Virtute et non vi
"By virtue, not by force"
|Bethesda, Maryland, USA|
|Type||Private College Preparatory School|
Lower School: 126
Middle School: 227
Upper School: 330
|Student to teacher ratio||8:1|
|Campus||Suburban, 75 acres (30 ha)|
|Color(s)||Brown and White
|Athletics||15 interscholastic sports|
|Athletics conference||Interstate Athletic Conference|
The Landon School is a private, nonsectarian, college preparatory school for boys in grades 3–12, with an enrollment of approximately 680 students. The school sits on 75 acres (300,000 m2) in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Paul Landon Banfield and his wife, Mary Lee, founded Landon School in 1929. The school’s first location was a former residence in the Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C., now home to the Embassy of Estonia. Banfield moved Landon to its present 75-acre (300,000 m2) campus in Bethesda in 1935. The farmhouse, stables, and barn from the previous use of the Bethesda property still stand on the campus and are used today.
Landon’s mission is to prepare talented boys for productive lives as accomplished, responsible and caring men whose actions are guided by the principles of perseverance, teamwork, honor and fair play."
Landon prides itself on its student-initiated and student-run honor code, begun in the early 1960s. At the start of each school year, every student and faculty member signs Landon’s Code of Character as a pledge to uphold the values of respect and honor that are central to the school’s Civility and Honor Codes. These same values are present in the school’s motto, “Virtute et non vi” — which means “By virtue, not by force.”
The Landon School's headmasters have been:
- Paul Landon Banfield: 1929–1970
- Hugh Riddleberger: 1970–1981
- Malcolm Coates: 1981–1989
- Damon F. Bradley: 1990–2004
- David M. Armstrong: 2004–present
In November 2014, the Landon School Board of Trustees announced that Jim Neill had been selected to succeed departing Headmaster David Armstrong as Landon’s sixth head. His tenure will begin July 2015.
In the Lower School (Grades 3-5), students learn the essentials of mathematics, history, English and science. In the third grade, students have a primary teacher for the core subjects, but learn self-reliance as they move about campus independently to attend art classes in Torrey Hall, science labs in the Barton Alumni Athletic Center, and music classes and play practice in the Mondzac Performing Arts Center. At the fourth- and fifth-grade levels, teachers specialize in their subject, and boys have the benefit of faculty expertise in writing, reading, math and social studies.
Lower School students enjoy hands-on learning experiences through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) challenges, projects that teach them to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world experiences. Off-campus field trips — such as a visit to the National Gallery of Art, a barge ride down the historic C&O Canal and a book reading at Politics & Prose — also extend the material the boys have learned and encourage them to enjoy time together in a non-classroom setting.
In the Middle School (Grade 6, Forms I and II), students begin to make the transition from boys to young men, and Landon’s academic curriculum adapts to equip them with the tools they need to think critically, independently and analytically.
Thanks to small class sizes (the average is 15 students), as well as honors courses in mathematics, each Middle School boy has the opportunity to excel and learn strong fundamentals that will prepare him for Upper School and college. Landon’s unique eight-day schedule with mid-morning breaks allows students to experience each class at different times for optimal learning and provides a window for students and teachers to get to know each other better, as well as to engage in clubs or service opportunities.
The annual Mini-Mester program offers another occasion for Middle School boys to steer their education. Each year in the days leading up to spring break, students choose a field of study — from space exploration and crime scene investigation to guitar playing and sustainable living — and delve into it with on- and off-campus expeditions that encourage them to learn and build community with teachers and boys from other grades.
Once students reach the Upper School, they enjoy the benefits of the school’s nearly 40 honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. All juniors take two semesters of Landon’s signature interdisciplinary Humanities class, a study of major ideas and influences that have shaped European culture from the Classical[disambiguation needed] to modern era through analysis of history, literature, art and music.
Students also reap the benefits of outside-the-box learning. Every student’s time at Landon is capped off with an Independent Senior Project. For the past 20+ years, the required program has given seniors the opportunity to conceive of and execute a unique project with the guidance of two faculty advisors. Some seniors climb mountains in Alaska to reap survival skills. Others build Habitat for Humanity homes to learn the value of service to others. Still others gain business acumen by opening up an on-campus coffee shop or hone their engineering talents by constructing (and racing) a speedy electric car.
