British International School of Washington 4 5 1 1

Westminster School

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Westminster’s overall program is based on the belief that children between the ages of three and fourteen are naturally dominated by curiosity and enthusiasm. To satisfy and stimulate this appetite for learning and accomplishment, Westminster presents a well-rounded, challenging curriculum steeped in the classics and enhanced by the arts. The purposeful classroom environment emphasizes thorough mastery of subject, high standards of achievement, good study habits, and personal responsibility.

Art and music classes are part of the weekly schedule for all grades and dance is included as a regular part of the PE program. A unique aspect to Westminster School is its drama program. All students participate in theater, performing in a class play every year, culminating with a Shakespeare play in the 7th grade and a Broadway musical in the 8th grade.

This rich and varied program is supported by extensive optional extracurricular clubs and activities, including Builders Club (community service), Chess, Chorus, Orchestra, French Club, Math Counts, Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, as well as team sports in basketball, soccer, softball, and track and field. Athletic competitions, art exhibitions, math contests, science fairs, and talent shows provide many opportunities for students to explore and share their talents.

Westminster parents appreciate that the daily school life is supported by an array of programs, including small-group teacher-provided academic support which is built into the school day, extended care, summer and intersession camps, frequent field trips, after-school enrichment classes, door-to-door bus service, and an optional lunch program.

Basic Facts

    Available Spots: Spots available in Pre-K to grade 7.

    Age Range:
    Preschool - grade 8

    Years Established: 1962

    Enrollment: 265

    Average Class Size: 14

    Tuition: $11,820-$25,884

    Who you serve:
    Co-ed, Elementary, Middle School, Preschool

    Mission/Philosophy
    Mission
    Westminster School is dedicated to providing a superior elementary and middle-school education whose fundamental goals for each child are a disciplined and well-informed mind, strength of character, dedication to learning, generosity of spirit, and joy in the possibilities of life. The Westminster program is founded on a traditional curriculum, rigorous academic standards, and an atmosphere that promotes respect, integrity, kindness, and a sense of excellence. Westminster's academic program provides thorough training in basic subjects within a broad humanities curriculum. The Classical tradition, great books, and exposure to the arts are emphasized and integrated throughout an accelerated, thoroughly rounded program.

    Philosophy
    The school's philosophy springs from deeply held beliefs about human potential and responsibility, which are drawn from the Classical tradition of Western civilization and humanist philosophy. These ideals form a standard against which all aspects of Westminster's curriculum and policies are measured, and underlie the core beliefs of Westminster School:

    We believe that all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, or other differences, can agree upon essential, human values that they wish to pass on to their children. Among these are respect, tolerance, kindness, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, integrity, and the love of learning.
    We believe in the essential goodness and forward-striving nature of children who, if properly motivated and imaginatively taught, are capable of the highest levels of achievement in all areas of endeavor.
    We believe that civility, courtesy, and good manners are the essential foundation for all human interaction and participation in society.
    We believe that genuine freedom can only be achieved through self-discipline, and that discipline is acquired through guidance and practice.
    We believe that enthusiasm, industry, and perseverance are the keys to success.
    We believe that challenge is necessary for growth and that high expectations, lovingly and firmly held, result in achievement and genuine self-esteem.
    We believe in the importance of developing mind, body, and spirit, and of striving for balance among these energies.
    We believe in the power of great works of art to transform the individual.
    We believe that creativity is the essential act of the human spirit, and that engagement in the arts is a lifeline for self-discovery, self-expression, and connectedness with the world.
    Essentially, the Westminster program is directed toward developing the humanity of each child. The academic curriculum and other program offerings are considered vehicles for achieving these humanistic goals:

    • respect for self and others;
    • tolerance of differences and kindness to all;
    • courtesy and good manners;
    • self-discipline;
    • enthusiasm, industry, and perseverance;
    • ability to think clearly/critically and articulate thoughts;
    • recognition of and striving for excellence;
    • integrity; and
    • confidence to share talents and continue seeking personal growth.

    Westminster presents a diverse, challenging curriculum in a purposeful classroom environment which emphasizes thorough mastery of subject, high standards of achievement, good study habits, and personal responsibility. The staff interprets their position in loco parentis not only as responsibility for the children’s safety, but as mentors in character-building and comportment, modeling and guiding the students to develop the qualities outlined above.

    Westminster recognizes that its highly structured, academically accelerated program is not always easy for the students or their parents. As Spinoza wrote, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare,” and striving for excellence is a cornerstone of the Westminster approach. A high level of agreement and mutual support is needed between the school and the parents in order to carry out the program and ensure the students’ success. At open houses for prospective parents, grade-level coffees held for the parents twice yearly, and other meetings, school administrators explain and expand upon the school philosophy, including “the golden triangle.” This symbolizes a system of mutual respect, communication, and support, with the parents at one point of the triangle, the teachers at another, the administration at the third, and the student in the middle. This paradigm includes the gradual expansion of the triangle’s limits as the child matures through the grades, growing increasingly capable of self-discipline, responsibility, and good decision-making. As the student completes the Westminster program, the triangle opens and the young adult who has been guided, shaped, and rendered both capable and confident, emerges well-prepared for a wider world of responsibilities and possibilities.

