Joyful Educators, Successful Students: Supporting Teacher Growth

Studies show time and again that teacher experience and instructional quality are among the most important factors in student success. So how can schools make sure that teachers are satisfied, energized, and prepared to guide students in their pursuit of learning? Attracting and cultivating phenomenal teachers is central to the work of school leadership. We have a strong philosophy about education shaped by our 25+ years of experience educating girls in Washington. We look for educators who share our vision,… READ MORE

Home on the Chesapeake Bay

Every year, the Washington School for Girls 7th grade makes the trek across the Bay Bridge and down the coastline of the Eastern Shore for a three-day stay at the Karen Noonan Memorial Environmental Education Center (KNC). Run by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the KNC is home to residential environmental programs focused on the ecology of the bay, including the nearby Hooper Strait Sanctuary (protected oyster habitat) and the marshlands that surround the Center.  Over the course of the trip… READ MORE

WSG Class of 2019 Decisions: College Bound

When the Class of 2019 was promoted to high school nearly four years ago, they charted their own new paths. They enrolled at a variety of schools: from Catholic schools like Archbishop Carroll High School, Bishop McNamara High School, Bishop O’Connell High School, and Elizabeth Seton High School, and independent boarding schools like Episcopal High School, to specialized programs like Duke Ellington School for the Arts and Prince George’s Community College Academy of Science and Technology (a dual enrollment program).… READ MORE

A Reptile in Her Hands: Confidence and Experiential Learning

At the Washington School for Girls, we value experiential learning and the opportunity for students to be active participants in the classroom. When we adopted the balanced calendar model over seven years ago, we created two weeks of additional experiential learning time called “Intersession” which takes place one week at a time before our fall and spring breaks.  At the end of March, students participated in a week full of field trips, outdoor activities, and collaborative learning. Students went on… READ MORE

Celebrating 25 Years of Sisterhood: Founders Day 2023

On April 13, our school community joined together to celebrate Founders Day and the legacy of the women whose lives inspire our school. This was a special year as we marked 25 years of sisterhood. WSG was founded in 1997 as an after school program, which quickly evolved into a full academic program beginning in the 1998-99 school year. The founders hailed from three organizations: the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), the Religious of Jesus and Mary (RJM), and… READ MORE

“Harlem: The Remix” Showcases Student Learning and Creativity

In celebration of Black History Month, students presented a showcase of performances that demonstrated their understanding of the Harlem Renaissance. Students were asked to not only learn about the significant artistic, cultural, and political impact of the era that spanned the 1920s and 1930s, but were also challenged to interpret what the Harlem Renaissance might look like if it took place today. The result was a vibrant presentation that highlighted both history and current-day styles of music, dance, and entertainment.… READ MORE

Family Connections: Dismantling the Barrier Between School and Home

At WSG, we believe that parents are the first and primary educators of their daughters. We may be the experts in the classroom, but a parent is the expert in his or her child. That is why we commit to our family partnership and try to create as many opportunities as possible for our families to be part of the learning experience.  We also recognize that our hard-working families may not all have the same flexibility in their schedules, so… READ MORE

WSG Welcomes Two New Board Members

The Washington School for Girls is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to its Board of Trustees, Lynette Espy-Williams and Yolanda Long, Class of 2004. Long is the first alumna in WSG’s history to serve as a trustee.  Lynette Espy-Williams is a Shareholder and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Cozen O’Connor. A graduate of Spelman College and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Espy-Williams’ impressive legal career began with a judicial… READ MORE

Cultivating Success

We are concerned about our students’ learning. Let me rephrase and restate that for emphasis: More specifically, we are concerned about the ongoing challenges that the pandemic has presented to our girls as related to their education. Last year in August 2021, we were excited about the prospect of returning to in-person learning after having been remote for nearly a year and half. We dubbed the new year as “The Year of the Comeback,” as we readied the campus with… READ MORE