To equip students with the technological literacy they need to succeed in an ever-changing digital landscape — and to assist faculty with the implementation of technology in the classroom — the school employs a dedicated academic technologist in each of the three divisions. Students learn how to use vital educational computer programs, including PowerPoint, Word and Excel; become more critical readers using the Kurzweil 3000 program; and keep track of tests and homework assignments through the school’s online portal.
All Landon students must participate in the arts (specific requirements vary by division), and the school offers 25 courses in music, theatrical arts and studio arts. Landon’s program is among the strongest and most highly regarded in the region, thanks to teachers and instructors who still practice their own craft. For example, the 30 members of adjunct music faculty, some of whom have played with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, perform at marquee venues such as Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center. And the theatrical arts program director is a working actor who recently appeared on the acclaimed Netflix series House of Cards.
The school's musical groups — including a jazz band, concert band, string ensemble, handbells, and various choirs — routinely travel to regional and national competitions, where they have often achieved superior gold ratings (the highest possible).
Landon’s studio art classes include ceramics, digital art, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and architecture. Each division has at least one dedicated art studio, and artists frequently display their works in the school hallways, as well as in the on-campus Landow Art Gallery. In recent years, Landon’s painters have won awards at the annual Best of the Independent Schools Art Competition (hosted at Landow Gallery), the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Congressional Art Competition.
Landon’s theatrical arts program features classes that teach boys acting techniques and introduce them to elements of stage, set construction and costume design. Students also act in, design the sets for, and act as backstage technicians for a series of plays each year. The Lower School stages a play in the spring, and Middle and Upper School boys have the opportunity to participate in two plays each year in conjunction with girls from sister school Holton-Arms.
Every boy at Landon is required to participate in daily sports — varsity, club or intramural — to stay physically fit and learn about the value of healthy living and teamwork. Students are guided in their athletic endeavors by the same men and women who educate them in the classroom and advise them outside of it, their teacher-coach-mentors: educators who connect with the boys on multiple levels — academic, athletic, artistic and personal — so they know where students shine and where they can improve.
The school offers 26 athletics options, including varsity interscholastic sports such as soccer, water polo, football, cross country, ice hockey, wrestling, basketball, baseball, track, tennis, golf, rugby and lacrosse. Landon also offers interscholastic club sports such as riflery, sailing, fencing, squash and ultimate Frisbee, as well as intramural sports and strength and conditioning, a class that teaches boys the value of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Landon’s varsity teams have won 183 total Interstate Athletic Conference (I.A.C.) championships, including 47 I.A.C. tennis championships and 29 I.A.C. lacrosse championships. In addition, Landon’s varsity lacrosse team, coached by Robinson Bordley, won national championships in 1999, 2001 and 2002.
Many Landon graduates — including 23 members of the Class of 2014 alone — have gone on to play National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I or Division III sports.
The educators at Landon believe that character education is the most important teaching they do. The goal is to inspire the boys to think and live ethically, instilling in them the values of respect and honesty that guide all of their actions and relationships with others. In 2008, Landon adopted a Code of Character, which brings together the principles of respect and honesty that are central to the school’s Civility and Honor Codes.
As part of the Ethics program, 13 seniors are selected as “Prefects” (student leaders) by their peers and faculty members. Prefects are expected to model ethical behavior across all divisions by establishing relationships with assigned homerooms and advisories in the Lower and Middle Schools, proctoring the Upper School library and media center, and leading form meetings.
In addition, Landon’s George Boiardi ’00 Memorial Forum for Ethical Reflection series, named in memory of an outstanding Landon alumnus, brings special guest speakers to campus to share their vision with students, faculty and parents.
Faculty: The Teacher-Coach-Mentor Model
Landon has a unique approach to teaching: the teacher-coach-mentor model. The 125+ members of the school’s diverse, dynamic and highly educated faculty are also coaches, advisors and leaders. They serve as role models and find teachable moments everywhere: in the classroom, performance hall, art studio, gym, fields and the community beyond campus.
For example, History Department Chair Bill Reed is also the head coach of the varsity soccer and baseball teams, as well as an Upper School advisor. Math Department Chair Adam Atwell, who employs an innovative “problem-solving” curriculum in some of his algebra courses, has coached the varsity tennis squad to three consecutive Interstate Athletic Conference (I.A.C.) titles, and earned All-Gazette Coach of the Year honors in 2014 for his efforts.
