This document was last updated in June 2019.

Welcome to the life of an MHS parent! High school is an exciting time for your child, but can be stressful for you. Use these FAQs as a guide through your student’s first year at MHS. Plan to refer back to it as necessary!

This section includes:

Getting Connected as a Parent

The district’s database, ASPEN, provides access for parents and students so that they may track student performance and view student grades. Both parents and students have individual logins to Aspen. Google Classroom is a platform for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. Students will use Google Classroom to submit homework but parents are not required to learn it. However parents who are interested in learning this new technology free of charge can contact the SDM foundation (  For a login or to receive updates from a specific classes Google Classroom, email the teacher of that class.

Teachers publish their office hours on Aspen. Many also use Signup Genius to schedule conferences with parents. Each teacher handles conference sign ups differently. You can contact teachers at any time using email and ask to meet to discuss issues or concerns about your student.

Students are assigned guidance counselors freshman year and in most cases that guidance counselor stays with the student through four years at MHS. 

Typically students spend more time with their guidance counselor junior and senior year, freshman students meet their guidance counselor and learn of their purpose during Freshman Seminar.  

If you have any other questions regarding the guidance department, please contact MHS Guidance

Yes! The guidance office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Students are encouraged to make appointments. Parents are encouraged to call, send an email, or schedule an appointment if they want to speak with their child’s counselor in person.

Students can pay with cash or can add dollars to their account using the MySchoolBucks site. If you used MySchoolBucks for your student at MVMMS and/or at the elementary school level, all information (and remaining dollars) carry over to MHS. If you have questions, contact Ken Dolce at .

Getting Involved

Get involved with Melrose Grad Night now! It is a fabulous opportunity to give back to your community. Parents of seniors traditionally do not attend the all night graduation party. The organization relies on parents of non-seniors to make the night a success.  Contact Melrose Grad Night ( to find out more information on volunteer opportunities in the planning or chaperoning of the night.

Melrose Grad Night is an all-night substance free party held on graduation evening. It is run by a group of volunteers and attended by a majority of the senior class.


Freshman year grades are equally important to grades in every other year of high school. Your student’s GPA is cumulative starting in freshman year. And freshman year is usually the easiest year, so encourage your student to keep those grades up!

All courses are included in the GPA calculation, including electives.  Both a weighted and un­weighted GPA is calculated for each student and displayed in Aspen and are reported to colleges.  For the weighted GPA calculation, courses with a designation of AP, Honors, or CP are weighted differently. For example, a grade of a B in an AP class will carry at 4.0 weight, a B in an Honors course carries a 3.5 weight and a grade of a B in a CP class carries at 3.0 weight.  See the Program of Studies  for more information or at

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college-level curricula and examinations offered to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations that are required at the conclusion of the course.  Although a few AP classes are offered to freshman and sophomores, it is more common that these classes are taken by juniors and seniors. Students are encouraged to take higher level courses based on their interest and ability to challenge themselves and should consult with their guidance counselor.

MHS recently was accepted into College Board’s Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program. AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP courses — AP Seminar and AP Research. Completing these 2 courses along with 4 other APs (all with qualifying scores) results in a Diploma from the College Board. Students interested in this program may begin taking these courses sophomore year and should speak to their guidance counselor.  It should be noted, research skills are taught to all students during Freshman Seminar.

Yes, there are many math paths at MHS.  If your child did not take accelerated math in middle school, it is likely that s/he is taking Algebra 1 in 9th grade. There are options to double up on Geometry and Algebra or double up on Algebra and Pre-Calc to position your student to take calculus in 12th grade. Your child’s guidance counselor can discuss these options.

Yes. The override procedure and override form are listed in the Program of Studies found on the MHS website. 

Regardless of the level of class taken (CP, Honors, AP), honor roll is computed with the following criteria: Excellence: All As, High Honors: All As and one B, Honors: All As and Bs.

Students have the option of participating in one of our five Pathways of Study at Melrose High School. In addition to the well established GEM (Global Education in Melrose) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) pathways students have the opportunity to choose a pathway in Business, The Visual and Performing Arts, and  Humanities. Students who complete the GEM and STEM pathway programs will receive a special certificate at graduation. The Pathways of Study are designed to expose students to a focused curriculum that will further prepare them for college and career. Pathways of Study include some scheduling options, a capstone project and in some cases internship opportunities. If your student is interested in a the GEM or STEM pathway, please have them attend a meeting- they are open to all students.  More information can be found at

A student may withdraw from a course with no penalty and no record of his/her presence in the course if s/he does so within the first four weeks for a full-year course and the first 2 weeks for a semester course.  Students are also responsible for making up ALL work for the new course they are entering. In the case of level changes, the existing grade from the sending class will be carried forward and adjusted for level.

