Spring Newsletter 2024

WSG is happy to share our 2024 Spring Newsletter. Read on to learn more about our progress towards our new building, graduate highlights, math programs, ASL learning, and more! Please contact the Development Office if you would like to be added to our mailing list.
Architectural Rendering of WSG's new building: a three story, mixed-tone brick building with large windows

Breaking Ground on 1865 Mississippi Avenue

Today was a very special day for our community as we officially broke ground on our permanent home at THEARC. Our new school building will be located at 1865 Mississippi Avenue, SE right in the middle of THEARC campus. Read our full press release here. This is possible because a whole community of people believe in believe in WSG, our students, and our collective potential for the future. They believe in our present and they believe in our dreams. Dreams are an… READ MORE

I Belong in the Room Because I Say I Do

I recently hosted a group of female educational leaders as part of our newly formed WSG Education Council. This group is composed of other Heads of Schools, school leaders and other successful women who serve in an advisory capacity to WSG.   Our topic of discussion was the idea of belonging, and how we might help our students to feel a sense of belonging both at WSG and their subsequent schools, universities and workplaces. We reflected on occasions in our own… READ MORE
Four Black young women pose smiling

Sisterhood for Life

At the heart of the Washington School for Girls lies a powerful force that isn’t limited by time or location. Sisterhood.  It is a unique blend of support, friendship, and shared aspirations that grows stronger each day. We know the bonds cultivated during our girls’ time here are enduring relationships that follow them long after they leave our school. From the first day a girl walks through our doors, she is welcomed into a sisterhood that celebrates diversity, supports individual… READ MORE

Leaning on Community

Finding a dedicated, passionate, and qualified person who also fits is essential when looking to fill a teaching role at the Washington School for Girls. Finding the right teacher can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack because we have a unique educational philosophy and mission. It has challenged WSG to think about creative partnerships to fulfill these very important roles. One of these great partnerships has been The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE)… READ MORE
Students are in a line holding hands, passing a hula hoop through the line.

A House Full of Sisters

A big part of our school culture is our House system, which we expanded across both campuses this year. Students were recently sorted into one of three houses: Ausdauer (German for perseverance), Confianza (Spanish for confidence) and Imani (Swahili for faith). Throughout the year, students gather in their mixed-grade houses for a variety of activities that will build sisterhood and friendship within the community. From healthy competitions to collaborative projects, Houses offer a place beyond the classroom for students to… READ MORE

New Year, New Joy

Earlier this week, WSG returned to campus for the 2023-2024 school year! We were thrilled to see new and returning students. As is WSG tradition, teachers, staff, and volunteers were on hand to cheer as our girls walked through the front door for the first day. Thank you to our friends from Alpha Kappa Alpha (Beta Upsilon Omega Chapter), the American Petroleum Institute, Carr Companies, DC United, the Ms. Full-Figured DMV Pageant, and WSG Board and Auxiliary Board members for… READ MORE
WSG Faculty and staff play a competitive game of Kickball during back to school orientation.

Taking Time to Play

Ask anyone who works for a school and they will tell you that the weeks leading up to opening a school for the new school year are among the busiest and most important planning periods. There are schedules to make, professional development time and activities, teachers are busy getting classrooms for new students, and the list goes on. Starting a new school year requires everyone to invest the energy required to start with enthusiasm and excitement, to ensure that translates… READ MORE

President’s Corner: Seeing WSG from an International Perspective

I’m excited to share with you highlights of a special opportunity I recently participated in. This past week, I traveled to Mexico City with Sr. Mary Bourdon, WSG co-founder, to attend the Religious of Jesus and Mary International Encounter on Global Education.  This conference brought together 190 people from 28 different countries, both religious RJM sisters and lay people, such as myself, who work in mission organizations supported by the RJMs.  Over the course of five days, we engaged in… READ MORE

Congratulations, Class of 2023!