With a student/faculty ratio of 6:1, teachers provide individual attention and tailored approaches to maximize learning for each student. Small class sizes facilitate lively discussions as teachers utilize best practices to deliver the curriculum in innovative, engaging ways.
Campus & Facilities
Nestled in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital, Landon’s beautiful 75-acre campus resembles that of a small college — in both its sprawling physical appearance and its energetic vibe. Each day, campus bustles with students going to class in dedicated Lower, Middle and Upper School buildings; heading to lunch in the dining hall located in the newly refurbished performing arts center; painting in Pielage Amphitheater or the blossoming Perkins Garden; and enjoying recess or participating in sports on one of the well-groomed fields or in the recently renovated athletics center.
The Barton Alumni Athletic Center — the home of Landon’s basketball and wrestling programs, as well as physical education and strength-and-conditioning classes — includes two gymnasiums (one of which has been completely redone), a wrestling room, a newly updated team room, a fitness room with top-of-the line weight and cardio equipment, revamped locker rooms, and an expansive atrium that is often used for events.
Landon’s lacrosse and football teams square off against rivals on the turf of Triplett Field, while four other grass fields provide the setting for varsity soccer and rugby matches, as well as junior varsity, Middle School, Lower School and intramural sports.
- Tully Alford - cult figure, inspiration for character of same name in The Addams Family (film)
- Joseph Bailey - Former CEO, Miami Dolphins
- George Boiardi - Lacrosse player and co-captain for Cornell University who died during a game on March 17, 2004 after being hit in the chest with a lacrosse ball. He was also the great grandson of food icon Ettore Boiardi, founder of Chef Boyardee.
- Alan Brinkley - Historian and Columbia University provost
- Ryan Curtis - NCAA Lacrosse All-American, member of USA Lacrosse national team, head coach of Vermont lacrosse
- Donald Dell - Former Davis Cup player and coach, and subsequently, a prominent sports agent
- Bill Eacho - former US Ambassador to Austria (2009-2012)
- Ahmet Ertegun - Pioneer of R&B and Rock and Roll music and founder of Atlantic Records; pioneer of soccer in America and founder of America's first professional soccer team, the New York Cosmos; founder of and 1987 inductee into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; 2003 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Landon's first student not to play football.
- Eugene Gokhvat - Forbes 30 under 30
- John F. "Jeff" Fort III - Former CEO and interim CEO of Tyco
- Fred Hetzel - Southern Conference Hall-of-Famer, former #1 NBA draft pick, played six seasons in NBA
- Rush Holt - Physicist and Congressman (D-NJ)
- Greg Jaffe - 1999 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting
- Ken Jenkins - NFL running back from 1983 to 1986 with Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins; finished third in league in combined return yards in 1985
- Rufus G. King - Chief Judge, DC Superior Court, 2000-2008
- Knight Kiplinger - Editor-in-Chief of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine
- Anthony Marra - fiction writer
- Gregory S. Martin - Retired U.S. Air Force four-star general, Defense Distinguished Service Medal recipient, former Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe
- Nick Martin - Founder and CEO of TechChange and frequent speaker at the United Nations and the United States Department of State on issues related to technology and global development. 
- James McEwan - World class whitewater canoeing specialist, bronze medalist at 1972 Summer Olympics
- Fred McNair - Former #1 ranked Professional Tennis Doubles player
- Sam Potolicchio - educator, one of Princeton Review's "America's Best Professors"
- Maury Povich- Host of Maury, a syndicated talk show
- Rich Roll - Ultraman Triathlete
- Tom Scott - Co-Founder of Nantucket Nectars
- Teddy Sears - Actor, played Richard Woolsley on the television series Raising the Bar
- John Shiffman - 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist in National Reporting
- Topper Shutt - Chief Meteorologist, WUSA-TV
- Thomas Tamm - US Justice Department Attorney, Illegal Wiretapping Whistleblower
- Matt Ward - Tewaaraton Trophy winner and NCAA Lacrosse All-American, played for the Washington Bayhawks, currently an ESPN Lacrosse analyst.
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