Washington International School is in the process of trying to decide what kind of school it wants to be. It is on of the very few DC schools that does not require the SSAT or ISEE for middle and high school applicants. I think due to this exception they are not getting the academic quality of students that they need. Yes this is a difficult school but has many inequities due to this testing issue and also due to a large number of "lifers"..students who were accepted in pre-school or kindergarten and who if were to apply today would not be admitted. Enrollment numbers have always been strong due to IMF and World Bank tuition help, but that is changing and to truly step up into the top tier of DC schools the school needs to make some admission policy changes. That said if your child can handle the intense schedule and the social scene, which is very advanced they will get a good education while existing in a very small bubble. The school boasts of its diversity, but diversity has two sides, one being people from all over the world and the other side being inclusivity. The parental body is very inclusive, while the student body is extremely cliquey.
Two of my children graduated from Washington International School. One is currently at the University of Pennsylvania and the other is in medical school. Most of their classmates were accepted by Ivy league schools or other top-tier universities in the U.S. and abroad, so the college prep/college entrance issue described in an older comment is no longer valid. The junior and senior years at WIS are as academically challenging or more challenging than any of the years they will spend in undergraduate or graduate schools. The WIS students are impressive - fluent in 2 or more languages, well rounded, individualistic, and very nice. Because of the small size of the school, my children were able to participate in any extra curricular activity they wanted to try. While WIS does not have elite sports programs such as the programs at Good Counsel, Dematha, or Gonzaga (WCAC league schools), most of the students actually get to play for the WIS team of their choice, and are not "bumped" because of heavy recruiting. If you want the best education possible and a fully rounded school experience, WIS is as good as it gets.
At the risk of being redundant, let me add my support for WIS for modeling the IB program that is spreading throughout ambitious, forward-looking schools. My kids are prepared for the world we live in. They are bilingual and culturally fluent. they can work in groups, reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses and they can integrate design and computer technology into their work.
This is a very good school, however, when me and my brother went to this school for three years, we found that the curriculum was not challenging enough for us. Since then we have gone to public school in Alexandria, VA. The teachers, however, are excellent and they helped all the students if they had issues.
There is no more relevanyt school than Washington International. Its mission is to produce global citizens. This is the school that we all must model, and send our kids to!
WIS excels in language learning and in providing a global perspective and education. We are also impressed, however, with the science and math curriculum and teachers as well as the arts and music programs. It has just opened a new library, classroom and theatre building. The one aspect of student life where it may be weak (depending on your perspective) is major sports. A new regulation size soccer and baseball field is being built as I write so this may change in the future.
I enjoyed my 6 years at WIS. It is a beautiful campus and an excellent learning envirnment. I would say it is most likely the best academic experience in DC. However, the second most important duty of a high school is to get its students into the best universities. This is unfortunately where WIS falls short. It is competing with the much older and more established schools in the area, and as one of the top 5 in my class, with excellent SATs and extra curriculars, and no minority status, I was unable to get into the colleges I desired. Also I found issue in getting the appropriate credit for my IBs. IB highers are equal to two APs but do not recieve that. And IB standards are not recognized anywhere. It is a wonderful school, but needs to work on accomadating students headed to US colleges.
As a recent graduate of Washington International School and as a freshman at Johns Hopkins University (class of 2008), I have found that the International Baccalaureate program at WIS thoroughly prepared me for the challenges of university-level learning. Now that I am a member of a far less diverse student body, and have larger classes, I have come to appreciate even more all that WIS has to offer. The adults in the community make a notable effort to get to know each student individually, and to help them develop their skills and interests. The college counselors are experienced and knowledgeable people, who guide countless students in the admissions processes of universities in the USA and abroad. They, like the entire faculty at WIS, are always willing to help. I encourage all parents and prospective students to seriously consider the 'WIS experience.' It is unparalleled!
I am currently a student at the Washington Interational School (WIS) and as such, I can personally vouch for the school's overall excellence . It exceeds particularly in the language departments, where the students enrolled in the emersion programs are only slightly disadvantaged when compared to their foreign counterparts (i.e. French students generally know the language almost or even just as well any French national). In addition, however, the Mathematics, Social Sciences and Sciences departments, as well as the sports team organisations, are all very strong at the school, giving it a well-rounded educational base. Of course, one of the school's most promninent features is its diversity of culture; unlike many other schools in the nation, cultural individuality is, in fact, highly encouraged (equally by the students and staff). The school's mission, to educate students to become responsible and active world citizens, seems most prudent in today's increasingly interdependant global soceity.
This is a wonderful school, well-organized, beautiful facilities, warm and loving teachers and a very strong curriculum. The end-of-year production for my son's PreK was simply amazing. The artwork displayed in the lobby year-round showed high creativity and skill. Best of all, the administration really cares about parents' concerns, and act on those concerns. It just keeps getting better. What's more, my son is learning Spanish in the most authentic way - immersion. He loves knowing a language I don't know!
Washington International School is a great school where kids get the opportunity to learn in a diverse and cultural community. Kids from countries all around the world come to learn here. It also has an exellent language program that can be found. It is truely an exellent school.
I love WIS. It's a great school with a lot of international student diversity.
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