i suppose that people with negative things to say are more likely to take the time to write a review, but, I take serious issue with most of these "nay-sayers". My child came to the primary school in 1st grade in 2014. First grade is not a normal entry year and we were worried, since he was one of only two newcomers. Our worries were unfounded. The primary school is nurturing, kind, and supportive. The management has been excellent. I have never witnessed any of the negative conduct mentioned by others. The Principal is bright, greets the children and parents with enthusiasm and professionalism. My child's academic prowess is on a par with students from others schools and, just as important, he loves to go to school, day after day. This is due, in no small part, to an excellent professional and support staff, the small, personal classes and the excellent design and presentation of the curriculum. As to fundraising and disparity among parent giving levels, there has been absolutely no pressure of any kind (apart from alerts as to fundraising events) and never have we heard of repercussions from failing to make contributions. There has been absolutely no indication of this at all. The fundraising is low-key, non-intrusive, and probably on a par with all other private schools. The result is that the students receive an amazing education, of which the bilingual aspect is an integral part and, more importantly, the students become well-rounded, mature, self-confident, and sociable. I don't know what more you could ask for.
My children have been lifers at WIS. The primary school has always been subpar to the Upper School, but things hit rock bottom with their appointed director as of a few years ago. The lower school principal is not only incompetent and has no idea what she is doing, but she is vulgar and classless. Her comments towards the parents are unacceptable and her lack of ability to head a school is evident to the parents. The math program does not prepare the students to face the upper school requirements, and they have no ability to sustain a child who learns differently from the A student, which leaves many parents of multiple children frustrated with having to move one of their children out of the school. Send your child somewhere else for the primary years and the to WIS for their upper school experience, which, in our case, has been stellar.
The school is a perfect combination of diverse parents, supportive students and caring teachers. We put our child in WIS with a common degree of trepidation that most parents encounter. The teachers and administrators asked us to trust them and it's been wonderful to watch. The environment truly nurtures a global attitude which cannot be duplicated by the other schools in Washington. The language immersion is only one part of the education and watching the kids interact in myriad languages is great. Lastly, issues do arise here as in any school. The administration has been very good about actively correcting issues as they arise and are very professional about it. Maybe one day I'll have something critical to say about WIS, but they've been great for the first couple of years.
We have been at WIS for 12 years. The program is amazing. Not only is my child bilingual in French and English (we are American) the school is now strong in math ,which once was not a strength. Student test scores are off the charts good in math and reading. I am grateful for everything the school does and has become.
Be careful when you decide to apply. We will go through a nightmare with the admissions office and unless you are rich enough to guarantee a lot of donations will be treated with total disrespect. Kids are not pushed and teacher are most of the time not qualified
Please understand it is difficult to give details that inevitably identify the children. There are some decent people working at the school, and it is certainly not a horrible place, but parents and their offspring are treated based on their fundraising potential by an administration that only cares about money. Donate generously each year, or pledge to do so, and your child will own the school. The "poorer" kids and their parents will be treated as second class citizens... and I cannot imagine how it feel if you received a bit of financial aid. Probably a good lesson in life for our kids anyway.
WIS has been an excellent environment for my son who went to the Primary School for 6 years (K-5). We found it academically stimulating and thought the multi-disciplinary approach was really effective and made learning fun. I think it's great that they leave time for physical activity and play. His ability to speak a second language in such a natural, comfortable way and his comfort with different cultures are huge gifts--especially in this globalized world. The environment is very positive, very safe and we loved the teachers. Their after-care programs are very good, too, which helps for working parents!
We have had three children at WIS for a total of 14 years. This school is nothing short of amazing, and offers a one-of-a-kind education in this region. Our kids emerged from primary school at age 11 completely fluent in Spanish (we are an English-speaking, American family) -- an enormous asset in today's world. But beyond that, growing up at WIS, our children gained a visceral sense of what it means to solve problems in a diverse, internationally-connected community, with teachers and classmates from a variety of countries, backgrounds and perspectives. I cannot agree with the suggestion in another review that WIS Primary's math program is lacking. To the contrary, the math program, which teaches students to go deep into mathematic principles, instead of racing through to "get ahead," has prepared my daughters to study math at the highest level in the IB, a much more rigorous course than the AP Calculus offered at most other high schools. My advice to those interested in a rigorous, bilingual education that prepares kids to live in a global world and to continue their studies at the best universities in the US or abroad -- take a very close look at WIS Primary.
WIS is clearly the best school in Washington DC. We have been at the school for nine years now, and our three kids are thriving. I use the word "best", because every school has more or less the same school hours, yet in those same hours, WIS accomplishes much more as it teaches in two languages, simultaneously, everyday. As a result, our kids are fluent in Spanish, a language we do not speak at home. They get a strong foundation in primary school, all while being taught math and other basic skills and knowledge. Our kids are in upper school now, and the math foundation they received in primary school is paying off, as they are in the highest level of math offered by the IB. Other than the academics, if you want your kids to be worldly, aware and respectful of other cultures, than WIS is the place for you. The school is so diverse in its student body and faculty, that just by being exposed to so many nationalities, one learns different ways of thinking, different ways of seeing, and respecting all. WIS is unique place in Washington DC, those of us who are part of it, feel very lucky.
WIS is an incredible school. My children are growing up speaking more than one language fluently. The curriculum, teaching and facilities are amazing; and the ethos of the school, where each child is treated as a unique individual is empowering. These kids have friends from all over the world and see the world as a whole place from a very young age. We love this school.