Norwood School is a coeducational independent day school with approximately 440 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school sits on 38 beautiful and expansive acres in Bethesda, Maryland, less than six miles from Washington, D.C. As one of the finest K-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 & Head of Middle School
Michele Claeys

Assistant Head of School & Director of Admission and Enrollment Management
Mimi Mulligan

Head of Lower School
Karen O’Neill

Founded: 1952
Enrollment: 434
Families: 309
Campus: 38 acres
Operating Expenses: $14,200,000
Financial Aid Budget: $1,863,491
Annual Fund: $650,000
Religious Affiliation: None

Norwood Faculty

Numbers 104 Faculty and Staff
68 Faculty
36 Staff
Advanced Degrees 62%  of Faculty   
Average Faculty Teaching Experience
Average Faculty Tenure at Norwood

19 years
10 years
Total Faculty/Staff of Color 24%

Norwood Students

51% boys; 49% girls
Students of Color: 36%
Geography: 49 unique zip codes in DC, MD, VA

Students Receiving Financial Aid: 21%

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, SSAT, the Latino Student Fund, and the Parents Council of Washington.
  • After School Programs

    Norwood offers three After School Programs: Extended Day, After Care, and Enrichment. Extended Day runs Monday-Thursday, 2:35-3:35 p.m. for grades K-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 K-8, divided into two groups: grades K-3 and grades 4-8. Enrichment classes are offered by Norwood faculty and outside instructors. Offerings have varied from cooking class to Tae Kwon Do to robotics to dance.

    After School Programs
  • 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, kindergarten through second grade dismiss at 2:35 pm, third through eighth grades 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. Clothing should be neat and clean. Jeans, open-toed shoes, and non-Norwood t-shirts 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 for review and reinforcement; new skills are never introduced as homework, nor is homework ever used punitively. Homework assignments are designed to provide practice in and extensions of previously presented material and thus instill the confidence that independent work affords.
    There are four quarters during the school year, ending in November, January, April, and June. Parent- teacher conferences are scheduled at the end of the first and third quarters and are also optional for the end of the fourth quarter. Parents are mailed extensive narrative reports on student progress at the end of the second and fourth 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. In addition to the conferences held at the end of the first, third, and fourth quarters, other conferences are arranged as needed.
  • Snack and Lunch

    A healthy morning snack is provided on a daily basis to all students. Kindergarten through fourth graders bring lunch from home and eat in their homerooms. Middle school students are required to participate in our lunch program and eat a nutritious hot lunch and salad/sandwich bar offerings in the cafeteria.
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.