At Georgetown Day School, even as we create a dynamic daily learning environment for our students, we are also thinking far into the future. At the beginning of each school year, we take note of the year that our Pre-Kindergartners will graduate from college and enter the adult world. For next year’s youngest students, it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2035. 2035 feels very far away. And yet for GDS, it represents something important.

What do we know about 2035? How does a great school prepare children for an uncertain future? Should we be offering courses in interstellar travel or piloting hovercraft?

Georgetown Day School opened its doors in 1945 as the first integrated school in a segregated city. We were founded by seven families who sought to create a school committed to academic excellence, educational innovation, and social justice. Our founders intuited what new research now proves—diverse learning environments are academically superior and allow students to enter the world with a rich appreciation of and respect for others.

Today, a GDS education is one that prepares students for an uncertain future because we live our founding mission every day.

While we would be hard-pressed to predict the details of life nearly two decades hence, we can with a fair degree of accuracy anticipate the skills and capacities that our children will need to have a meaningful impact in this changed world. These same skills (at right) lie at the heart of a GDS education. Our curriculum ensures that our students have the opportunity to learn, practice, and ultimately, master these skills during their time at GDS.

We don’t offer courses that focus explicitly on risk-taking or solving complex problems, and yet these and our other “A GDS Student Will …” capacities are taught and reinforced continually. We teach these skills through a challenging physics lab or a hard-fought soccer game, when building a city out of blocks or exploring constitutional issues on Capitol Hill, when sitting in the hallway discussing an assignment or designing a set for our latest theater production.

What is essential is that throughout our program, these skills are identified, nurtured, and assessed with intention. These skills, as we have defined them, will foster in our students both the will and capacity to change the world in ways that each generation is called to do.

While we can only imagine the particular challenges that will face each year’s PK students as they step into the adult world, it is our responsibility to provide them with the skills to pilot their metaphorical hovercrafts, and do their part in changing the world for the better.

Russell H. Shaw
Head of School

GDS Philosophy

Georgetown Day School students receive a comprehensive education designed to prepare them for a lifetime of learning and a healthy appreciation of their world and their opportunities. GDS believes that the educational development of the whole person requires comprehensive study of academic subjects, in-depth exposure to the arts, regular opportunities for physical education and athletics, and involvement in extracurricular activities and community service. Believing that each young person is unique and has special gifts, the School recognizes that identifying and fostering the growth of these individual talents is one of its most challenging responsibilities.

Noted for the depth and breadth of their knowledge and for their personal concern for the students they teach and advise, our teachers are essential to the GDS ethos. When hiring faculty, the School looks for individuals who believe deeply in the capacity of all children to excel, are passionate about the subjects they teach, work to create respectful, democratic learning communities in and outside the classroom, and possess the ability to spark enthusiasm for learning. Within a carefully designed and coordinated curriculum, teachers employ a variety of pedagogical approaches to ensure the success of all students.

Believing that students have obligations to others as well as themselves, we expect students to respect others, to appreciate others' successes, and to work hard toward their own.

GDS graduates leave the School with a love of learning, an abhorrence of bigotry and intolerance, a broadly rounded fund of knowledge, the ability to enter the great conversations of life, and the willingness and capacity to bring needed change to a troubled world.

GDS Mission Statement

Georgetown Day School honors the integrity and worth of each individual within a diverse school community. GDS is dedicated to providing a supportive educational atmosphere in which teachers challenge the intellectual, creative, and physical abilities of our students and foster strength of character and concern for others. From the earliest grades, we encourage our students to wonder, to inquire, and to be self-reliant, laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

A GDS Student Will ...

• Build networks and collaborate across difference
• Innovate and create
• Take risks, tolerate failure, and learn from failure
• Self-advocate
• Think critically
• Communicate clearly and powerfully
• Tackle complex problems
• Learn actively and resourcefully
• Engage as a just, moral, ethical citizen
• Lead

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4530 MacArthur Boulevard, NW, Washington, DC 20007


4200 Davenport Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016

Georgetown Day School is a coed, preK-12, non-sectarian private school in Washington, DC with small class sizes and a diverse school community. Our comprehensive, innovative curriculum includes hands-on learning, honors and AP classes, as well as advanced-level math and STEM courses. An education is not just college prep and SAT scores. GDS teachers focus on providing the best education for each child, from elementary grades through high school. The school performing arts program includes theater, dance, and music. The athletics program offers competitive sports for student athletes, including cross-country, track, soccer, lacrosse, and crew/rowing. With our strong commitment to financial aid, an independent school tuition is affordable.