"Our school is best known for our diverse community and high academic excellence."
Students enrolled 540
Hours 8:45am - 3:15pm
School leader Dawn Clemens
Transportation options Yes
District District Of Columbia Public Schools
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

420 12th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

School website
(202) 698-3355
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Watkins Elementary School address.

4 stars
Based on 21 ratings

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think about this school

July 27, 2014
Watkins has so much potential, and a reputation for great teachers. Unfortunately it has seen a very large teacher turn-over rate in the 13-14 school year, with at least 18 teachers exiting in one year alone. There appears to be chaos in the Administration, which I hope it not making it's way to the students but gives me pause nonetheless.

- submitted by a parent
August 27, 2013
A fantastic school on Capitol Hill in the heart of Washington DC, Watkins offers something for every child and we have happily sent all 3 of our daughters here since they were in first grade. The school is one of the larger elementary schools in the city and has a diverse student and teacher population. This good mix benefits all the children and helps foster a sense of community. I wont get into test scores, etc because some of that data can be misleading but I feel very confident that every student at the school is given many opportunities to succeed and to thrive. The school is fortunate to be located next to a full scale recreation center, so it has large turf fields, basketball courts, an outdoor skating rink and a large playground for different ages. It also has nice gardens on three sides - many of which are incorporated into the lessons.

- submitted by a parent
August 27, 2013
Watkins Elementary is the 1st-5th grade program for the Capitol Hill Cluster School (pre-K through 8th grades). My son & daughter have been in the Cluster since pre-K (now in 6th & 8th grades) & I can say that our overall experience at Watkins Elementary was excellent. My children have had outstanding instructors each year who were excellent educators and caring adults. The teachers availed themselves of the opportunities being in DC provides--writing grants for special projects such as bringing in professional storytellers to help children find their voices, partnering with Target & the historic Ford's Theater as part of their Civil War curriculum giving our kids the opportunity to recite Lincoln's speeches from the Ford's Theater stage, regular field trips to the Smithsonian museums, monuments & local theaters, etc. To be perfectly honest, even in the odd year where we thought our child was assigned to a less desirable teacher, it turned out that teacher had something unique to offer our child that he really needed. Also our new principal has also been an advocate and agent for positive change in her 2+ years with the school! And we have a very active parent community!

- submitted by a parent
August 26, 2013
Watkins ES has a history of high standards in terms of educating it's students. My children have grown and flourished at Watkins over the last 3 years. I love the fact that it's not a cookie cutter school. My children have had teachers that took time to get to know them and reach them at their levels to help them become critical thinkers and to love learning!

- submitted by a parent
August 23, 2013
Watkins Elementary School is a diverse reflection of Washington DC. The greatest strengths are its strong teachers, solid leadership team, ability to offer specials like computers / technology, PE and Art, and the professional staff it dedicates to educate the lower tier of students. Under new leadership Watkins has seen great changes in the quality of the curriculum, the strength of the new hires, and the new options for enrichment and more challenging curriculum for the stronger students. There is a renewed commitment to literacy and math for all students. The PTA raises additional funds to make the large atmosphere feel smaller by funding aides, etc. Watkins certainly has its challenges, like most DC Public Schools, but on the whole, they are doing a great job of creating a strong learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
August 23, 2013
Parents don't be fooled!!! The principal is preoccupied with promoting the Capitol Hill Cluster instead of making sure the children are receiving a challenging curriculum. Please do your research prior to enrolling your child/children into Watkins. I wouldn't be surprised if the August 22nd & August 23rd reviews were written by Watkins staff. I have not found one parent that felt this school lived up to its reputation. Find a better option if you want your child/children in a strong learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
August 22, 2013
Watkins is a high-acheiving, diverse and community-based elementary school. With a fully-functioning garden and teaching kitchen, the FoodPrints curriculum is absolutely life-altering. My kids' diet changed dramatically for the better after a few FoodPrints classes. Watkins is one of the only Capitol HIll elementary schools with small class sizes. Last year, my second grader had 19 classmates. With a deep bench of experienced educators and support staff, children are able to learn and grow in a healthy, dynamic classroom environment. Watkins is the elementary portion of the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools - preschool-K attend Peabody, 1-5 are at Watkins and 6-8 at Stuart Hobson Middle School. The parent communities at all three campuses are very strong - the Cluster-wide PTA raises more than $150,000 a year to support the school and the curriculum. Watkins student population is diverse, but geographically centered around Capitol Hill and surrounding neighborhoods. Kids' friendships and relationships extended beyond the classroom walls into neighborhood athletics and other activities.