    Available Hours:
    8:00-5:00

Contact Details

Important Q&A

    What differentiates your school from all others?
    Westminster's program is unique in that it offers a rigorous academic program enhanced by the arts. The drama program is particularly unusual as every student participates in a play every year. No student escapes the experience of performing on stage. In the 7th grade, students put on a Shakespeare play in the true Shakepearean language and in the 8th grade, all students perform in a musical. These dramatic productions along with many other experiences in front of an audience produce unusually confident and articulate young people who are not afraid to speak in front of an audience. Thanks to the broad humanities curriculum, they are also able to easily converse with people of all ages on a variety of topics.

    Whats one myth about your school thats just not true?
    Because Westminster has a classical emphasis, sometimes people think that this must mean that the school is stuck in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the curriculum is steeped in the classics, it has evolved over the years to adapt and change with the times. At Westminster, we believe in always looking back to the past to help inform where we are headed in the future. At Westminster, we are careful about adopting new educational philosophies and programs just because they happen to be in vogue. Our time-tested and proven track record is based on the belief that an in-depth program that trains the mind to think critically, argue logically, and speak eloquently will prepare students for any endeavor in high school and beyond. Therefore, when we make adjustments to our program, a lot of thought, research, and discussion goes into it first.

    What kind of student is most successful at your school?
    The most successful students are motivated to learn, have a positive attitude and are willing to work hard. At Westminster, we teach the students to do their work "neatly, completely, and with pride." It is not so important that everything be right, but that you have put forth your best effort in everything you do. Children who are interested in a balanced school experience that includes math, science, history, English, PE, sports, and the arts will appreciate Westminster's well-rounded academic program. As the curriculum is accelerated, students must be willing to put in daily study time.

    Why should we choose your school?
    Westminster’s overall program is based on the belief that children between the ages of three and fourteen are naturally dominated by curiosity and enthusiasm. To satisfy and stimulate this appetite for learning and accomplishment, Westminster presents a well-rounded, challenging curriculum steeped in the classics and enhanced by the arts. The purposeful classroom environment emphasizes thorough mastery of subject, high standards of achievement, good study habits, and personal responsibility.
    Art and music classes are part of the weekly schedule for all grades and dance is included as a regular part of the PE program. A unique aspect to Westminster School is its drama program. All students participate in theater, performing in a class play every year, culminating with a Shakespeare play in the 7th grade and a Broadway musical in the 8th grade.
    This rich and varied program is supported by extensive optional extracurricular clubs and activities, including Builders Club (community service), Chess, Chorus, Orchestra, French Club, Math Counts, Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, as well as team sports in basketball, soccer, softball, and track and field. Athletic competitions, art exhibitions, math contests, science fairs, and talent shows provide many opportunities for students to explore and share their talents.
    Westminster parents appreciate that the daily school life is supported by an array of programs, including small-group teacher-provided academic support which is built into the school day, extended care, summer and intersession camps, frequent field trips, after-school enrichment classes, door-to-door bus service, and an optional lunch program.

    What does a typical day look like for your kids?
    Westminster students enjoy a busy day that includes time in each of the core subjects--English, Math, Science and History/Social Studies. They also have PE every single day. In addition, children in grades K-6 enjoy daily recess. All students also have special classes in Art, Music, and French throughout the week. Latin is a part of the daily routine for students in 7th and 8th grade. A flex period at the end of the day allows time for study hall or extra help in academic subjects. The day begins at 8:10 and ends at 3:10. After school, many students participate in the sports program or in one or more of the many available clubs.

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There are 2 reviews. Add your review »

  1. I am the proud parent of a Westminster graduate. My son acknowledges and most of all appreciates the value of the classical education he received his 13years. I am grateful that while it was not easy the last few years, he now attributes much of his outlook in life and maturity to his Westminster years. As a mom, I had the pleasure to interact with both student body and administration in my involvement in school activities. Westminster is a great community and is well described in the words written on this article. Sincerely, a proud mom of the class of 2014, Mercedes Campos

  2. A traditional and enriched program from K to 8 will leave you wishing it would go until 12th grade. I am the parent of two graduates, and believe that if the school discipline is combined with home structure, it will lead to a well-trained young adult ready to tackle challenges in life. Both my daughters speak fondly of their experience in Westminster, and are quick to mention that it was instrumental to where they are in life today. Their Westminster experience has clearly helped them rise to challenges they have come across and succeed both in academics, and social life. Most teachers and school administration will become an integral part of the student’s life, and their teachings will remain with them forever. This is a school focused on the whole person, creating a well-rounded individual, as opposed to just certain aspects of a child.

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