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, are disciplined, suspended, and arrested in school disproportionally. We highly recommend that those interested in learning more about how this topic impacts Black girls read or watch Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris, available as both a book and documentary film.


WSG does not have armed officers on either of our campuses. It is critical that our students feel safe in school, and that discipline is enacted fairly with both justice and rehabilitation at the center of those decisions. Removing police from DC’s schools and replacing them with trained, professional social workers and other mental health resources could be an important step towards racial equity in schools. We have found those to be key aspects of our success in supporting our students.


Updated: Jun 8

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 our school - to serve those girls in SE Washington DC; young Black and Brown girls. Since our founding, our school has been one where their voices are heard, where they are affirmed every day for who they are, and where we know they have the potential to enact change in their communities and the world.

We believe these girls matter and our commitment has always been to amplify their voices, and to support them in becoming the strongest versions of themselves.

While we want each student to feel safe, and to confidently know her worth, we also know it is hard to feel safe when you constantly see people who look like you experiencing violence at the hands of those who are supposed to protect our communities. It is hard to know your worth when discourse focuses more on the financial cost of property damage than the human cost of a lost life that could have been your father, your sister, or your cousin.


It is hard to experience joy when you so rarely see justice.

At WSG our daily morning prayer reminds us of the need to pray for others to join us on this journey.

We pray:

To forgive: that we might answer violence and hatred with love and compassion;

To reverence others: that we might see and honor God’s presence in all people; and

To cherish education and the exercise of our civil liberties: that we might work to bring about a peaceful and just world.


We can prepare our girls to enter diverse high schools and we can help them build emotional resilience. We can, and do, challenge our own biases so we can be better educators for them. But a WSG education does not change how strangers judge our students. It does not erase our society’s stereotypes of Black women, it does not guarantee that those they encounter will recognize their excellence. Our work is important. But it is not enough. Our girls deserve a better world.


During this time of unrest, we feel it is important to state that we remain committed to our school mission and core values. In addition,

  • We stand with those who are exercising their civil liberties to bring about a peaceful and just world.

  • We denounce racism of any kind, at any time.

  • We are appalled by the continued unjustified use of force by police within Black communities.

  • We pray for and with families who have suffered unimaginable loss.


We pray for a future where everyone in our country feels safe, is valued equally, and can experience joy that is uninterrupted by injustice.


In the Spirit of Courageous Women,




Dr. Beth Reaves

President






Maureen B. McCarty

Chair, Board of Trustees





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 responders, food service workers, delivery people and others are among the most essential services for each of us during this pandemic. These selfless workers help us survive, both in our homes, and in health care facilities. We agree they are essential because our survival, our physical health, depends on them. It is clear to me in that same vein, that our small school communities are also essential. Good schools are more than just a place of learning academic subjects - they are an important community of humans connected together. Students build and form relationships with their peers and trusting adults at school. They learn how to interact with each other, respect others, navigate through adolescence, form friendships, and endure the hardships that come with those relationships.


Schools are also the place where children learn to strengthen connections outside of their family with other trusting adults. Schools help children discover what they are good at, what they like and don’t like. Children learn to negotiate and advocate for themselves and others at school. In smaller schools in particular, students are seen and known throughout the school. Teachers know each student by name, even those that they don’t teach. They know their families, their extended families, sometimes even their pets.


A school can also be a place of refuge for some students. It may be where they find acceptance, care and support beyond their families. It may be where they learn what their own personal strengths are; what supports their emotional health and strengthens their core. Fundamentally, there is an energy in a school that can’t be duplicated in other settings, that comes from a shared purpose of being together. Students in small school communities often describe their school community as their family.


And so during this time when school buildings are closed, it is even more critical that we are able to find a way to duplicate the important community features that many of our schools offer. I’ve read recently about many great examples of how schools have done just that, such as:

  • Providing regular on-going video chat opportunities for even young students, allowing them to both see and interact with their teachers and just as importantly, with each other.

  • Continuation of important school traditions, with creative remote spins. Remote prayer services and virtual or drive-by celebrations provide important connections to some of the best traditions of a school.

  • Informal distance activities with students such as teacher led bedtime stories, lunch bunch with counselors, socially distant dances, and more provide a social outlet for students and continue those important relationship connections that exist within a school.


Community building continues at great schools during these times. They continue to create the hope that students need to know that things will eventually get better. Many small school communities have extended themselves beyond what seems feasible during a pandemic to reach their students - with limited staffing and resources available. And so, I’d like to acknowledge that schools, while physically closed right now, are still very much open to supporting the ongoing growth of our children.


WSG is currently operating remotely. Learn more about our COVID-19 Response HERE

Washington School for Girls

THEARC Campus / 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020 / Phone: 202-678-1113 / Fax: 202-678-1114

The VIEW Campus / 1604 Morris Road SE, Washington, DC 20020 / Phone: 202-678-1714 / Fax: 202-678-5422

EIN: 52-2031849