CGSA took that into account. When other people said that they enjoyed the decreased use of cell phones during the first experiment, CGSA listened to that also. Combining all of these sources of input and keeping the original goals in mind, the CGSA came up with the following policy:

First of all, there can be no use of cell phones in the classroom. This is already an established rule, but must be acknowledged and upheld by students in order to prove our level of responsibility with cell phones and also to prevent cell phones from interfering with the educational productivity of the school. There also are no cell phones allowed at assembly as a common courtesy to the presenter and to everyone present.


Cell phones also cannot be used in the library in accordance with the rules set by the librarians. The library is a place for studying and the potential of cell phones to disturb others is great.

Cell phones cannot be used in the science building either. The science building does not contain any common (lounge) spaces and so students in the science building are in class (where cell phones are not allowed anyway).

These four restrictions are not new, but they must be adhered to in order to preserve our responsibility for our own cell phone use. The new aspect of our policy is to restrict cell phone use at school to practical purposes only. If you need to use a calendar that’s okay, if you need to call your parents that’s also okay, if you need to find a friend who you’re supposed to be meeting with to work on your history project that’s okay too. However, cell phones cannot be used for social purposes. Don’t text your friends who are elsewhere when there are so many interesting, amiable people around who you can talk to face to face. Don’t abandon a conversation with the person in front of you in order to take a phone call from another friend who is elsewhere. And when you are utilizing your cell phone for a practical purpose, use it conscientiously. Don’t text your parents while you’re talking to someone else. Don’t talk on your cell phone in a place where people are trying to study or talk or sleep. Basically, don’t be rude. During the school day you can use your cell phone when you need to, but do so in an unobtrusive way that doesn’t hinder your own or anyone else’s ability to enjoy their surroundings and this school.

If everyone embraces this idea of having a healthy social community, this plan will be a success. So only use your cell phones when you have to (for non-social purposes), use them discreetly, and encourage your friends to do the same.

Thank you in advance, everyone, for making this endeavor a success.

—Your CGSA

(Catlin Gabel Student Association)


Our primary method of communication to parents is via email in the form of the Upper School News You Can Use newsletter and direct email announcements. We urge you to read all communication from us in a timely manner as is it contains the most up-to-date information on upcoming activities, actions we may need from you, and any changes we need to convey. If you have any questions, please contact as at the Upper School Office and we will be happy to assist you.




The Upper School recently assembled a Consequences Committee to review all aspects of the disciplinary system, including the procedures for investigating student misconduct, the operations of the Judicial Council, and the imposition of consequences. Committee members evaluated the fairness and effectiveness of current policies and compared them to procedures for dealing with student misconduct at schools similar to Catlin Gabel, at both a local and national level. It also solicited feedback on the disciplinary system from students, faculty members, and parents. The committee’s goal was to recommend a series of best practices for all aspects of the school’s disciplinary system.

In its final report, the committee concluded that the disciplinary practices of the school are fundamentally sound, and enjoy widespread support from members of the school community. But it recommended a greater effort to communicate the school’s disciplinary philosophy and practices more clearly.

To that end, we would like to share with you the fundamental tenets of our school’s disciplinary system.

In keeping with the school’s progressive tradition, Catlin Gabel’s disciplinary system seeks to promote the ethical growth of the individual student in the context of a safe, tolerant and mutually supportive community. That community operates on trust and is not defined by a large number of rules: community members are instead enjoined to treat themselves, others, and the campus environment with respect and care. When the Head of the Upper School determines that a serious violation of these standards has occurred, a student is generally asked to meet with a panel of the school’s Judicial Council, which consists of three faculty members appointed by the Upper School Head and six students elected by the members of their class. Parents of the student in question are informed that a violation of community standards has occurred and that their student will be required to appear before the Judicial Council at this point.

During interviews with the administration, a student’s academic advisor is present, and students appearing before the Council are encouraged to ask their advisor or another adult member of the community to appear with them for support and counsel. The advisor’s presence generally encourages a student to be more honest and forthcoming from the start of the process, and usually helps a student come to terms with his or her situation much more effectively.

At the Judicial Council hearing, the student is asked to recount the incident to the panel and to reflect on her or his motives and conduct. The panel then attempts to reach consensus on an individualized set of recommendations designed to help the student learn from the experience and reintegrate into the community. These recommendations are sent to the Upper School Head, who is responsible for enforcing them.

While the Judicial Council and the administration attempt to fit the consequences assigned to the particular circumstances of the violation, certain violations are likely to result in suspension (consumption of drugs or alcohol at a school function, for example) or expulsion (serious cases of bullying; multiple violations of the school’s drug and alcohol policy; selling drugs, for example). The guidelines of the Common Application that most students use in applying to college requires them to report violations of the school’s policies in their applications.

The judicious use of suspensions is an effective practice for helping students and the school community to learn from and heal after a serious infraction. Typically the goal is either the separation of the student from the community for a period of time, or to provide him or her with an abrupt change in their daily lives and a time for serious reflection on how they want to shape their teenage years—or a combination of both. The length and type of suspension, as well as conditions associated with the suspension, are tailored to the circumstances of the individual student so as to maximize the potential for learning and growth.

The school provides a structured re-entry program for students who have been suspended, working to establish processes that encourage students to feel that they are being welcomed back into the community as full participants and not on some sort of probationary status.

