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Be Our Guest – Visit Our Open House Tours

Interested in applying to Capital City for the 2017-2018 school year? Come see our award-winning program in action!

At an Open House for interested families of students from PreK - 11th grades, you will learn about Capital City’s instructional approach --EL Education--, meet school leaders, and tour our facilities and classrooms.

Each Open House starts promptly at 9:00am. Open Houses include campus tours led by student ambassadors and staff, an information session with the school’s principal, and plenty of time for your questions.

Upcoming Open House Dates:
Jan 12 (Lower, Middle and High School)
Feb 9 (PreK - 8th grades only)

For questions or to attend a tour, please contact Parent Outreach and Admissions Coordinator Lisvette Garcia at or 202-808-9719.

Check our Admissions Frequently Asked Questions page here to learn more!

Chirps and Tweets Inspire a Love of Birds

The kindergartners are now fledgling bird enthusiasts thanks to their fall expedition “Birds of DC.” Through this expedition, kindergarteners visited Rock Creek Park and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to introduce them to various bird species, their habitats, and the work of ornithologists (bird watchers). The student's fieldwork refined their birding abilities as they learned to focus their eyes and ears to identify the songs of local birds such as cardinals, robins, and blue jays.

Next, students put their creativity and newfound expertise to the test by building their own 3D bird models. Their imaginations were allowed to run free as they invented their own bird models that maintained the physical characteristics of a bird’s habits and habitat.

Students shared their learning during their Showcase of Learning on December 15th. Some were even bold enough to brave a cold, cold day to help our avian friends. They delivered bird-seed packages and information on how to support local birds during the frigid months right to the doorsteps of some pleasantly surprised Capital City neighbors!

Is wasn’t always like that!

What was school like in Colonial times? The 1950s? Did writing lines on a chalkboard really help a “naughty student” behave? Capital City first graders asked these questions, and many more, as they traveled back in time, glimpsing into classrooms far different from their own.

Through their fall “This is the Way We Go to School” Expedition, students gained skills in understanding abstract concepts by learning about the “institution” of schooling and how it has changed over time. To grasp this concept, they engaged in learning activities that focused on three different eras: our present day, the civil rights era, and colonial times.

The expedition began with thinking about a typical school day. Students analyzed their daily routines and the look of their classrooms. They also drew self-portraits to get a better sense of the makeup of their class, all of which built the background knowledge for comparing the other two eras.

To begin their case studies, teachers transformed their classrooms to mimic schools in the Colonial era. Teachers recreated colonial classroom activities to give students a real taste of the foods and the punitive teaching style of that time. Tough questions were addressed as well, such as, “Were girls allowed to attend school?" As part of their “travel” to Colonial-era schools, students wrote repeatedly, “I will behave” on a chalkboard, a typical punishment for children during that time. The study was not all bad as the students learned about colonial clothing, played colonial-era games and then compared their idea of fun to that of colonial times.

The last part of their work focused on the Civil Right era and fostered conversations about diversity in education. While learning about desegregation through the experiences of Ruby Bridges and Sylvia Mendez, they came to realize that the diversity in their classroom was not always a given. First Grade Teacher Megan Sullivan was impressed with how her students handled these conversations. “When it came to the Civil Rights era, their level of maturity when talking about this subject was astounding. There was a real sense of justice and fairness in this classroom."

hollyhock-fellows2 In the end, when asked to reflect on which era they liked the best, most students agreed on the present. As a final group activity, they buried a time capsule with some of their favorite things from the expedition (like marbles, chalk and a chalkboard, handmade bonnets and Colonial hats). Next year, first graders will excavate it to welcome them to this exciting expedition.

Teaching Creative Confidence – Students Artwork in National Exhibit

We knew our students were talented, and now so does the Smithsonian! The sculptures of five Capital City High School students are currently on display at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. Their work is part of a presentation of local students’ art that accompanies the exhibit “The Backyard of Derek Webster’s Imagination.” Webster, a self-taught folk artist who was born in Honduras and lived in Chicago, is known for playful sculptures from discarded materials. Following his lead - and a call for submissions - students responded to his work by creating their own folk art from everyday objects. Their work will be on display until April 23, 2017. Read more about the exhibition on Capital Wire PR.

A simple paper plate served as the canvas or starting point for each student’s work. From there, they created personal pieces that related either to a memory from early childhood or an lifechanging event. Under the guidance of High School Visual Arts teacher Jose Cuevas, students developed what he calls, creative confidence. “Creative confidence,” Cuevas explains, “is the ability to act on an idea, carry it out to completion, and feel ownership over the finished work.”

