Adam Gidwitz – Special Visiting Guest Author

Award-winning author Adam Gidwitz will be visiting WES on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to talk to students in Grades 2-8 about his writing and books. Adam is the author of The Tale Dark & Grimm series and the new Unicorn Rescue Society. He won a Newbery Honor for The Inquisitor’s Tale.

As Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau writes, “Adam Gidwitz taught children large and slightly less large in Brooklyn for eight years. Now, he writes full time, which means he writes a couple of hours a day, and lies on his couch staring at the ceiling the rest of the time. His first book, A Tale Dark and Grimm, was named an ALA Notable Book, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and one of the best children’s books of the year by School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.

In 2015, Gidwitz published Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi?, a captivating retelling of the classic tale of good versus evil for young readers. Gidwitz returned to medieval fantasy in 2016 with The Inquisitor’s Tale, a richly researched and adventure-packed novel filled with trademark humor and featuring manuscript illuminations throughout. The book received the Newbery Honor and was on multiple best of the year lists. Newbery Medalist Matt de la Peña called Gidwitz’s latest, “A profound and ambitious tour de force. Gidwitz is a masterful storyteller.” He is also well known for The Unicorn Rescue Society series. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.”

To pre-order his books that can be signed, click HERE. Please contact librarian Patrick Pane with any questions.

Total Wellness Parent Program

Join us for Feel Good Friday, Friday, Nov. 22, 8-9 a.m., in the Discovery Room. Our presenter will be Matthew Lyons, certified and trained Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga instructor, and this is a program for WES parents. Part 1 is focused on the breath as a foundation for easing stress, anxiety and maintaining balance. The session will begin by focusing on the importance of our breath and how many of us lose awareness of how we breathe throughout our daily lives. He will have us examine our breath and look at ways we can reintroduce peace and ease into our stress-filled bodies. After the workshop presentation, Mathew will be available for a Q/A session. Come in comfortable clothing or workout gear. We promise you will leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

For more information on Mathew Lyons, visit his website at

Join Us for Our NEW Pop-up Coffees – Starting Dec. 2

We have been told that one of the best things about WES is our community, and this year we are hosting pop-up coffees on select Mondays to start the week on the right foot with friends and community members! Come and grab a cup of coffee (or tea) in the admission suite, located next to Head of School Danny Vogelman’s office on the first floor.

These gatherings will be informal opportunities to meet and hang out with other WES parents, faculty, and administrators. Join us for two-minutes or stay longer. Take a moment to decompress and rejuvenate after drop off and before the rest of the day begins.

Because each week is different at WES, we will post a “pop-up coffee” sign in carpool on the mornings we will be hosting a pop-up coffee, so you will know to park

Have questions? Email Admission Director Kim Bair or your child’s Division Director.

What is a Traditional School?

From the Director of Admission.

In the age of micro-schools, homeschooling, online schools, and more, some parents ask me what traditional schools look like these days. Are they the schools that many of us attended—teachers presenting information at a chalkboard and students sitting in rows taking notes? My answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.”

Education books typically define traditional schools as teacher-centered delivery of instruction to students with a focus on having students master academic core subjects, including math, reading, writing, science, and social studies. A majority of schools in the U.S. fall into this category. At Washington Episcopal School, we provide a thorough grounding in the core academic subjects as well as augmenting the curriculum with a robust enrichment program filled with foreign languages, physical education, fine arts, performing arts, social-emotional education, executive functioning skills development, and more. Instruction incorporates a variety of methods and best practices to ensure the school day is engaging and relevant content is acquired and key skills developed. 

As you walk through our building, you may see students sitting at their desks and taking notes, but you will also find students doing a variety of other activities, including:

  • Working in groups to identify and explore core concepts in a text
  • Building models to bring math concepts to life
  • Utilizing PowerPoint and other multimedia technology to present research project findings to their teachers
  • Testing science concepts through hands-on labs and experiments
  • Listening to experts discuss their work and process via Skype

You may even see empty classrooms—at least four times a year WES students take study trips to local sites, and, in Middle School, our students go abroad to Utah, Italy, France, and Spain to apply and further develop classroom learnings. 

The benefit of our students learning through a blend of traditional and innovative instructional practices is that our graduates are prepared to succeed in a range of D.C. area, day, boarding, private, and public schools. During their time at WES, our students discover what type of learners they are and what methodologies and learning environments engage and motivate them. By the time our students apply to high school, they know what kind of school suits them best. Currently, we have 135 students at 30 different high schools. In the past four years, we are aware of only two students changing schools for reasons other than moving.

Below are five questions to ask on a school tour to determine if it is the right fit for your child:

  • What type of learners do best at your school? Are there any types of learners for whom you would not recommend your school? 
  • What schools do your graduates attend?
  • How do you monitor and assess a child’s progress?
  • How easy is it for children who transition in the older grades of your school? 
  • What percentage of students leave your school before graduation, not including families who move out of the area?

More and more schools are differentiating themselves through new instructional practices. Attending a Nursery—Grade 8 school grounded in traditional instruction and curriculum and enhanced with confirmed research-based best practices is a great way to ensure that your child develops a love for learning and is prepared for high school and beyond. By knowing your child and asking the right questions, you can be confident that you are on the right path to finding a school that fits your child and family’s needs.