Learning From Our Students

“Please don’t ever change the love for these beautiful girls.” “Please don’t change the student to teacher ratio. The close attention from teachers was very beneficial to my learning.” “Please don’t change the learning curriculum and how we learn.” ~WSG 8th grade students, 5/25/22 I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to understand how a school is doing is to ask the students. Students in the right environment will just tell you what they think! It’s why I’ve… READ MORE

May is Mental Health Month

In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) joined together to declare a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health. Think about that for a moment. A National State of Emergency is primarily used in situations when there is a clear need for additional visibility and resources in order to save lives and protect citizens, such as natural disasters. By acknowledging the mental… READ MORE

Health Is Wealth – Physical Education

Physical Education. The terminology implies teaching students the subject of being physical, much like Spanish education or Math education teaches students the subject matter. In the past, this interpretation of physical education has led to instruction dedicated to motor skills and knowledge, reinforcing to students the benefits of physically active behaviors. Over the past decade however, the focus on physical education in many schools, including WSG, has shifted towards helping students embrace a healthy lifestyle and overall wellness for their… READ MORE

New Lens of Teaching and Learning

COVID forced a shift in how excellence in teaching is viewed – or if it didn’t happen that way, it should have. Over the past two years, schools needed to quickly shift their teaching model to meet students’ needs, depending on the specific circumstances of their school and the students themselves. Whether hybrid teaching, completely virtual/remote, or in-person wearing a mask and social distancing with students, delivery of instruction changed. Students adapted accordingly to the mode of instruction, with many… READ MORE

Out of School Time Enrichment

As a part of our extended day program, we offer a number of Out of School Time (OST) learning opportunities through partnerships with local organizations that are dedicated to creating space for students to explore. Students take ownership of their learning, while discovering their passion. The Washington Ballet is an ensemble of dancers in Washington, DC. At THEARC, our students train weekly and practice classical ballet. They also have the opportunity to audition for children’s roles within the company’s productions.… READ MORE

Defining the WSG Way of Teaching and Learning

December is full of Christmas cheer at WSG! WSG’s hallways are transformed with decorations, there is planning for our Christmas program, and you can hear Christmas carols in our hallway during classroom transitions. Christmas is also a beautiful reminder of our awesome responsibility to provide excellent and joyful learning opportunities for our girls. You may think to yourself, “Ms. Wetzel, what on Earth does Christmas have to do with WSG’s pedagogy?” I am here to tell you that Christmas has… READ MORE

Celebrating Black Catholic Month

November is Black Catholic History Month! All month long we are celebrating the vibrant history of the Black Catholic community during Morning Prayer and in Religion class. DeMetria White is our Religion Teacher and Director of Campus Ministry, in her ninth year at WSG and her second in her current role. Ms. White’s journey into the faith was a deeply personal one: her late mother was baptized into the Catholic church as an adult, shortly before her death. Driven by… READ MORE

Ms. McCall Joins Seeding Disruption

Since joining the Washington School for Girls in 2015 as the Family Relations Coordinator, DeAnna McCall has made a significant impact on the lives of our parents and families through transparent communication that continues to foster long lasting relationships. Ms. McCall graduated from Howard University with her Masters in Social Work in 2008 and has since devoted 13 years to case management, intensive home based counseling, and parent support. Now serving as our Director of Recruitment & Family Relations, Ms.… READ MORE

Celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus

On October 17th 2021 Dr. Reaves travelled to Philadelphia to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. The year-long celebration ended with a Liturgy at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and a luncheon reception. October 15, 1846 is formally recognized as the date of the founding of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus by Cornlia Connelly at the request of Pope Gregory XVI. For 175 years, the Society’s members have lived… READ MORE

Technology for Distance Learning and Beyond

When Washington School for Girls closed our doors in March 2020 and began distance-learning, our main focus was to “fill the gaps” when it comes to technology at home for our students. Prior to closing our doors, various surveys were sent to the WSG families to gain an understanding of the types of technological resources that they may need in the event of a shutdown. As a result of these surveys, WSG was prepared to provide students and families with… READ MORE