On June 9 we celebrated our newest WSG alumnae, the Class of 2023, in our traditional promotion ceremony. After years of modified ceremonies, we were so thrilled to experience this rite of passage together with our whole community.  The promotion marked the end of their WSG journey but the beginning of their new chapters of lifelong learning. We look forward to how they will impact the world as both WSG alumnae and courageous women. This year we welcomed Danita Johnson, President… READ MORE

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

In Memoriam: Kelley M. Lockard

Our school is devastated by the loss of Kelley Lockard. Ms. Lockard was a dedicated educator at WSG for 17 years, making her among the longest-serving staff members in the history of the school. She started her tenure as a beloved Math teacher before moving into school leadership and eventually becoming Principal. As a leader, Ms. Lockard was instrumental in developing many of the programs that are now a hallmark of our school: she was an early and enthusiastic advocate… 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: https://bit.ly/3lmY4kW 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

Finding Focus #ConferenceLife

I enjoy attending educational conferences and find it energizing to be away from my daily environment, meeting other educators and hearing about their schools. It reminds me that I’m a part of a vast community that is as committed to education and supporting students as I am. Conferences also provide a great opportunity to learn what works in different schools and classrooms and how others are innovating in their programs. In fact, the sheer number of ideas and best practices… READ MORE

Black History Month – Celebrating Mary McLeod Bethune

As a school with a student population that is primarily African-American, WSG, in many ways, celebrates Black History Month every month of the year. From the recognition of black leaders and historical figures as role models for our girls to the daily affirmation of our students’ talents and great potential, we celebrate and honor the rich history and culture that has brought our girls here – standing on the shoulders of giants, ready to take wing and fly. One of… READ MORE

Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.

It’s Catholic Schools Week – an annual celebration of the ministry and vision for education embodied by Catholic schools across the country. It’s a great time to reflect on what makes the Catholic education experience special, and I think this year’s theme is particularly apt: “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” Research has shown that graduates of Catholic schools are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001). This is the promise of… READ MORE

The Gifts of Giving

Happy 2019! Yes, I know it’s already mid-January, but I’m still getting used to writing the date with a 9 instead of an 8 and to the fact that it’s already mid-January. The end of the year is always a little hectic as everyone prepares for the holidays and makes a last-minute push to wrap-up projects and finalize plans for the new year. And so, it seems inevitable that I’ve fallen behind on this blog – my apologies. I hope… READ MORE

Our Students

No. 1 Our Students I’ve always loved school, and I believe a life spent learning is a life well spent. But when I was in elementary school, I was a shy and quiet student who tried to go unnoticed in the classroom. Fortunately, my school environment was extremely supportive, and my teachers encouraged me and helped me to gain confidence in myself. As a student at an all-girls high school, I began to recognize the importance of my early learning… READ MORE

Continuous Learning

No. 2. Continuous Learning In my first year as President, I spent a lot of time learning. I was constantly asking my staff to reflect on what we do, how we do it, and why we do it that way. It was my way of understanding all the different people, perspectives, skills, and knowledge that make WSG possible. Now in my second year, I returned to this practice through my annual end-of-year check-ins with all of my staff members in… READ MORE

Morning Prayers

No. 3 Morning Prayers “Good morning God my creator, Thank you for today…” These are the words that begin each day at WSG. An expression of gratitude for God’s blessings that bring us together for another day of learning, growing, and aspiring to be the best versions of ourselves. Morning prayer, led by our students and attended by students, faculty, and staff, is one of WSG’s most unifying and uplifting traditions and my favorite way to start my mornings. The… READ MORE

New Experiences

No. 4 New Experiences As an educator, I particularly enjoy seeing our students grow and expand their knowledge through new experiences. During the past twelve months, I’ve had the opportunity to join our students on a few out-of-school adventures, which were some of the many highlights of the year. I paddled on a marsh on a middle school kayaking trip, learning how to navigate the kayak with a partner, while taking in the surrounding wildlife. On a field trip to… READ MORE


