Our Mission is to ignite the joyful pursuit of learning and inspire lives of faith-filled purpose, leadership, and service.
Founded in the Spirit of Courageous Women
WSG was founded in 1997 by women from three organizations who recognized that many girls in DC’s Wards 7 & 8 were not receiving an equitable education. Using the power of collaboration and the unique strengths of each of their organizations (the Religious of Jesus and Mary, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and the National Council of Negro Women), they founded the Washington School for Girls in the basement of an apartment building. Since then, the school has grown to serve up to 130 students in grades 3-8 on two campuses in Southeast Washington, DC, and has graduated over 300 alumnae who have gone on to attend a wide variety of high schools and colleges.
Video: WSG Overview 2022
In the Spirit of Courageous Women
Our school began as the dream of a group of Washington-based women who were members of three organizations: The National Council of Negro Women, The Religious of Jesus and Mary, and The Society of the Holy Child Jesus. The pioneering women who founded these organizations serve as our founding spirits, guiding our mission and purpose. Students learn about the lives, values, and legacy of each woman throughout their time at WSG and aspire to apply those teachings to their own lives.
1818: Claudine Thévenet founds the Religious of Jesus and Mary
As a leader of a group of churchwomen at the time of the French Revolution, Claudine Thévenet opened small "Providences," residences for girls. She was devoted to their instruction, providing young women with opportunities for work to help them reach their full potential as Christian women with economic autonomy and a sense of dignity.
"The greatest misfortune is to live and die without knowing God."
1846: Cornelia Connelly founds the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
Cornelia Connelly, a woman ahead of her time, promoted an approach to education based on trust and reverence for every human being. Her schools encourage children to develop to their full potential based on her firm belief that all fields of study contribute to the development of that potential.
“Trust the children and never let your confidence in them be shaken. Confidence begets confidence.”
1935: Mary McLeod Bethune founds the National Council of Negro Women
Dr. Bethune was an African-American educator and civil rights activist who founded Bethune-Cookman College. She was known as an advisor to every President from Coolidge to Roosevelt. One of her greatest accomplishments was founding The National Council of Negro Women.
“Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
A small group of women from the NCNW, RJM, and the SHCJ began meeting to discuss the urgent need of education for young girls living in the Anacostia area of Washington, DC.
April 11, 1997
Washington Middle School for Girls was officially founded by Sr. Mary Bourdon, RJM, and a committed group of educators.
WMSG began an after-school tutoring and enrichment program for fourth and fifth grade girls in Anacostia.
WMSG offered a full school program including both a daily academic program and the continuation of tutoring and enrichment programs.
School Year 2000-01
WMSG enrolled students in three grades, sixth through eighth; The first eighth grade class graduated.
Opening of WMSG at THEARC (sixth, seventh, eighth grades). Initiation of a new fourth and fifth grade program at the Washington View Apartments.
WMSG relocates the 4th-5th grade campus to its current location at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The school officially changes its name to the Washington School for Girls (WSG).
WSG enrolls the first 3rd grade class during the 2015-16 school year.
The Washington School for Girls celebrates 20 Years of Courage, honoring Co-Founder, Sister Mary Bourdon, RJM and welcoming new President, Dr. Beth Reaves.
WSG earns re-accreditation and approves an ambitious 5-year strategic plan to enrich programming, unite the two campuses in one location, and strengthen financial sustainability.
WSG transitions to remote learning during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, maintains high virtual attendance, and provides additional support to students and families.
The Class of 2021 is promoted, bringing WSG's total graduates over 300 young women.
WSG celebrates 25 years of joyful learning at the Our Girls, Our World, Our Future Gala.