5 Things I Learned About Women Leaders In STEM Careers

Last week while preparing for International Day of the Girl and in thinking about this year’s theme “Digital Generation, Our Generation”, I reached out to women in our community who are currently leaders in the S.T.E.M. field to learn more about their experiences and the paths that led them to their current roles. I wanted to know how they got there and how our girls could get there. Between laughs and storytelling these women left me with some very inspiring… READ MORE

Teaching Outside the Classroom

Outdoor learning experiences have long been a hallmark of the WSG experience, from the annual 7th grade trip to the Karen Noonan Educational Center on the Chesapeake Bay to partnerships with the National Park Trust. Experiential learning activities in the sciences are especially important for girls beginning to imagine future careers. In 2019 WSG completed the John P. Haslinger Outdoor Classroom at THEARC, a specially designed outdoor learning space adjacent to THEARC Garden and a few steps away from Oxon… READ MORE

Girls Code, Too!

The Robotics Club is one of our enrichment programs where students learned and applied concepts that translate well into STEM careers. This program offered opportunities to design, construct, and program robots in preparation for regional competitions. Students were challenged with identifying an opportunity to help communities improve their physical and mental health through movement. Nahla (3rd grader) and Carleon (4th grader) developed an inclusive outdoor park for kids with physical and developmental disabilities. Nahla says, “Not only did we learn… READ MORE

International Day of the Girl – Hidden Figures

“I felt like it was necessary to be seen and not be a hidden figure.” – Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, American immunologist I love when I hear the story of someone’s life that I haven’t heard before. The older I get, I still continue to be amazed when I learn about someone whose life was so impactful that I believe I should have known, seen or learned about them in school or in the media over the past 50+ years. That… READ MORE

Advocating on Behalf of Our Own Girls

The United Nations declared October 11th as International Day of the Girl Child, an internationally recognized annual observance designed to “amplify the voices and rights of girls everywhere.” As a coalition of NativityMiguel-modeled, independent middle schools from across the country, we are united in the common purpose of educating girls in communities that have largely been excluded from economic resources and empowering them to become their best, most authentic selves. We recognize the vast potential of our female scholars, and… READ MORE

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) at WSG

Social-emotional learning is a term often used to describe a school’s approach to building what may be considered the softer skills – regulating emotions, building interpersonal relationships, navigating the internal desire to succeed. According to CASEL, a non-profit that aims to make evidence-based social emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of preK-12 education social-emotional learning is: … the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions… READ MORE

‘Comeback’ for the Washington School for Girls as students return to campus for class and prayer

Sept 13, 2021 By: Mark Zimmermann Photographer: Andrew Biraj Original Article: After pivoting to remote learning during the pandemic, the new school year at the Washington School for Girls has a special meaning. “We’re calling it a comeback,” said Dr. Beth Reaves, the school’s president. On Aug. 2, more than 100 girls returned to in-person classes at the school, which is a tuition-free Catholic school for grades three through eight primarily serving girls of color from Wards 7 and… READ MORE

Saluting Black Women Givers

What does it mean to give? August is Black Philanthropy Month, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate those in the Black community who give of themselves to support community growth. Recognizing that Black philanthropists were often not included in the perspective on philanthropy, Black Philanthropy Month was established nearly a decade ago by Dr. Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet), to elevate visibility of on-going philanthropy in the Black community. A recent article by Ophelia Akanjo,… READ MORE

A Contemporary Courageous Woman

The motto of the Washington School for Girls is “In the Spirit of Courageous Women.” Inspired by the spirit of three women in history, WSG’s co-founders established an organization that would bear the legacies of that spirit. These Founding Spirits (Cornelia Connelly – Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Mary McLeod Bethune – National Council of Negro Women, and Claudine Thevent – Religious of Jesus and Mary) were intentionally chosen by WSG co-founder Sr. Mary Bourdon, RJM, and other courageous… READ MORE

Washington School for Girls Welcomes Lina Permut as First-Ever Chief Development Officer