As I watch the autumnal chase of red, yellow and orange on what is turning out to be a rather blustery November day, I am reminded that the march of time is inexorable; we are somehow charging into December with the taste of pumpkin spice barely on our lips. I guess winter is coming after all and with it the end of the year and a season of reflection. I am only 15 months into my tenure as President at… READ MORE


As the WSG community prepares for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and a well-deserved break, our students, parents, faculty, and staff are creating and sharing videos highlighting the many blessings in their lives. Our students watch these videos during Morning Prayer Assembly, and I love seeing their enthusiasm and sincere gratitude for their families, peers, teachers, and everyone who supports them. What a wonderful way to start this holiday season of joy and thanksgiving! I am thrilled to share my own… READ MORE

Redefining Courage

I recently realized that the way we use the word “courageous” at WSG is atypical. If you look up courageous, you will find some variation of the following definition: “not deterred by danger or pain; brave.” Similarly, courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.” These definitions suggest that one must be faced with a dangerous or painful obstacle in order for one to demonstrate courage or be courageous. And while we at WSG certainly agree with the… READ MORE

Wearing a Mask

Last Halloween, I was handing out candy when I recognized one of our students among the goblins and ghouls parading through my neighborhood. She was trick-or-treating with her cousin, and they had unwittingly landed on my doorstep. When I opened the door, I was surprised to hear, “Dr. Reaves?” as we both recognized each other. She was as shocked to see me as I was to see her. I was only a month into my role as President of WSG,… READ MORE

In and Out of the Classroom

When we talk about the growth of our students, we often refer to simultaneous development both “in and out of the classroom.” We want our students to lead healthy, productive lives both professionally and personally. But who they are in the classroom is different than who they are at home and who they are when they’re out with their friends. I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am in my professional and personal lives and what example I try… READ MORE

Crowns, Ships and Haiku

Last week I shared my reflections on the International Day of the Girl. This week, I’d like to revisit that day so I can share with you how our students and staff celebrated girls and girlhood. The day’s activities were largely a surprise for students, who were allowed to dress out of uniform by wearing pink on Thursday. On the Wednesday prior, students made and decorated paper crowns to represent their inner queens, and while some opted for simple looks,… READ MORE

Girls Support Girls

I have a pin that a thoughtful colleague gave to me on my birthday this year. It’s a small pin with a very simple message: Girls Support Girls. It’s not particularly profound or witty or even novel, and yet it seems to strike a chord, especially with other women. They see me wearing the pin, and it makes them smile: “Yes! Girls should support girls!” As the president of a girls’ school, I feel affirmed by this response. Yes, girls… READ MORE

WSG featured on NBC4

WSG was honored to welcome Barbara Harrison of NBC4 in November and to share our story with the Washington community. Looking back over our 20 years, the feature includes several of our founders, current students, and president Dr. Beth Reaves. Our success would not be possible without the dedication of those who believe in our mission. The segment beautifully captures the result of the collaboration, passion, and dream of a group of courageous women. Since starting in the basement of… READ MORE

WSG Celebrates 20 Years of Courage

On September 29, the Washington School for Girls celebrated 20 Years of Courage with over 500 guests at Trinity Washington University. The evening program, emceed by Pinkie Dent Mayfield, featured students and alumnae and honored the dedicated service and commitment of Sister Mary Bourdon, RJM, to WSG for the past 20 years. This extraordinary event raised over $1,000,000 in support of student scholarship at WSG. All students at WSG receive a full scholarship to attend the school, which relies on… READ MORE

In the Spirit of Courageous Women, WSG graduate participates in LearnServe International

WSG is so proud of Class of 2015 graduate Andrenae B., who participated in LearnServe International’s 3-week service trip to Paraguay in July. LearnServe offers service trips to over 100 students across the DC Metropolitan Area each year. They strive to bring students together- particularly those who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to collaborate with one another- to do their part in making the world a better place. LearnServe believes “in the power of young people to affect… READ MORE