All teachers have “office hours” where students can go get extra help. The National Honor Society provides peer tutoring services to all students as part of their community service component. Interested students may email the National Honor Society at or ask their teachers about NHS tutoring.  Students will have two Flex blocks per week.  These blocks are opportunities for students to work directly with their teachers to get extra help and complete any outstanding assignments.  Refer to What is Flex Block? for more details.

Students with a 3.5 GPA or higher are invited to apply to the National Honor Society starting in early spring of Sophomore year and Junior year. Accepted nominees are inducted in the fall of the following school year. The application requires demonstration of excellence in all 4 pillars of the NHS: Scholarship, Community Service, Leadership and Character as well as two letters of recommendation that support these pillars.  Some community service must show direct benefit to the Melrose Public Schools community.

Yes! All students are required to pass the MCAS test in the areas specified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to receive a diploma. Students typically take the Science MCAS in 9th grade and English and Math MCAS in 10th grade and if they do not receive a qualifying score, they can retake it in following years.  Graduation requirements are listed in the Program of Studies or found at


Freshman Seminar is a required course for all freshman at Melrose High School. It meets every other day and focuses on the transition from middle to high school. The class provides an opportunity to use and master Google Apps, Chromebooks, and NoodleTools, communication skills, and note-taking software that works with Google Apps.  Students will also get a chance to meet their guidance counselor, tour the building, and learn more about the ins and outs of Melrose High School.

On Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning, Flex Blocks are 30 minute blocks during which students report to one of their regular classrooms/teacher on a rotating schedule. The purpose of the 30 minute block is for students to get help, ask questions, and complete makeup work/test corrections/rewrites. Flex blocks are in addition to regular teacher office hours before/after school. On days when Flex Blocks are scheduled, other blocks are slightly shorter.

Three electives are required for graduation. One can be taken each year during sophomore, junior, and senior year. Review the Program of Studies to see the possible electives. Note that some electives might not be available if enrollment is too low. There are so many interesting electives to choose, it depends on your student’s interest. Personal finance, current events, introduction to philosophy, accounting, screenwriting, intro to computer science, forensics, anatomy and physiology are just a few. Suggest that your student meet with guidance to choose electives that meet interests.

Looking Down the Road

The vast majority of the college admission process happens junior and senior year. Guidance will offer parent meetings well in advance of deadlines that include junior year and senior year checklists.  Sophomores and juniors will be given the opportunity to take the PSATs to become familiar with the SAT test. It’s never too early for freshmen to talk to family members and other adults to learn about possible career paths, keep their grades up and keep their social media presence clean. Kaplan reports 30% of admission officers from elite schools admitted to checking social-networking pages and doing google searches to gauge character.

Encourage your student to start thinking about personal stories to tell in the college essay. Use the prompts as dinner time conversation. The college essay prompts for 2018 are here:

Students are expected to perform 12 hours of community service (projects and/or individual activities) each year, for a total of 48 hours required to in order to graduate. It is recommended that these hours be completed over the course of the four years, but they can be performed at anytime.  Some other programs like GEM & STEM pathways and NHS also require community service. When students complete community service, they are required to fill out a form, found on the MHS Website, and turn it into the main office. Students who achieve 300 hours of community service are given special recognition at graduation.  Read more on the MHS website:

Every other year, there is an exchange program for students taking Italian, German, French or Spanish that allow for students to experience language immersion by visiting a country that speaks that language and living with a host family. Typically upperclassmen students participate in this and will reciprocate by hosting a student when they visit Melrose. Your student will hear more about the exchange program from his/her language teacher.

Administrative Questions

When a student is not in class for any reason, s/he is considered absent.  Parents are required to call the school (781-979-2216) at the start of the school day to verify the absence of their child each day their child is absent from school. When the student returns to school, a note is only required if this was an excused absence.

If your child is ill but does not require a doctor’s visit, this is an unexcused absence. Seven unexcused absences in any term will result in a failing grade for that term. Excused absences include documented medical visits, verified court appearance, verified college visits, religious holy days and family bereavement. Unexcused absences include family vacations, job interviews, illness not requiring a doctor’s visit, dismissals not meeting the above criteria, tardiness, non-school -related athletic or extra-curricular events, missing 15 minutes or more of class time without proper verification.


Yes, if you send a note with your child, s/he can bring it to the attendance office (the front desk in the lobby, Mr. Brian McPhee) so that s/he is released at the time you designate. Include your phone number on the note. You cannot call to dismiss your child. If your child does not have a note, you must come into the school for dismissal and provide a valid ID.

Students must change into athletic attire (athletic shorts and shoes, t-shirt) for gym class.

The school building doors open at 6am, though the library (i.e., Learning Commons) typically opens around 7:15am.  Breakfast is served at 7:30 in the cafe.

Currently the MHS Learning Commons closes around 4:30pm, though the time can vary day to day.  It typically closes earlier on Fridays and is unavailable on some Wednesdays due to staff meetings.