We recently switched our son from public school in Montgomery County to Washington Episcopal School (WES). The difference is simply amazing. He is excited to go to school, broadening his interests and starting to appreciate the relevance of learning. Worksheets are out the window and hands on learning in every subject brings the material to life (this difference is especially remarkable in science). The kids work in a collaborative, supportive environment where diverse opinions and perspectives are valued and appreciated. The small class size enables teachers to really get to know the children. The teachers and staff are committed to nurturing the whole child. The WES community is incredibly welcoming and diverse. The music and arts programs are taught by Masters level instructors who integrate the arts curriculum with the academic curriculum and take advantage of the cultural treasure of Washington DC (like trips to the Kennedy Center and National Gallery of Art). The school has national and international trips built into the curriculum that enable children to make real life connections with what they are learning and gain a progressive sense of independence over time. It was not an easy decision to make the leap to private school, but we are blown away by the difference in the quality of education at WES and frankly couldn't be happier!
This is our 4th year at WES and we are very happy. We have two daughters at the school and our family is a mixed race and religion family. We couldn't feel more welcome at the school and our religious differences are celebrated and respected. My children have thrived thanks to the curriculum and the wonderful teachers from Nursery through 2nd Grade. The administration is professional and friendly and always ready to help.
My child is currently in their Pre-K programme and absolutely loves it here. They have a wonderful arts programme, science, music, and French/Spanish classes for the little ones and we are amazed at the extensive vocabulary our child has developed in the last few months. It has been proven that children like structure and this school gives them this. A varied curriculum with wonderful after school activities, we have made the right choice for our child. Yes the fees are high but you get what you pay for. For parents there are many different social events that you can pick and choose from. There is no pressure to attend. Right from the application process we have been made to feel welcome, supportive and heard.
Our daughter has been at WES for two years, beginning in the 6th grade. From the start, we have all felt welcomed and our daughter seamlessly integrated into her grade. The students and families are warm and caring. Our daughter enjoys the opportunities she has both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, she is appropriately challenged and encouraged to question and explore the academic material. Outside the classroom, she has enjoyed participating in the Middle School musical and choir, playing sports, getting involved in after school clubs and community service activities, and interacting with her teachers and the administration before and after school. We particularly like that WES only goes to 8th grade, because the leadership opportunities provided to students at this age encourage confidence and can set them up for success as they prepare for high school. Our daughter is looking forward to setting the example in her role as an 8th grader. She knows the younger students look up to the 8th graders and she is excited about the challenge this provides. The administration is extremely knowledgeable and very helpful every step of the way as students apply to high school.
Beyond the academics, WES offers kids opportunities to learn & grow in truly meaningful ways. My oldest just finished 4th grade in the spring & offers really my best example. In late fall, each 4th grader was asked to interview an adult in their life. Kids chose, parents, grandparents, aunts, family friends, etc. Parents had to help the kids find time for the interview, but after that, the project became school-based. From the interview answers, the kids spent many language arts periods crafting bios of their subjects, creating typed final pieces including photos. After weeks of work, the 4th grade held its annual Biography Tea. In front of parents, classmates, & the kids' Heroes and Heroines (their subjects), each child stood at the podium, with his or her subject, and read a paragraph from the final workSome stories made the audience laugh and more than one brought tears to my eyes. The kids gained so much. Not only did they develop writing & speaking skills, but, perhaps more importantly, developed deeper relationships with their Heroes and Heroines. My girl's story about her grandfather and the smile on his face that day will be memories we will cherish forever.
Don't be fooled by this school. I know first hand that they did not care about the well-being of my child, but gave special treatment to others (who most likely gave money, knew someone in the administration, or were politically connected). Also, I can not stress enough, place your child in a school that goes to 12th grade. The process of changing schools during the most delicate time in your child's life (adolescence) can effect their psychological development for their entire life.
We have been extremely happy to have our children at Washington Episcopal. Each year we watch our children continue to grow, supported by an amazing committed faculty. The curriculum is challenging, however Washington Episcopal emphasizes resources in every area of study. Our children are happy to be going to school each morning and they are happy when we pick them up in the afternoon. We think the teachers are great. We have been at Washington Episcopal for a number of years and have been impressed with the teachers and resource teachers each year. One only needs to engage any of the teachers to see how passionate they are about their work and about teaching. The athletics and after school offerings are well coached and well done and children get the opportunity to try a variety of sports. We especially like that students in all grades are provided age appropriate ways to present to larger groups through plays, music and concerts and science3 and social studies projects. The trips which are part of every single year are fabulous, leading to Italy in 7th grade and France or Spain in 8th grade. Our children are challenged, supported, and loved at Washington Episcopal.