Newton Public Schools suspends N rule


Andy Zhou

Newton Public Schools (NPS) has suspended the N rule for review this year in order to develop a more equitable absence policy. 


A state mandate last year disallowed schools from giving consequences based on attendance, initially pausing the N rule. This year, despite the lifting of the state mandate the district has paused the policy for revision. 


In past years, students who were excessively absent were subject to the N rule, and received an “N” next to their grades for the courses they missed. Students with two or more N’s in a course would not receive credit for it. 


“Deans are still giving consequences for students who are egregiously absent,” said Adams dean Khari Roulhac. “We still have CRAs where students who are chronically absent can be supported by social workers who work with the Waltham court offices.” Roulhac also added that students who miss class will naturally have a harder time getting good grades.


The Newton school district suspended the N rule to develop a policy that addressed absenteeism better. “Sometimes, consequences like the N were not necessarily effective,” said Principal Henry Turner. “I think the question is, what can be a more effective way of making sure the students are attending class and not skipping school, and making sure students find value in coming to school?” Turner added that, learning from last year, students can be sick or out of school for long periods of time and giving an N grade as a consequence would not be the right response.


According to Turner, the rule is being reevaluated by a district-wide committee in grades 6-12. As of now, the committee is not sure what will take the N rules place.