Washington International School

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For the school in Pakistan, see Washington International School, Karachi.
Washington International School aka WIS
Washington, DC, USA
Type Independent
Established 1966
Head of school Clayton Lewis
Faculty 90 full-time, 14 part-time
Enrollment 920 day
Student to teacher ratio 8.2:1
Campus Primary School
1690 36th Street NW
Washington DC 20007

3100 Macomb Street NW
Washington DC 20008


Washington International School (also known as Washington International or simply WIS) is a coeducational international school for day students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12. The school is located in northwest Washington, DC.

Established in 1966, WIS was the first school in the Washington area to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.[1]

The school has two campuses: the primary school (grades PK-5) in Georgetown, and the upper school (grades 6-12) in Cleveland Park. The upper school’s campus is located on the grounds of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Tregaron (estate).

The Washington International School's high school was ranked as the 38th most challenging high school in the country and the 2nd most challenging high school in the Washington, DC area by the Washington Post's "Ranking America's most challenging high schools" article in 2013.[2][3]


Washington International School was founded in 1966 by Dorothy Goodman to meet the educational needs of Washington’s international community and American families seeking a rigorous international education.

In the post-World War II years, international schools were established throughout the world to serve the growing number of families, mostly from developed countries, posted abroad by governments and commercial firms.[citation needed] These schools usually were founded by a community of families of a particular nationality and followed the educational system and curriculum of their country. They were international primarily in the sense that they accepted children of other nationalities.

When Goodman founded WIS with three pre-school students in the basement of a Washington, DC house, she had a clear vision for the school. Informed by scientific research on the capacity of the human brain to acquire multiple languages, especially in the early years, and marketing research that focused on the educational needs of international families in Washington, she imagined a school in which children could become functionally multilingual and at the same time well informed about world history, geography, literature, and cultures.

From the beginning, WIS has offered a range of subjects for study within a common curriculum. The school aims for high academic standards and enables students to master at least two major modern languages. The program equips students to enter university in their own country or any country of their choice.

The school’s founding was followed shortly by the incorporation of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), which itself grew from International School efforts to establish a common curriculum and university entry credential for geographically mobile students. WIS was among the first 60 schools to adopt the IB Diploma curriculum.[citation needed]

In 1969, with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation, WIS purchased the Wendell Phillips School building on Olive Street in Georgetown. The Olive Street campus served the school for 29 years, first as a space for the whole of the school, and, in subsequent years, as its Lower School site. In 1998, the lower grades moved into a newly built facility at Reservoir Road and 36th Street NW. For the first time, this location enabled Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 to be in the same Primary School Campus. The Tregaron Campus, acquired with assistance of the Ford Foundation in 1980, is the site of the Middle School (Grades 6 through 8) and the Upper School (Grades 9 through 12).


The Washington International School has a strong athletic program and has excelled in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC) for many years. WIS competes in a variety of sports such as Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Swimming (club), Softball, Baseball, Track and Field, as well as Cross Country running.

Due to the strong international background of the students, WIS usually has a strong soccer program and has won the PVAC league banner and tournament trophy many times. In 2009, WIS won the regular season banner and beat the Field School in the tournament final. In 2010, WIS was able to derail Sandy Spring Friends School's unbeaten run in the finals of the PVAC tournament in a 2-0 win.[5] However, the next year they lost to Sandy Spring in the final 3-1, as Sandy Spring swept both the regular season and playoff banners. In 2012, WIS returned the favor by also winning both banners, while defeating Sandy Spring 1-0 in the final for their third playoff banner in four years.[6] In 2013, Washington International finished second place in the regular season but rebounded to defeat Sandy Spring 3-0 in the final for their fourth tournament title in five years.

Furthermore, the Girls Soccer team won the PVAC double four years in a row before losing in the semi-finals in 2013.

In 2008, the WIS boys basketball team upset Jewish Day School to win the PVAC basketball championship. In 2013, the WIS varsity girls basketball team beat Hebrew Academy to win the PVAS basketball championship.

Their boys soccer successes in the PVAC are:

  • 1998-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Champion
  • 2001-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Champion
  • 2002-PVAC Tournament Runner-Up
  • 2003-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Champion
  • 2004-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Runner-Up
  • 2007-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Runner-Up
  • 2008-PVAC Tournament Runner-Up
  • 2009-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Champion
  • 2010-PVAC Tournament Champion
  • 2011-PVAC Tournament Runner-Up
  • 2012-PVAC Regular Season Champion and Tournament Champion
  • 2013-PVAC Tournament Champion
  • PVAC Regular Season Championships-1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012
  • PVAC Tournament Championships-1998, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
  • PVAC Tournament Runner-Up-2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011


For nearly a decade Washington International School has enjoyed an affiliation with KIS International School in Thailand.[citation needed] Sharing a vision and philosophy, and with identical mission statements, WIS and KIS maintain an active and mutually rewarding relationship with frequent visits and consultations.