Following a disciplinary action, the school is prepared to advocate for the student to colleges to which he or she applies, articulating how the infraction fits into the larger context of the student’s experience at the school, including the school’s best understanding of the student’s intellectual, social and interpersonal growth during his or her time at Catlin Gabel.

In the case of significant violations of the school’s ethical standards, the Head of the Upper School communicates the nature of those violations to the general student body, and detail the consequences assigned for those violations. The names of the guilty students are not revealed in these communications.

Dress Code

The School’s standard is simply that clothing be neat, clean, and appropriate to the program of the day. Students who arrive on campus wearing inappropriate clothing will be asked to return home to change.


Grades in the Upper School – A Guide to Verbal Equivalents

Catlin Gabel was founded on the principles of progressive education. One aspect of this approach to education includes a de-emphasis on grades. Students are urged to focus on their individual progress, skill building, and the process of learning instead of grades or GPAs. (For more information about this philosophy, please see http://www.catlin.edu/news/upper-school/grading-gets-a-d)

Why verbal equivalents?

While Catlin Gabel teachers deemphasize grades, we recognize that colleges request grades, which do influence college admission decisions. Verbal equivalents function as a way to address college needs and give students a sense of where they stand compared with students at benchmark schools. Grades are recorded on student transcripts at the end of each year. Catlin Gabel reports grades to colleges during the college application process.

Communicating grades – emphasis on student learning

The school sends written reports to parents and students up to four times per year (once at the end of each term and once in the middle of each term). These reports include information regarding the progress that each student is making in his or her classes. They may include a verbal equivalent, which is also an in-progress assessment that is not recorded on a final transcript (though it may be reported to external institutions that request an in-progress grade before the end of a course). The only grades that are recorded in transcripts, and that contribute to the final GPA of a student, are those awarded at the end of each course. Students are notified of their GPAs at the end of junior year, but this calculation is not recorded or reported to outside institutions.

In addition to these reports, teachers meet with parents of all students during parent-teacher conferences in the fall and whenever there is a concern regarding student learning.

Students are in continual communication with their teachers to review day-to-day work. They receive ongoing constructive feedback on important assignments and class work. This feedback frequently occurs in the form of conferences and in-class conversations and can also include written feedback on papers and exams, and email.

Students who would like to know their grade at any other point in the year can ask the teacher. This opens student-teacher dialogue. At this time, the student can evaluate progress and identify areas needing improvement.

Our progressive approach to student evaluation encourages learning as a process through constant growth. Most importantly, it strengthens the collaboration between students and teachers.




Translation of verbal equivalents

Nearly ExcellentA-
Very GoodB+
Fairly GoodB-
Better than SatisfactoryC+
Less than SatisfactoryC-
Barely PassingD






The school has analyzed the amount of work assigned to students with the goal of providing clear guidelines aimed at insuring that students lead full and balanced, healthy lives, while preserving the strengths of Catlin Gabel’s academic, athletic, and extracurricular offerings.

The homework guidelines were originally based on a weekly schedule with the understanding that Catlin Gabel classes demanded a maximum of 5-1/2 hours per week (combined coursework and work outside of class) from the average student. The following exceptions were taken into account: lab intensive courses require an extra half hour per week; reading and writing intensive courses require an extra hour per week (with an additional hour per week for upper-level English courses); and upper-level accelerated also required an extra hour per week.

These guidelines are based on an “average student” (defined as occupying the middle 50% of a class). The guidelines assume that upper-level students can carry a heavier workload than first and second year students, and that accelerated courses, as well as reading and writing intensive courses generally require more preparation time.

Under the current, cyclical schedule, the school has defined a nightly limit on the amount of homework that a class may assign. The limits are as follows: non-reading/writing intensive courses: 30 minutes per night. Lab intensive courses: 40 minutes per night. Reading & writing intensive courses: 45 minutes per night. Accelerated courses, elective courses and upper level English classes may assign up to a maximum of 1 hour per night.

The school has agreed to the following: No class should demand more than one fourth of its weekly limit of allotted homework to be completed between two consecutive class sessions; in other words, additional homework may not be assigned on a night that a class doesn’t meet.

Reading and writing intensive courses are those classes in which reading and writing constitute the predominant mode of study. Upper-level courses designate the grade level at which the course is aimed, not the grade level of all individuals in the course (a freshman admitted to French 4 would be expected to cope with the upper-level workload).

Each academic department may designate a number of types of assignments (unit tests, class presentations, essays, full lab reports, etc.) that can be expected to result in more stress on a student than regularly scheduled class work. These are designated as calendar assignments. Teachers coordinate these assignments via an online calendar, such that an individual student does not have more than two of these assignments on any one day or more than three such assignments over a contiguous two day period. Students who face more than two calendar assignments in a day, or more than three over the course of two contiguous days, may choose to ask a teacher to move one of those due dates to a mutually agreeable time.

Each academic department may designate a small number of exceptional assignments (end of semester tests and term papers, for example) that can be expected to require more homework time than the limits designated above. Such assignments, designated as major assignments, must be listed on the online workload calendar, and teachers are expected to devote substantial class time to these assignments, to mitigate against large amounts of extra homework. Students who face more than one major assignment due on the same day may choose to ask a teacher to move one of those due dates to a mutually agreeable time. (Exception: these rules do not apply to the final exam period of the year, when students must expect to face more than one major examination per day.)

Teachers and advisors will convey to students clear and specific expectations regarding workload (how long they should expect to spend writing a paper, studying for a test, etc.). Students, teachers and advisers should revisit these expectations periodically.



An independent preschool through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |

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