Washington-Lee High School
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|Washington-Lee High School|
|1301 North Stafford Street
Arlington, Virginia 22201
|School type||Public, high school|
|School district||Arlington Public Schools|
|Teaching staff||134.83 (FTE )|
|Student to teacher ratio||16.34|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gray|
|Athletics conference||National District Northern Region|
|Rivals||Wakefield High School, Yorktown High School|
Washington-Lee High School (W-L) is one of three traditional public high schools in the Arlington Public Schools district in Arlington, Virginia, covering grades 9-12. As of 2011, the school had over 2,000 students and 120 teachers. In 2010, W-L was listed at # 63 in Newsweek's listing of "America's Best High Schools," and # 3 in the state of Virginia.
From 2006-2009, Washington-Lee underwent a complete reconstruction, costing Arlington County nearly $100 million and making it one of the most expensive high school construction projects in the United States.
Construction on Washington-Lee began in 1924, with the school opening its doors in 1925 and graduating its first class in 1927. The architectural firm Upman & Adams designed the building in a simplified version of the Colonial Revival style. The school fronted on 13th St. N, which separated the school from its athletic field, eventually dedicated as Arlington County's War Memorial Stadium. In 1932, 41 classrooms, new offices, and another gym were added to the original building. A new wing and a large library with Palladian windows and two reading rooms were built in 1942 with WPA funds. The rifle range was also constructed in the shop area. In 1951, noted architect Rhees Burkett designed an addition that fronted on N. Quincy Street in the International Style. Along with the new Stratford Junior High School, it helped usher in a wave of contemporary commercial and school architecture that defined much of Arlington until the 1980s.
In 1975, the school board made the controversial decision to demolish the original sections of W-L and construct a new facility with an open space instructional environment. The new school opened in 1977, and a new auditorium was constructed a few years later. In 1984, with the introduction of a new "closed campus" policy for underclassmen, a cafeteria was constructed in the school's commons.
In 2009, the school underwent a complete reconstruction; none of the older buildings remain. The theater and nearby classrooms were demolished to allow for the construction of the new classroom building, which opened in January 2008. An axial orientation to War Memorial Stadium and the primary parking areas is the defining characteristic of the new school. A ten-lane regulation NCAA short course swimming pool (with optional 25 meter lanes), gym and other indoor athletic facilities, and an 800-seat auditorium opened to the public in July 2009. The demolition of the 1951 building and the construction of auxiliary athletic fields and additional landscaping was completed in December 2009.
The new four-story building frames the northern end of War Memorial Stadium, referencing the orientation of the original three story 1924 building. A stepped terrace leads to the field from the school's student commons and outdoor eating areas. The school's primary corridor on the ground floor is the focal point for the more public spaces, which include the performing arts center, student commons, alumni conference room, cyber cafe, and journalism suite. It spans the distance between the commons and a primary entrance with access to a multistory parking structure and bus lanes. A public entrance is located on N Stafford St, and a separate public entrance serves the pool.
The compact massing of the new building allowed for the construction of additional athletic fields on land previously occupied by the former school. The orientation of the new school within the surrounding open space and the abundant pedestrian connections across the site that connect neighborhoods adhere to Arlington County's urban design guidelines, which follow "smart growth" planning principles. The new building was certified LEED gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system, the second high school in Virginia to achieve that benchmark.
W-L has received national recognition for its academic programs. In 1985, W-L was named a National (Blue Ribbon) School of Excellence by the US Department of Education. The school has also received honors from the Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Department of Education. In 2007, Newsweek Magazine ranked Washington-Lee 33rd among the nation's top high schools.
Washington-Lee is the only school in Arlington that offers both the Advanced Placement Program as well as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. 450 of its students take advantage of these advanced courses or diploma programs.
The school offers fine arts courses and electives. Within the music department, electives include the marching and symphonic bands, madrigals, women's chorale, choir, orchestra, music theory, and guitar. In 2007, the music department received the Blue Ribbon Award, the highest award given by the Virginia Music Educators Association. The school was also a blue ribbon school for 2010-2011.
The demographic breakdown of the 2,203 students enrolled in 2013-2014 was:
- Male - 52.3%
- Female - 47.7%
- Native American/Alaskan - 0.4%
- Asian/Pacific islanders - 10.5%
- Black - 10.4%
- Hispanic - 30.6%
- White - 42.5%
- Multiracial - 5.6%
28.5% of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Washington-Lee High School is a fully accredited high school base on its performance on the Standards of Learning tests in Virginia. W-L's average SAT score in 2007 was a 1,095 (548 in Reading; 548 in Math).
As of 2011, Washington-Lee High School met or exceeded the Virginia average passing rate for the majority of SOL exam categories 
The school mascot is the "Generals." Most of the athletic teams, as well as many scholastic competitions, compete through the Virginia High School League.
List of Teams
- Warren Beatty, actor and Academy Award-winning director, 1955
- Brian Blados, 1980, nine-year NFL player, first-round draft choice and Pro Bowler for Cincinnati Bengals
- Steve Buckhantz, play-by-play voice of NBA's Washington Wizards
- Sandra Bullock, Academy Award-winning actress, 1982
- George Lee Butler, Commander in Chief, USSC, 1957
- Betty Jane Diener, 1958, Virginia Secretary of Commerce (1982–1986)
- Nancy Dussault, 1953, actress and Broadway singer and dancer, ABC's Good Morning America co-anchor
- Reggie Harrison, 1969, two-time Super Bowl champion w/ Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowls IX and X
- John T. "Til" Hazel, 1954, attorney, developer
- John Hummer, retired NBA player, entrepreneur
- Tony Johnson (rower), 1958. 1964 and 1968 (silver, coxless pair) Olympic Teams, rowing. Head Coach, Yale, and Georgetown University Crews
- Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award-winning actress, 1952
- Shelley Mann, Olympic gold medalist, swimming, 1950's
- George McQuinn, 12-year MLB first baseman, 1928
- Pat Priest, actress The Munsters, 1954
- Gail Renshaw, 1969 Miss USA World, 1965
- Robert Richardson, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, 1955
- Gena Rowlands, actress, Academy Award recipient, 1947
- Jake Scott, two-time Super Bowl champion w/ Miami Dolphins: Super Bowl VII and VIII, 1963
- Eric Sievers, 1976, 10-year NFL player, 1981–90
- Owsley Stanley, LSD cook and Grateful Dead sound engineer
- Carl Tanner, opera tenor, 1980
- Forrest Tucker, actor, 1938
- Stan Winston, film director, visual effects supervisor, 1964
- "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Washington Lee High". ed.gov. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- "High School Profile Page"[dead link] Newsweek. Retrieved 20211-06-06.
- Bahrampour, Tara. "Some Will Study In Lap of Luxury This School Year". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- "History". apsva.us. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Washington-Lee High School History". Archived from the original on October 1, 2011.
- "Arlington Public Schools News Release". Retrieved 2010-01-27.
Washington-Lee High School Receives LEED Gold Certification[dead link]
- "Blue Ribbon Schools Program".
List of Schools Recognized 1982-2002
- "The Top of the Class 2007". Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-22.[dead link]
- "Office of Counseling Services".[dead link]
- "International Baccalaureate Graduate Information". Retrieved 2010-01-27.
Number of Exams Taken[dead link]
- "Virginia Music Educators Association Blue Ribbon Award". Archived from the original on January 23, 2010.
- Washington-Lee High School Test Scores and Statistics[dead link]
- "Washington Lee High School". greatschools.org. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Barnes, Bart (2015-02-17). "Betty Jane Diener, blunt Virginia secretary of commerce in 1980s, dies". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-02-21.
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