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Living Our Mission: Critical Thinking, Confidence, and Compassion

5/2/2012
From the first day of prekindergarten through eighth grade graduation, Capitol Hill Day School students are called upon to search creatively for patterns, analyze and solve problems, delve deeply into chosen subjects, think critically, and reflect upon their work and that of others. With over 300 field trips each year, our unparalleled field education program brings curriculum alive, connecting the classroom to the wider world.

Capitol Hill Day School educators, at all grade levels, work to design and implement curriculum that fosters creativity and integrates subjects across disciplines. Each year concepts and skills are thoughtfully investigated with increasing sophistication. Throughout their years at Capitol Hill Day School, children develop a high level of comfort asking questions, struggling with the ambiguity inherent in knowledge, and with the fact that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

When our graduates move on to high school (currently, we have 77 alumni at 32 different high schools), they hit the ground running as confident and compassionate young people with strong critical thinking and leadership skills. Our graduates are proof that the challenging and nurturing environment that Capitol Hill Day School provides empowers students to take full advantage of selective high school programs, and in time to succeed in the most competitive colleges and universities.

Our faculty, administration, and parent body work together to create a school-wide culture of openness and respect, where diversity in all forms is embraced and celebrated, and where developing strong academic skills goes hand in hand with healthy social, emotional, and physical growth. Our community reflects a commitment to fostering and maintaining this diversity: in this academic year, over a third of our student body represents racial, ethnic, and international diversity; 20% of our students receive financial assistance, with an average award of $11,000; and the term “CHDS family” defies narrow definition, with families headed by both mom and dad, or a single parent, or two moms, or two dads, or a combination of parents and extended family.

In the April 13 Washington Post, Georgetown University freshman Darryl Robinson described the failure of his public school education to prepare him for the academic demands of college. With one sentence Mr. Robinson succinctly identifies what was lacking: “My former teachers simply did not push me to think past a basic level, to apply concepts, to move beyond memorizing facts and figures.” That environment is the exact opposite of what students at Capitol Hill Day School enjoy.