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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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