Washington School for Girls Awarded the 2017 Board Leadership Award

Washington, D.C. — The Board of Trustees of the Washington School for Girls (WSG) was recently recognized by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement as the 2017 winner of the Board Leadership Award. WSG will receive a $10,000 grant; communication exposure through print, radio, television and social media; and training and development opportunities for the board and CEO from BoardSource and through the Center’s Learning & Leadership Institute. The WSG Board of Trustees prides itself on being exceptionally mission-driven in all… READ MORE

WSG Appoints Ms. Beth Reaves as President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 2017 CONTACT: SUSAN ROCKWELL 202-678-1113 [email protected] WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington School for Girls has appointed Ms. Beth Reaves as the second President of the school beginning in the 2017-18 school year. Following the September announcement that co-founding President and Head of School Sr. Mary Bourdon, RJM would depart the school at the end of the 2016-17 school year, the Washington School for Girls Board of Trustees initiated a comprehensive nationwide search for its new… READ MORE

Theater Club Presents First Full-length, Original Play!

Last Thursday, the Theater Club performed an original play written by Risa Garza (WSG grant writer) called, “Shine: a Story about Believing in Yourself.” The girls started rehearsing the play with directors Risa Garza and Leah Nelson on September 27, 2016. The story follows a 16-year-old aspiring writer named Ariel. While “Shine” is set in the present, black history as well as women’s history play a huge role in the story. Most of the songs featured in “Shine” are by… READ MORE

Author/Scientist Padma Venkatraman Visits WSG!

Our students at THEARC campus had an exciting visit from Dr. Padma Venkatraman on Friday. Thanks to An Open Book Foundation, each student received their own copy of Padma’s newest book titled, “A Time to Dance”. Padma shared her life story with the girls by touching upon growing up in India, moving to the United States, and obtaining American citizenship. Her wit combined with her interesting story kept the girls alert and excited to learn more. Before Padma became a… READ MORE

A Message from the Head of School: WSG Announces 3rd Grade for 2015-16

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that beginning in the summer of 2015, WSG will offer a full academic program for 3rd grade students. The 3rd grade will join the 4th and 5th grades at The VIEW Campus. I am excited that we will be meeting students at a crucial point in their educations: when they transition from learning to read to reading to learn. I am also thrilled that the new 3rd grade class will… READ MORE

Sr. Mary Bourdon Named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the Washington Business Journal

​​ Sister Mary Bourdon was recently named one of the Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business.” This annual award highlights women in our region who are exceptional leaders in their companies, industries, and communities. Congratulations to Sister Mary and all the honorees! View her profile here. You can read Sister Mary’s interview and a short video here: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/print-edition/2014/11/14/sister-mary-bourdon.html

WSG Graduation and 5th Grade Promotion

Today we celebrated the accomplishments and successes of the graduating class of 2014. We are extremely proud of these courageous young women as they embark upon their high school careers! WSG was honored to have Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the DC Court of Appeals address the community during the ceremony. Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is an accomplished woman of courage who has dedicated her career and life to the pursuit of justice both as a lawyer and a judge. A graduate of… READ MORE

WSG Hosts First Annual Founders Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In celebration of its clear mission and distinct founding principles, the Washington School for Girls (WSG) hosted its first annual Founders Day on April 11, 2014. As WSG approached the end of its 17th year offering an academic program, both of the school’s campuses came together for a formal program that reflected on the social, academic, and spiritual values that the school was founded upon. Following the program, students presented a selection of top projects from the… READ MORE

WSG Announces New Name

WASHINGTON SCHOOL FOR GIRLS ANNOUNCES NEW NAME The Washington School for Girls officially announces a name change from the Washington Middle School for Girls WASHINGTON, D.C. – The formerly Washington Middle School for Girls is now the Washington School for Girls, a name that more accurately reflects the nature of the program that has included 4th and 5th grade since 2005. Committed to empowering young women in Wards 7 and 8, the Washington School for Girls (WSG) has decided to… 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