The Washington School for Girls is an all-scholarship independent Catholic School serving students in grades 3-8. Our students come primarily from DC's Wards 7 and 8. By offering a comprehensive academic program in a supportive environment, we help our students to become confident, competent, and courageous young women.
Our Mission is to close the educational gap and broaden the educational opportunities for girls from economically disadvantaged communities in grades 3-8. We provide an excellent academic program and supportive environment which engages families and the community in the social, emotional, and spiritual growth of its students and graduates.
Our Core Values
We believe that the secure environment of WSG assists the faculty and staff in the formation of students who can demonstrate skills of leadership, fortitude and resilience. It is with these qualities that students will engage with the world and exert a positive influence.
We strive for excellence in teaching and learning that develops critical thinking skills and a thirst for knowledge and truth. We believe in expanding the hearts and minds of our students through experiences beyond the classroom.
We believe that God is the source of our lives and strength and so we support all faith expressions and encourage each student’s deepening of her spirituality through the Catholic faith tradition, shared prayer experiences and our school culture.
We believe in God’s goodness and the unique gifts of each student. We encourage each one to respect her own dignity and goodness, as well as that of others, thereby contributing positively to her school and family, country and world.
We believe that children learn when they are happy and feel safe. Therefore, we work to create an environment permeated by joy and attentiveness to the growth of the whole child: body, mind, heart, and spirit.
We are convinced, by teaching and modeling forgiveness that we can help our students shape an alternative future for our world, one that leads to harmony and peace in our families, our nation, and the global community.
We strive to have both the curriculum and the culture of the school reinforce the value of perseverance. We strive to have the students gain strength from the lives of our three founding women, as well as from the current example of WSG staff and administration, to face inevitable obstacles in their own lives to pursue their goals with faith, vision, resiliency and courage.
We believe that the mark of authentic education is found in the ability and willingness to contribute positively to society and the world. WSG provides numerous concrete experiences that foster an attitude of stewardship and a spirit of generosity within the WSG community and beyond.
Our Founding Spirits
Our school began as the dream of a group of Washington-based women, members of three organizations: The National Council of Negro Women, The Religious of Jesus and Mary and The Society of the Holy Child Jesus. The women who founded these organizations serve as our founding spirits, guiding our mission and purpose.
The National Council of Negro Women
Founded by Mary McLeod Bethune (1935)
Dr. Bethune was an African-American educator and civil rights activist who founded Bethune-Cookman College. She was known as an advisor to every President from Coolidge to Roosevelt. One of her greatest accomplishments was founding The National Council of Negro Women.
“Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
The Society of the Holy Child Jesus
Founded by Cornelia Connelly (1846)
Cornelia Connelly, a woman ahead of her time, promoted an approach to education based on trust and reverence for every human being. Her schools encourage children to develop to their full potential, based on her firm belief that all fields of study contribute to the development of that potential.
“Trust the children and never let your confidence in them be shaken. Confidence begets confidence.”
The Religious of Jesus and Mary
Founded by Claudine Thévenet (1818)
As a leader of a group of churchwomen at the time of the French Revolution, Claudine Thévenet opened small “Providences,” residences for girls. She was devoted to their instruction, providing young women with opportunities for work to help them reach their full potential as Christian women with economic autonomy and a sense of dignity.
“The greatest misfortune is to live and die without knowing God.”
The Washington School for Girls was originally founded under the name Washington Middle School for Girls.
1995-1996: A small group of women began meeting to discuss the urgent need of education for young girls living in the Anacostia area of Washington, DC. That group included representatives from the National Council of Negro Women, the Religious of Jesus and Mary, and the Society for the Holy Child Jesus.
September 1997: WMSG began an after-school tutoring and enrichment program for fourth and fifth grade girls in Anacostia.
September 1998: WMSG opened as a full-day program for grades five and six.
September 1999: Students advanced into sixth and seventh grades.
School Year 2000-01: WMSG enrolled students in three grades, sixth through eighth; The school moved to larger quarters at the Washington View Apartments, also in Anacostia; The first eighth grade class graduated from WMSG. All of our alumnae remain connected to the school through its high school support program.
September 2001: WMSG accepted students for a full, four-year middle school program.
September 2002: Cooperative relationships with several local institutions, including the Levine School of Music, the Washington Ballet, and the Washington School of Psychiatry, helped broaden and enhance educational opportunities for WMSG students.
September 2004: WMSG completes a major effort to reevaluate and revise school curriculum and to expand and improve student and family services, resulting in the School Improvement Plan.
September 2005: Opening of WMSG at THEARC (sixth, seventh, eighth grades). Initiation of a new fourth and fifth grade program in current location at Washington View.
September 2006-2008: Continued growth of two campuses. New initiatives in the Extended Day Program and Parent Involvement. Selected by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the DC Area’s best small charities.
December 2009: Journalist Mary Clare Fluery features WMSG in the Washingtonian Magazine in an article titled “No Excuses.”
April 2009: WMSG is selected by Fight For Children to receive the “Quality Schools Initiative Award” for innovative and effective programs. The Washington Area Women’s Foundation selects WMSG for the 2009 Leadership Award because of its work to change the lives of women and girls through the Extended Day Program.
June 2011: WMSG celebrates its 10th graduating eighth grade class.
April 2012: WMSG gains accreditation through the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.
August 2013: WMSG relocates The VIEW Campus to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish.
February 2014: WMSG officially changes its name to the Washington School for Girls (WSG)
July 2015: The first 3rd grade students in the school's history begin the innovative year-round academic program
September 2017: The Washington School for Girls celebrates 20 Years of Courage, honoring Co-Founder Sister Mary Bourdon, RJM and welcoming new President Dr. Beth Reaves.