In addition, WIS is affiliated with the National Association of Independent Schools, the Council of International Schools, and the European Council of International Schools.


College Destinations[edit]

The institutions written in bold have been destinations for at least one student of the Class of 2013; the numbers written in the parentheses depict the number of WIS graduates (Class of 2010 through Class of 2013) matriculated at a given school.[1] Due to the international diversity of the student body, the university list includes destinations both in and out of the United States.

  • University of Michigan (10)
  • University of Virginia (10)
  • University of California at Berkeley (7)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (7)
  • Boston University (5)
  • Columbia University (5)
  • Johns Hopkins University (4)
  • New York University (4)
  • Princeton University (4)
  • Tufts University (4)
  • University of California at San Diego (4)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (4)
  • University of Pennsylvania (4)
  • Vassar College (4)
  • American University (3)
  • College of William and Mary (3)
  • Drexel University (3)
  • Haverford College (3)
  • Northwestern University (3)
  • Stanford University (3)
  • Swarthmore College (3)
  • University of Chicago (3)
  • University of Southern California (3)
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison (3)
  • Yale University (3)
  • Boston College (2)
  • Carleton College (2)
  • Franklin and Marshall College (2)
  • Georgetown University (2)
  • James Madison University (2)
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park (2)
  • Pratt Institute (2)
  • Smith College (2)
  • St. Mary's College of Maryland (2)
  • University of California at Los Angeles (2)
  • Barry University (1)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (1)
  • Champlain College (1)
  • Cornell University (1)
  • Dickinson College (1)
  • Duke University (1)
  • Elon University (1)
  • Fordham University (1)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (1)
  • Grinnell College (1)
  • Harvard College (1)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1)
  • Morgan State University (1)
  • Muhlenberg College (1)
  • Northeastern University (1)
  • Oberlin College (1)
  • Occidental College (1)
  • Parsons The New School for Design (1)
  • Reed College (1)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (1)
  • Santa Clara University (1)
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts (1)
  • Shepherd University (1)
  • Skidmore College (1)
  • Syracuse University (1)
  • The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art (1)
  • The George Washington University (1)
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1)
  • Towson University (1)
  • University of California at Davis (1)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (1)
  • University of Delaware (1)
  • University of Washington (1)
  • Wake Forest University (1)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (1)
  • Wesleyan University (1)
  • Western Carolina University (1)
  • University of St. Andrews (8)
  • University of Sussex (3)
  • University College London (2)
  • University of Bath (2)
  • University of Cambridge (2)
  • University of Edinburgh (2)
  • University of Manchester (2)
  • University of Oxford (2)
  • Durham University (1)
  • Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine (1)
  • Loughborough University (1)
  • Peninsula Medical School (1)
  • Queen Mary, University of London (1)
  • University of Reading (1)
  • University of Sheffield (1)
  • Amsterdam University College (Netherlands, 1)
  • Universiteit Maastricht (Netherlands, 1)
  • University College Utrecht (Netherlands, 1)
  • University of Groningen (Netherlands, 1)
  • RWTH Aachen University (Germany, 1)
  • University of Frankfurt (Germany, 1)
  • Gent University (Belgium, 1)
  • Ecole nationale d’Architecture de Paris-Val de Seine (France, 1)
  • Universidade Nove de Lisboa (Portugal, 1)
  • McGill University (18)
  • Queen's University (1)
  • University of Toronto (6)
  • University of British Columbia (5)
  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design (1)
  • University of Melbourne (1)
  • Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (1)

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • Karti Subramanian '03: Co-founder of Vera Solutions, included on the Forbes 2012 list of 30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs


  • The mental hospital scene in the Pelican Brief was filmed in the mansion of the Tregaron Campus.
  • Several scenes in Advise and Consent were also filmed in the mansion of the Tregaron Campus.


  1. ^ a b "Colleges Attended". Washington International School. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ranking America's Most Challenging High Schools" The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Washington International School" The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  4. ^ "History" Washington International School. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  5. ^ "WIS derails Sandy Spring unbeaten run in the PVAC final" from the Washington Post [1]
  6. ^ "Washington International boys’, girls’ win Potomac Valley Athletic Conference soccer titles" from the Washington Post [2]
  7. ^ 'About WIS' page on the Washington International School website http://www.wis.edu/about-wis

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°56′02″N 77°03′42″W / 38.9338°N 77.0617°W / 38.9338; -77.0617