Why K-8 at Norwood?

Norwood School is very intentionally a kindergarten through eighth grade school. We firmly believe in the distinct advantages a K-8 school offers during the most critical years of a child’s intellectual, social, and emotional development. We provide a loving, nurturing, and supportive environment where children and young adolescents feel safe taking risks, exploring new activities, and challenging themselves to go further than they ever thought possible. At Norwood, we celebrate children and childhood, making it a wonderful place to grow up.
  • Norwood is a comfortable and secure "home base" during the most significant period of development in a child’s life.
  • Children remain children longer without the challenges and pressures of high school.
  • Middle school students are school leaders and serve as age-appropriate mentors for younger students.
  • Parent participation in school activities is encouraged and remains strong all the way through, building a warm and loving community focused on supporting each and every child.
  • As they figure out who they are and where they’re headed, children feel safe trying new activities and are able to take risks in a nurturing and supportive child-centered environment.
  • 100% of resources serve students during all-important elementary and middle school years.
  • Confidence builds throughout the K-8 journey at Norwood, preparing students for the challenges of high school and beyond.
  • Students and their parents can make better informed decisions about the right match for high school.
  • Norwood has an outstanding high school placement record with graduates attending a wide variety of schools.

The Norwood K-8 Experience

There are a number of distinctive characteristics and offerings that blend together to create an ideal environment for children in grades K-8 to develop into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.

List of 13 items.

  • An Intentionally Joyful Learning Community

    Since its founding more than 60 years ago by Frances Marsh, Norwood has been a “happy place of learning for children…filled with art and music…where each child feels supported and valued.” Great emphasis is placed on making learning a joyful student-centered process, where children are actively engaged in their education. Our goal is for a child to leave school every day excited to come back in the morning.
  • Challenge Without Frustration

    A Norwood education involves a rigorous pursuit of learning that is challenging for each and every student, but meets them where they are and provides numerous routes to success while nurturing a love for learning along the way. It has been said that Norwood teachers do a great job at masking the rigor of the curriculum. Norwood recognizes that children are multi-faceted and can shine in many different ways.
  • Child-Centered Learning

    Norwood sets the same high standards of achievement and provides different routes, environments, and pacing for each child to get there. Teachers see students as individual learners and customize instruction to each student’s needs and interests. Students have multiple opportunities to deepen their understanding of concepts through application and practice. Graduates move on to high school empowered to be full participants in the learning process, resulting in increased engagement, confidence, and success. See also: Head of School Matthew Gould Reflects on the Benefits of Child-Centered Learning and Whole-Child Education.
  • Every Student Is a Writer

    Norwood utilizes the highly acclaimed writing workshop method developed by Lucy Calkins as part of Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. This transformative approach to teaching writing exposes students to a variety of techniques and genres while fostering a love for writing. Writing is shared and celebrated in all grades, and skills are clearly defined and connected from grade to grade. See also: Reading & Language Arts.
  • How You Lead Your Life Matters

    Character education is fundamental to the K-8 educational model and has always been an essential component of the Norwood experience. 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. Character lessons are woven into academics, physical education and athletics, art, music, and, of course, service learning. Each day begins with a lesson about the value of the month, which is presented during morning chapel.“How you lead your life matters” is more than a school motto; they are the words we live by.

    Community service is an important component of character education at Norwood and demonstrates to students that how they lead their lives really does matter. Children in all grades take part in all-school projects as well as grade-level projects. In seventh grade, students rotate through five off-campus community service agencies, such as Martha’s Table, Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary, and a geriatric day care center. In eighth grade, students pick one project and devote all six of their community service days to that agency. In addition, seventh and eighth graders have the opportunity to participate in the Washington Quaker Workcamp weekends.
  • K-8 Lab Science

    We believe that science is best taught by “doing” science. Beginning in kindergarten, students participate in a lab-based science program targeted to students’ growth in both methodology and information. Students develop a strong foundation in scientific literacy and move on to high school science with confidence and the ability to question and analyze.
  • Music & Art Education

    Norwood has been committed to music and art education, exposure, and exploration since its founding in 1952. Researchers have demonstrated a strong relationship between individuals who participate in school arts experiences and higher academic success. We find that music and art help students think differently and builds skills that today’ students will need to successfully navigate the complex 21st century world.
  • Norwood Math

    The Common Core Standards are the most rigorous standards for mathematics ever proposed in the U.S. The level of critical thinking they demand is unprecedented in American education. Norwood utilizes a unique combination of the Common Core Math Standards, best practices from a number of math programs, and enrichment activities that are customized to help each student develop greater mastery of skills and a greater depth of understanding. There are also math clubs and competitive teams for those wishing to expand their math experience at Norwood.
  • Physical Education & Athletics

    Physical education is an important part of the K-8 curriculum with students taking P.E. four times a week in kindergarten through sixth grade. Beginning in Middle School, students are able to participate in interscholastic athletics or our signature outdoor education program, Summit, which takes students kayaking and rafting on the Potomac River, as well as climbing the cliffs at Carderock. Norwood has a no-cut policy: anyone who wants to be on a team is on a team. Students have access to a number of exceptional playing fields and three gymnasiums – a single gym and a double gym.
  • Room To Grow

    With a 38-acre campus and a program that allows children to spread their wings and try many new activities, Norwood provides its students with the room they need to grow in mind, body, and character during a time in life when they are figuring out their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and passions. Norwood teachers are focused on providing the best K-8 experience while setting each child on his or her unique path to success.
  • Safe, Supportive & Inclusive Community

    Providing a safe and supportive community for all children is the cornerstone of the Norwood experience. We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive school, one that respects and protects the dignity of and worth of all members of our community. We believe that education is broadened and strengthened by the inclusion of people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Our educational program is designed to celebrate cultural diversity and develop cultural competency as we prepare children to be global citizens.
  • Student Support Services

    Norwood recognizes the importance of basic study skills to success and enjoyment in all areas of learning. Study and organizational skills are taught in developmentally appropriate ways beginning in kindergarten. Norwood's Student Support Services department includes a counselor and learning specialist on staff in both divisions. In addition, our Life Skills program is focused on building positive self-image, learning to empathize with the situations of others, and developing good decision-making skills.
  • The Power of K-8

    Norwood’s challenging and well-rounded program is designed to maximize the growth and development of children during the critical elementary and middle school years. Childhood is slowed down and savored as students figure out strengths, weaknesses, talents, and interests in a supportive family-like community that encourages safe risk-taking. In addition, students benefit from a coordinated educational mission and program taught throughout the K-8 continuum. By eighth grade, students – along with their parents and teachers – understand their strengths, learning style, and interests, and are well equipped to make the right decision about the “best match” high school. See also: High School Placement.
Located in Bethesda MD, Norwood School develops students in grades K-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.