Founded in 1966, Washington International School (WIS) is a coeducational day school offering 900 students a challenging international curriculum and rich language program from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 follow the inquiry-based international Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) in a language immersion (Pre-K and Kindergarten) and dual-language (Grades 1-5) framework; in Grades 6-10 they continue with a multidisciplinary and inquiry-based approach designed to enhance understanding and develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the prestigious IB Diploma Program, the curriculum for all students in Grades 11 and 12.
In addition to their academic studies in mathematics, science, language, literature, social sciences and the arts, students learn how to be engaged global citizens. An active sports schedule, community service in Washington, DC, and around the world, and travel programs for study and for fun take our students out into the world, while on campus they are involved in theater and music, art, journalism, debate and many other activities.
WIS has had a strong relationship with Project Zero for over a decade. The very first Project Zero conference held away from the Harvard campus was co-hosted by WIS and the National Gallery of Art in November 2010. Since that time, WIS teachers have presented workshops at off-site conferences in New York, Atlanta and Clarkston, Michigan. Our teachers now regularly lead in-house workshops with their colleagues and parents on how they are using Project Zero ideas in practice.
For the 2010-11 academic year, WIS received a matching grant from the EE Ford Foundation to establish a consultant-in-residency program featuring Project Zero researchers Veronica Boix Mansilla and Ron Ritchhart. Contributions from the community ensured WIS met the match. In the 2011-12, the WIS Parent Association awarded a grant that sustained this work for another year.
Throughout these two years, the Project Zero consultants worked with teachers and administrators to develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding connected to a relevant global issues curriculum and its delivery. Their work entailed, but was not limited to:
- Leading workshops for teachers;
- Observing classes and engaging the faculty in explorations of teaching and learning issues related to building a relevant curriculum for the 21st century;
- Organizing and advising professional learning groups of teachers;
- Consulting with groups of teachers in subject area and grade level groups to build interdisciplinary approaches to various topics;
- Training teachers to be trainers, so they could lead workshops and symposia as outlined above; and
- Consulting with the school’s Academic Council and administrators on strategies to ensure success of this project.
As a result of these initiatives, the entire WIS faculty has engaged deeply with Project Zero ideas. Furthermore, over half of faculty members in all three divisions have attended a Project Zero summer institute on the Harvard campus.