Norwood School’s mission is to ensure that each of its students grows intellectually, morally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually, while preparing to function productively and generously in our pluralistic society. Norwood’s challenging educational program and broad-based activities are designed to help students experience joy in learning, develop self-confidence, and learn respect for the rights and feelings of others. Embracing diversity is integral to the School’s tradition that both recognizes the worth of each member of the community and emphasizes the common values of academic achievement, mutual respect, cooperation, and personal responsibility.
Six pillars of schooling characterize Norwood’s educational philosophy:
- First and foremost, we believe that school should be, in the words of our Founder, Frances Marsh, “a happy place of learning for children… filled with art and music… where each child feels supported and valued.” Norwood is a happy place; it also is a demanding place. We challenge students and expect them to challenge themselves, but we do so in an environment that is nurturing, supportive, and reflective of our belief that learning at its best is a joyful process.
- Second, our school has a proud tradition of great teaching. We remain committed to attracting and retaining an exceptional faculty and staff to carry out the mission of the School.
- Third, we believe that education is fundamentally a moral endeavor and that a school should stand for and teach a set of core values: the pursuit of knowledge, integrity, respect, responsibility, diligence, kindness, cooperation, and service. We conduct daily chapel to attend to the spiritual and ethical development of all of our students. We look to our faculty and staff to incorporate character education and service to the community in their work with students.
- Fourth, we are committed to being a diverse and inclusive school. We respect and protect the dignity and worth of all members of our community without regard to race, color or national origin, religion or creed, gender, sexual orientation, family composition, economic status, age, learning styles or physical ability. This commitment extends across all areas of school life and work. We believe that education is broadened and strengthened by the inclusion of people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
- Fifth, Norwood has been and continues to be a family school. Giving admissions preference to siblings is an important reflection of our commitment to serving families. We look for and rely upon parents to make investments of time, energy, talent, and voluntary financial support in the schooling of their children.
- Finally, Norwood has been a dynamic institution that has embraced change and innovation even as it has held fast to its guiding vision and traditions. We began in the fall of 1952 as a parish primary school with forty students and four teachers connected to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bethesda. While under the direction of Frances Marsh, in the 1970’s we separated from the Church, moved to our current location, and expanded to become a K-6 elementary school. In the 1990’s under the leadership of Head of School Dick Ewing we expanded again to become a K-8 school. Through evolution and growth we continue to promote educational innovation as well as excellence.