DC’s only All-girls All-Scholarship Independent Catholic School Seeks to Expand Fundraising Efforts to Support Future Growth [Washington, DC – July 14, 2021] The Washington School for Girls (WSG) has hired Lina Permut to serve as the organization’s first-ever Chief Development Officer. The expansion of the fundraising office comes as the all-scholarship school prepares for future growth and seeks to attract new support for its well-established programming serving Black and Brown girls in the Washington area. WSG is an all-scholarship independent… READ MORE

Women in Education

By Dianna Murchison, Development and Communications Assistant As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I reflect on my new career path with Washington School for Girls. I am proud to join a team that has high expectations for girls, encouraging more advanced opportunities to learn and progress. I specifically reflect on women’s contributions in the classroom and the role they have played in shaping the education system at large. I think of the opening scene in the film Hidden… READ MORE

Sing A Rhythm

For the second year, our faculty and staff have used a collective book read as a way to ground and define our whole staff professional development for the school year. Last year, we read Carol Dweck’s book Growth Mindset, and spent the year thinking more deeply about the implications of applying a growth mindset to our work as educators and ourselves personally. Through all-school meetings and small and large group discussions, we used the book as an opportunity to connect… READ MORE

How We’re Doing

The public conversation around schools returning to campus continues to frame current education options as a simple choice: on-campus or remote, with the further suggestion that on-campus is good and remote learning is not. The reality, of course, is much more nuanced and since March 2020, every school has been challenged to find the best educational model that meets the needs of their school community. Would we all like to return to pre-pandemic times when schools were open and social… READ MORE

The Pursuit of Equity

Educational equity has been a tenet of WSG’s mission since the school’s founding over 20 years ago. Sr. Mary Bourdon, RJM and the school’s co-founders recognized the need to provide an educational environment for girls in Ward 8 and the surrounding communities that supported their success – leading to equitable opportunities in life. Fast forward to 2020 and educational equity continues to be a concern in our country. Schools are being challenged to demonstrate their commitment to equity by sharing… READ MORE

Announcing WSG’s New Mission Statement

The Washington School for Girls is pleased to announce its new mission statement, adopted recently by the Board of Trustees, developed with robust stakeholder input, and rooted in our commitment to educational equity and racial justice: Washington School for Girls ignites the joyful pursuit of learning and inspires lives of faith-filled purpose, leadership, and service. A mission statement is central to an organization – succinctly explaining its purpose in a way that resonates throughout the entire community. In a school… READ MORE

Opinion: Police in Schools

As our country and our city continue to wrestle with complex issues of race and racism we feel it is important, as a school serving Black and Brown girls, to be part of ongoing conversations that impact students. WSG supports the DC Board of Education’s resolution to reimagine school safety by removing police from schools, and DC City Council’s decision to return control of school security to DCPS instead of MPD. Research shows that Black students, and particularly Black girls,… READ MORE

A Statement on Our Prayers for Justice

Dear WSG Community, We have watched the current events with sadness in our hearts. As a Catholic school community focused on justice and equity for our students, we work each day to help our students work towards their dreams for their lives. We know that each student is a child of God. We also know that our students may be among the most underserved and overlooked in society. For over 20 years, WSG has remained true to the mission of… READ MORE

Small School Communities are Essential, Too

Shifting a school to distance learning has revealed an important truth: small school communities are essential too – to students, to their families and to all of the educators who comprise the community. I raise this now as our daily discussion is infused with conversation and knowledge about what are considered essential services as the country, individual states, and communities consider expanding services and access as stay-at-home orders are lifted. There is no disputing that our health care workers, first… READ MORE

Continuity During Unstable Times

As the COVID-19 crisis has deepened so quickly throughout the US this week, the questions we have continued to ask ourselves at WSG are “how can we support our girls when we can’t be with them right now? How can we continue their education, be the friendly faces they see each day, and be a continual partner with their family, during incredibly challenging circumstances? How do we provide the reassurances that children need during this time to let them know… READ MORE

