Independent Small Schools in Washington DC, Maryland & Virginia    

For over 40 years there has been a unique group of independent schools in the greater Washington area; schools which are small, nurturing, and often not terribly well known. These schools are members of the Washington Small Schools Association. Families come to these schools from Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Montgomery, Howard, Frederick, Prince George's, Charles and Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland.

The school links on the left will lead you to a diverse group of schools, each of which is unique, yet each of which has as part of its mission remaining small and knowing each student as an individual.

Please contact the individual schools directly if you would like further information.


Deborah Meier cites seven reasons why small schools work:
1. Governance. Communication is easier when the whole staff can meet around one common table.
2. Respect. Students and teachers get to know each other well.
3. Simplicity. Less bureacracy makes it easier to individualize.
4. Safety. Strangers are easily spotted and teachers can respond quickly to rudeness or frustration.
5. Parent involvement. Parents are more likely to form alliances with teachers who know their child and care about his or her progress.
6. Accountability. No one needs bureaucratic data to find out how a student, a teacher, or the school is doing. Everyone knows.
7. Belonging. Every student, not just the academic and athletic stars, is part of a community that contains adults.

"Relationships are cross-disciplinary, cross-generational, and cross everything else. Kids don't just know the adults they naturally like, or the ones who naturally like them. They may hate some grown-ups and love others, but they recognize everyone as members of the same human club." Meier (1996).

For more information about research on small schools look at these PDF's, web links, and Word documents...
The Case for Small Schools
Making the Case: Gates Foundation
Gates Foundation Small Schools Brochure
Small Schools, Safety, and Learning PDF
School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance
Research Reports on School Size
School Size: Safety and Learning

Alef Bet Montessori
Grades PS-6, MD

Christian Family Montessori School
Grades PS-6, DC

The Diener School Grades K-6, MD

Evergreen School
Grades PS-3, MD

Friends Community School
Grades PS-8, MD

Friends Meeting School
Grades PS-12, MD

Harbor School
Grades PK-2, MD

Howard Gardner School
Grades 9-12, VA

The Nora School
Grades 9-12, MD

Parkmont School
Grades 6-12, DC

Seneca Academy
Grades PK-8, MD

Washington Waldorf School
Grades PK-12, MD