We are parents of a WIS student. It probably stands to reason that this website might attract detractors rather than supporters, but this skews the "star" rating. WIS is a demanding school and it produces articulate, aware, and educated youngsters that embrace and thrive in all environments. Take a moment to attend any function where students address the audience and your enthusiasm will be reaffirmed. The dual language aspect of the school is at its core, but is only one component of the rich education the children receive. I don't see the "cliques" that another parent wrote about, but with a small student body, friendships are formed. Yet, I have seen new student families welcomed with open arms by both fellow students and parents alike and with great success. Diversity, in all respects, is present and is the foundation of the school. The fact that students in the high school can self-direct much of their education places these students on a par of college graduates even before the students set their feet in college. WIS is consistently ranked as one of the best high schools -- and for good reason.
The amount of work given in this is school is large and the assignments are not necessarily useful in life. Most kids feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and are always tense. It is a pressure cooker.
We should have known when the admissions process focused so much on the pedigree of the school's association with certain universities, rather than the experience of the students, and heard from others the treatment depended on profession/affiliations/income. We found some very concerning value sets and demonstration of values in the upper grades, that the school did not address. Agree with others that there is a high emphasis on the cash stream of families and their donations. If we had not relocated we would not have re-enrolled.
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.