Inspired and Founded by Courageous Women

Women’s History Month presents the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to all the many women in our school history that helped create the school we enjoy today. WSG was formed in 1997, the brainchild of a group of women who were inspired by women in history to serve, nurture and educate young girls. Southeast Washington, D.C. was chosen as the location for WSG: the co-founders felt it essential for WSG to be present where girls were most underserved educationally. WSG… READ MORE

Lessons from a Global Leader

WSG students recently had the opportunity to meet and learn from an innovative and creative entrepreneur through our Leadership Series. The series brings in diverse women leaders from a wide range of industries to share their stories of success with our middle school students. February’s speaker was Abai Schulze, Founder of ZAAF, a company that produces luxury handbags and products based in Ethiopia. Ms. Schulze was born in Ethiopia and lived in a Catholic orphanage until she was adopted at… READ MORE

Striving for Excellence

Each school year we choose to focus on one of our core values as a way to highlight these important attributes throughout our school with students, faculty and staff, and in our daily activities within WSG. This school year we are focusing on the core value of Excellence. Booker T. Washington is noted to have said, “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” But what does that really mean to our students? How can we encourage… READ MORE

The Power Of Yet

We’re back! This week is our first week of the 2019-20 school year. As I greeted returning students and met our newly enrolled 3rd graders, I felt the excitement of a new year and new possibilities, and the fresh start that a new school year provides. And also, throughout the past few days, the refrain of “…not yet” has been reverberating in my mind. Let me explain. Almost everyone who knows me knows that I’m a book person. I always… READ MORE

Just One Word

I had lunch yesterday with our eighth-grade class, who will be “graduating” this year from WSG and moving on to high school. During our lunch, I asked them to create and draw one word that they’d like to leave the school as a representation of their time here. They each created a small piece of art that when viewed together makes a collage of their experiences and lessons learned at WSG. I love that these words so accurately capture the… READ MORE

Middle School Lockers: A Life Lesson in Organization

There is a joke among the girls at our middle school campus that instead of the Washington School for Girls, it should be named the Washington Hallway for Girls. Yes, our campus suite is small, and I have to give credit where credit is due – it’s an apt observation, and when I mention it to other staff members, it always gets at least an appreciative chuckle. The single, long hallway that connects all of the classrooms, cafeteria, and offices… READ MORE

Reflections of a School Administrator and Parent

Recently, I opened a note from the Dean of Students of my daughter’s high school that literally made my throat catch. Without warning, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. A commencement notice? Wait, what? How did we already get to the end of her high school career? There wasn’t anything particularly unusual in the note – just the date and location of commencement, the number of tickets allotted to a family, and other pertinent details to help with… READ MORE

Confident Girls, Courageous Women

It’s Friday morning, and I’m headed to morning assembly with our elementary girls, who are rather boisterous as they file past me in the hall. Fridays are Sister Advisory Set (SAS) days when our girls meet in their SAS groups to work on a fun, team-building project often times competing with the other groups. Most of the girls are wearing neon knee-highs – pink, orange, green, purple, blue, and yellow – the colors of their SAS groups. I’m looking forward… READ MORE

Poetry Slam 2013

On February 12, WMSG students from both The VIEW Campus and THEARC Campus hosted the annual Poetry Slam, featuring notable and original works about our Core Values. While all the work was spectacular, here are some highlights: “2036” (Confidence) My goal in life is to succeed My plan in life is to be in the oval office seat Me as your president Can you believe President. Christina Nicole That is what you will be calling me 2036, vote for me… READ MORE

Award-Winning Author Phillip Hoose visits THEARC

Phillip Hoose is the widely-acclaimed author of books, essays, stories, songs, and articles, including the National Book Award winning book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. He is also the author of the multi-award winning title,The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, the National Book Award Finalist We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History, and the Christopher Award-winning manual for youth activism It’s Our World Too!. The picture book, Hey, Little Ant which began as a song by… READ MORE