Norwood School is a coeducational independent day school with approximately 450 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The school sits on 40 sprawling acres in Bethesda, Maryland, less than six miles from Washington, D.C. As one of the finest PK-8 schools in the country, Norwood sets the bar high and is committed to educating the whole child–intellectually, socially, and ethically–in a student-centered, challenging, and nurturing environment.
Norwood was founded in 1952 by Frances Marsh, who was determined to create “a happy place of learning filled with art and music where each child feels supported and valued.” She wanted Norwood to be a school where when children left at the end of the day, they couldn’t wait to return in the morning. Today, more than six decades later, Norwood is still that kind of school. 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.
Norwood’s child-centered approach to education and its very intentional emphasis on being a happy place of learning create an environment where each individual child is loved, nurtured, challenged, and truly known. As a result, children flourish at Norwood. They love learning; they are creative and critical thinkers. They are confident in who they are, and they feel safe taking risks. They are kind and caring people, who, fueled by our motto, How you lead your life matters, make helping others a priority in their lives. At the end of their eighth-grade year, our graduates leave Norwood exceptionally well prepared for high school and empowered to make positive contributions to our world.

Norwood School

8821 River Road
Bethesda, MD 20817
Main: 301-365-2595
Admission: 301-841-2130
Fax: 301-841-4636

Head of School
Matthew A. Gould, Ph.D.

Associate Head of School and Head of Lower School
Mike Risen

Head of Middle School
Dennis Campbell, Ed.D.

Director of Admission and Enrollment Management
Alex Ragone

Founded: 1952
Enrollment: 450
Families: 335
Campus: 40 acres
Operating Expenses: $18,960,000
Financial Aid Budget: $2,827,700
Annual Giving: $850,000
Endowment: $19,500,000
Religious Affiliation: None

Norwood Faculty

Numbers 113 Faculty and Staff
73 Faculty
40 Staff
Advanced Degrees 72%  of Faculty   
Average Faculty Teaching Experience
Average Faculty Tenure at Norwood

19 years
10 years
Total Faculty/Staff of Color 29%

Norwood Students

53% boys; 47% girls
Students of Color and of Latinx/Hispanic/Spanish Origin: 41%

Geography: 51 unique zip codes in DC, MD, VA

Students Receiving Financial Aid: 24%

List of 6 items.

  • Accreditation

    Norwood School is accredited by the Association of Independent Maryland Schools. In addition, the School holds memberships in the National Association of Independent Schools, Independent Education, the Black Student Fund, the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, the Educational Records Bureau, Enrollment Management (formally SSAT), the Latino Student Fund, and the Parents Council of Washington.
  • After School Programs

    Norwood offers four After School Programs: Bridge Care, After Care, Enrichment, and Middle School Academies (MSA). Bridge Care runs Monday-Thursday, 2:35-3:35 p.m., for grades PK-2. After Care is available from 3:35-6:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 2:35-6:00 p.m. on Friday for grades PK-8, divided into several groups according to age. Enrichment classes are offered by Norwood faculty and outside instructors. Offerings have varied from cooking class to Tae Kwon Do to robotics to dance. MSA offers specialty courses on Fridays, seasonally, to students in grades 5-8.
  • Arrival and Dismissal

    Arrival time for students is 7:45 to 8:00 a.m. Students should be in their classrooms by 8:00 a.m. Regular dismissal time varies by grade and day. Monday through Thursday, grades PK-2 dismiss at 2:35 pm, grades 3-8 dismiss at 3:35 p.m. On Fridays, all grades dismiss at 2:35 p.m.
  • Dress Code

    Norwood School does not have a uniform. Instead, students are expected to wear clothing that is simple and age appropriate and comfortable for a variety of activities. Jeans, open-toed shoes, tank tops, and joggers are an example of items not allowed. The Norwood Handbook provides more detailed information on the dress code. 
  • Homework, Reports, and Conferences

    Homework at Norwood is assigned to introduce, review, and reinforce concepts, skills, and information. The type and amount of homework varies by subject and grade; all homework is designed to instill curiosity and confidence.
    There are four quarters during the school year, ending in November, January, April, and June. Report cards are available at the end of each quarter, with extensive narrative comments at the end of the second and fourth quarters. Parent-teacher conferences occur at the end of the first and third quarters.
    Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled to promote the welfare and growth of each student through communication, mutual trust, and cooperation between families and faculty and to increase parental understanding of the school’s program. Fifth through eighth graders are encouraged to attend the conferences with their parents and often lead them. Families and teachers may ask for additional conferences at any time of the year as desired.
  • Snack and Lunch

    A healthy morning snack is provided on a daily basis to all students. Pre-kindergarten through fourth graders bring lunch from home and eat in their homerooms, or may order a meal through Wholesome Food Services, a nationally recognized lunch provider that delivers nutritious and affordable lunches to our Lower School. Middle school students are required to participate in our lunch program, eating a nutritious hot lunch and salad/sandwich bar offerings in the Cohen Common Room.
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-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.