15 Questions to Ask at the Parent Interview

Looking at prospective schools can be stressful. Not only is it a huge financial commitment but you also want the school to best fit your family’s values, philosophies, and expectations. Most schools’ websites and tours will provide a good overview of the school, but the following list of questions will help you dig a little deeper and pick-up the important differences from one school to another.

  1. What is the mission and philosophy of the school?
  2. How is that displayed in the classroom on a day-to-day basis?
  3. What are the unique programs or curricula that the school implements and why?
  4. How much homework is there on a nightly basis and what is the general philosophy about homework?
  5. How much recess or downtime do students have in a typical day?
  6. How does the school advance a student’s strengths and how does it help support a student’s weaknesses?
  7. Do students have the opportunity to try new things or are students geared to concentrate on specific strengths/interests?
  8. Describe the typical graduate of the school (academically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually).
  9. Where do you place your graduates, and how do you help families in that process?
  10. How many students leave before graduating and what are the most common reasons why the leave early?
  11. What is the turnover rate for your faculty and staff, and what are the most common reasons they leave?
  12. What are the top three assets/skills/traits you look for when hiring faculty and staff?
  13. How engaged is your parent body, and what kind of activities do parents do to contribute to campus life?
  14. What activities do you have to help transition new students into the academic and social life of the school?
  15. What supports do you have for working families: aftercare, study hall, before- and after-school enrichment activities, online communications, or other?

Asking questions is an important part of the process. Be sure to develop additional questions to know if the school will be able to support any special and specific needs your child and/or family may have―this may include academic and social-emotional support. Being transparent about what your family is looking for is key to finding the school that will serve your child and family.

Grade 6 Students

WES Grade 6 students had a special opportunity to talk with a NASA astronaut currently living and working aboard the International Space Station. The Earth-to-space call was aired live at 11:55 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 23, on NASA Television and the agency’s website: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

NASA astronaut Drew Morgan answered questions from students at his alma mater, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as Washington Episcopal School and Washington School for Girls in the District of Columbia.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronauts on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).

Community Service First Friday Kick-Off Event a Success!

We are grateful to the more than 200 Dragons, dragon families, and faculty who turned out last Friday night for our First Friday community service event. It was wonderful to see parents, children, and faculty working side-by-side to create items and raise funds that are being donated to those in need in our area and in Ghana, West Africa.

We are pleased to announce who will benefit from our activities and donations from First Friday Night:

$60 was collected for the Sickle Cell Anemia Program at Children’s National Hospital and our collection of toiletries will go to several local shelters

Attend the Auction Kick-Off Wine Party on Saturday, Nov. 9!

Join us for the 15th annual Auction Gala Wine Party on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m., at the home of WES family near WES in Chevy Chase. This adults-only, casual party kicks off the Auction season as it builds our Auction wine cellar. A buffet dinner, valet parking, a mini silent auction, and a raffle are featured. Invitations were sent home last week with the youngest student in the family in Nursery- Grade 4, and mailed to those in Grades 5-8. Click HERE for the link to the online RSVP for the wine party. Click HERE for a link to the pdf of the Wine List.


Parent Workshop: Middle School Matters

Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., in The Stuart Work Library for this special presentation.

Filled with anecdotes and expert advice from her experiences as a middle school counselor, Phyllis Fagell’s book, Middle School Matters, is a must-read for everyone who lives and works with middle schoolers. The MS Faculty read this book over the summer, and parents and faculty are invited to hear Phyllis’ 10 key skills that kids need to thrive in middle school and beyond.

Phyllis L. Fagell has been immersed in middle school for years as a psychotherapist, school counselor, writer, and parent. She believes that middle school shouldn’t be a time to dread, but rather a key phase parents can capitalize on to impart critical skills. Fagell is also a journalist who stays up-to-date on new breakthroughs in counseling, parenting, and education and brings the latest research to life and gives it practicality. With the right concrete, evidence-based strategies, parents can help kids emerge from middle school feeling positive about the experience and ready for the demands of high school and life.

Parent Workshop: Laying the Foundation for Strong Reading Skills

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 30-9:30 a.m., parents of NPK children who are interested in learning more about early childhood literacy and the methods we are using at WES should plan to attend this presentation about helping to build a foundation for literacy. Knowledge of phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, letter-sound association, and word structure will be discussed, and activities that help support these skills will be shared. Our presenter is Janique Parrott-Gaffne, founder of Literacy Without Limits. With over a decade of experience in teaching, Janique specializes in reading interventions for children with reading difficulties and consults with schools in the DC metropolitan area.