High School - Where Knowledge Runs Deep
The Washington Waldorf High School prepares young people for college and beyond through a demanding college preparatory program that challenges students to develop their full capacities for thinking, creative imagination, and active engagement in the world. At WWS, we view each student as an extraordinary human being who is on a profound journey of discovery.
What kind of student does well at WWS? Students who are self-motivated, interested in others, and academically capable are best positioned to thrive here. Students who enjoy participating in courses in all subject areas and in many facets of school life throughout the four years of high school thrive here. Our students have a wide diversity of strengths and interests. What they share is a willingness to look beyond the ordinary, a desire to truly discover themselves and the world, and a hunger for deep experience.
The high school day begins with a double period main lesson which is taught as a block lasting three to four weeks. These courses allow for a seminar style, in-depth exploration of a topic in mathematics, the sciences, or the humanities.
Full Year Courses
All students take full-year courses in mathematics, English, Spanish or German, technology, and movement or eurythmy.
Students take several quarter-long courses in addition to main lessons and full-year courses. One of these courses each quarter will be a fine or applied art, taught in two double periods per week. Most other quarterly courses are academic subjects. Students sometimes have a choice between two courses. One of these courses is usually an academic subject, one is an art (to which we devote 2 double periods per week), and others are often in movement or drama.
Electives and Whole School Courses
In addition to some choices between quarterly courses, students enroll in quarter-long whole high school electives (a mix of students in grades 9-12). A sample list of Wednesday afternoon electives is available here. A list of music electives is available here.
Students gain language fluency and cultural understanding through our unique Exchange Program, living with host families while attending Waldorf high schools in places like Germany, Austria, Spain, Peru, and Chile. While abroad, students attend classes, school functions, and family activities with their brother/sister host, and in turn become a host back in the Washington, D.C. area. The program is designed for direct exchanges within the international Waldorf school system and the families who make the commitment to host students from abroad.
Due to the demands of the Waldorf curriculum, the program is designed for a period of two months during the WWS student's sophomore year, and is an opportunity for a limited number of highly motivated, academically strong, and emotionally mature students.
The Washington Waldorf School is one of a thousand Waldorf schools in sixty countries worldwide. Each school is independently run yet shares a commitment to cultural understanding and global connectivity. In the WWS High School, visiting exchange students and International Program students are an integral part of the student body, and we often welcome visiting students from abroad.
Seniors can elect to do an independent senior project which they present to their classmates and to the community in the spring of their senior year. These projects have spanned a wide array of interests. To give a few examples: An art project inspired by interviews with a local homeless man; the study of and report on the history of fashion in the 20th century along with the design and sewing of an elaborate graduation dress; the start up of a non-profit organization to support education in a student’s mother’s county in Bolivia; fixing up an old Porsche to be road worthy; certification as a wilderness First Responder; and a research paper on the effects of atrificial sonar on marine mammals.