Through the arts at Capital City, students develop the 21st Century Learning Skills -- critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Together, these skills support student learning in all areas of the curriculum. A strong arts program contributes to our school culture where students love to learn. They also learn to express themselves and to listen to each other. “Something magical happens when students explain their work, listen, give feedback, and become vulnerable in front of each other,” says Cuevas. “This kind of sharing creates a camaraderie where students learn to respect and honor other experiences and identities.”

That is why Capital City has been deeply committed to the arts since its inception in 2000. All students receive instruction in the art in grades PreK-12. While we are honored that our students’ work is on display at the Smithsonian, we also want our students artwork to be celebrated in our school. Luckily, Capital City completed a $4.2 million theatre renovation in late December 2016 that includes an arts gallery.

The new state of-the-art performing and teaching arts theatre will officially open to the public on February 3, 2017 at the school’s grand opening event (RSVP required). Students work will be consistently on display both on the stage and in our arts gallery.

For more information about our theatre grand opening event, please contact

Chadda and Welsh2

Ever wonder what Capital City teachers do over the summer?

Our educators spend their breaks engaging in various professional development opportunities to grow their teaching practice. Ultimately, this will help them better serve our students. Many of our teachers traveled around the country - and overseas(!) - to learn new skills to bring back to their classrooms.
 High School Chemistry Teacher, Liane McGillen, for example, went all the way to the Dominican Republic to learn how the organization Wine to Water provides clean water for local communities. During her stay, Liane helped build 33 ceramic pots that can be used to filter water. She also helped deliver these filters to local families. She plans to integrate her experience into the Chemistry/World History II Expedition, Water=Life: In Search of Solutions.  

Math Team2 (1)A team of Middle School math teachers (Chris Kenny, Taise Carson, Jessica Harrington, and Ariel Kramer) attended the International Congress on Math Education (ICME) in Hamburg, Germany thanks to a Fund for Teachers grant. The experience will help them prepare for the expansion of the Middle School’s Mathletes curriculum. The conference showed them how educators from other countries push their students’ thinking. Reflecting on the conference, the math team agrees that “through this experience, we can now provide a stronger and more realistic learning experience that helps our students to use and enjoy math more.”

Another team of teachers, Amrita Wassan, Laura Moye, Monet Cooper, and Leslie Welsh, this time from the High School, traveled to California to participate in a weeklong program at Stanford University’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching as Hollyhock Fellows. The competitive two-year Hollyhock program provides mentorship to highly motivated teachers with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all students receive the excellent instruction they deserve.

While at Stanford, the over 100 participating educators from all across the country were charged with creating an equity inquiry project. Capital City’s Hollyhock Fellows decided to focus on developing strategies for facilitating classroom discussions that will help different student subgroups reach higher levels of critical thinking. The project made them also reflect on how their own identities outside of the classroom influence their perceptions of students and their families, the curriculum they create, and the education system itself.  

“Ohollyhock-fellows2ne thing I was concerned about was how the Hollyhock Fellowship was going to make space and discuss the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, which had occurred only a week prior to the fellowship's convening,” says Ms. Cooper, who found herself among a group of teachers eager to explore the meaning of those events for themselves and their work. “When I arrived I met other folks who were interested in beginning conversation, which turned into a series of three anti-oppression trainings we led around racism and education. Hollyhock is building this into its program budget this coming year for next year's new fellows and the returning cohort.” 

Two other High School teachers, Binni Chadda and Leslie Welsh, participated in a North Carolina Outward Bound School wilderness expedition. “It was certainly one of the more challenging things we have done - hiking with very heavy packs on, sleeping under tarps in the rain, leaping off high platforms during the ropes course - but at the same time, it was so fun,” says Ms. Welsh. “We created incredible connections with other educators, learned a ton of new initiatives and activities for the classroom and how to incorporate those into our curriculums, and discovered how to reinforce and authentically teach Capital City's community values.” 

Chadda and Welsh2Ms. Chadda, adds that she learned an important lesson from sharing her woes about the challenges of camping in bad weather with the group. “I called it ‘sharing my struggles,’ instead of complaining,” says Ms. Chadda, “because complaining sounds so negative. Often the struggle that I was having was the same that other crew members were experiencing. And that's the same with students and content in different subject areas. Students are often afraid to ask questions or to seek clarification because they don't want to look stupid, but once they speak up, they realize they helped other students to learn by being brave and asking questions.”

Our students will surely benefit from the new insights and tools that our teachers brought back to the classroom this school year from those summer learning experiences.