- submitted by a parent
February 17, 2013
My daughter has been going to this school since first grade. I have enjoyed thoroughly the adventures that her teachers have taken her through. She haves grown so much from the first grade to the fifth grade. I feel the staff is a great support team for the scholars and the parents. As the parents go on this journey of higher education with their scholars.

- submitted by a parent
January 18, 2011
Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation on ABC News on January 17, 2011. You spoke with determination and care. You are an awesome group of people!! Thank you!!

- submitted by a community member
no rating November 02, 2010
This school has great teachers, staff and parents that all work together to create a fulfilling multicultural educational experience with a strong since of community.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 03, 2010
We have been involved with Watkins Montessori since Fall 2003 when out daughter started her first year with the Primary Montessori. Our daughter is now in her last year at Watkins and we would not change our experience with this school for anything. The teachers in this Montessori program have fantastic instructional experience.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 24, 2010
Very diversified student body and teaching methods; warm, enriching, vivacious atmosphere; beautiful garden and art work; children get the benefit of a DC education because of many outings and projects to learn about history and society.

- submitted by a community member
no rating April 16, 2010
our twins attend this school and we are very happy with the teachers and staff there...

- submitted by a parent
October 20, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a community member
no rating September 25, 2009
Watkins Montessori is great and worth looking into 3-6 years old and 6-9 year old programs are offered.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 24, 2008
Watkins is a Wonderful School, I am an alumni and also a parent to a child that is currently attending. I learned so much in the cluster schools and a lot of the education has stuck with me throughout the years. I have personally compared my sons vocabulary and general skills to children his age and must say that he has a great advantage.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 15, 2008
This is a school where the parents want the best for their kids. They are supportive of of the teachers and that makes a positive difference. They have organized a PTA that teachers appreciate and use to get needed classroom supplies. The adm team and teaching staff all have the best interest of the students in their heart and work hard to help each child reach their individual potential.

- submitted by a teacher
no rating May 04, 2008
Watkins is a great school! It is not perfect; but, what school is? The administrators love kids, work well with parents, and are very knowledgeable. The teachers are great. This is a PTA school of excellence. I am committed to the cluster through 8th grade...I look forward to my child attending Stuart-Hobson.

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 11, 2007
This school has a great reputation on Capitol Hill, but the test scores and my child's experience indicate otherwise. There are some great teachers and wonderful children at Watkins, but the physical conditions are appalling. Adults regularly raise their voices at children, and I can't think of a more unpleasant place to eat than the cafeteria at Watkins. I'm ashamed I expected my child to attend this school.

- submitted by a parent
May 08, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a teacher
March 20, 2006
This is the school you always wanted your kids to go to. It combines experienced, outstanding teachers, an administration that works well bith the teachers, kids, and parents in the school and is tireless on behalf of the kids, in an economically and racially diverse environment where there are -- almost -- zero discipline issues. We've been very pleased that our 4 kids have had the opportunity to attend this wonderful school.

- submitted by a parent
April 12, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 12, 2005
Watkins is part of the Capitol Hill Cluster School. Watkins is an excellent elementary public school. The school has lovely gardens surrounding it that the teachers use as part of their lessons. The parents are very involved.

- submitted by a parent
December 26, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 26, 2004
This is a wonderful school in a wonderful community. The school has a montessori program within it that is absolutely wonderful. Waktins is a family. I can not say enough great things about Watkins. I was thrilled when my son got into the Montesorri program there.

- submitted by a parent
February 23, 2004
My granddaughter has attended Watkiins for the last 2 years and have benefited from the teacher/student involvement greatly. The teachers have showed a genuine concern for developing learning skills and this year her teacher has even offered special time because she sees some weakness in the math skills at this point in the curriculum. The parent involvement in this school is extrordinary and this makes for the majority of the students to adhere to rules. The parents approach to this learning facility is a way to improve the educational system with their help. Parents attend classes with their children on a daily basis. These actions on the part of the parents are encouraged by the school teaching system and enjoyed by the parents. Teacher/parent monitoring is evident always when visiting the school. I think the education at this school is on the rise because of the parent/teacher relationship which is excellent and the constant encouragement received by the students from the teachers and the parents. Of course none of the upward standards within this school would flourish without the principal leadership and cooporation, which is attentive to the needs of the students and the teachers.

- submitted by a parent
October 05, 2003
We love this school! The kids are great, the teachers engaging and fun and the community involvement (through the PTA) is outstanding!

- submitted by a parent
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Watkins Elementary School
420 12th St SE, Washington, DC  20003
(202) 698-3355
Last modified Watkins Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades 1-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 5 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Watkins Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 29 reviews.