High School Placement

An important advantage of attending a K-8 school is having the opportunity to make the very best high school choice. The K-8 program at Norwood is uniquely designed to prepare young adolescents for this next step in their educational journey. Children change dramatically in the elementary and middle school years. A high school that seemed ideal when a child was five or six may be entirely inappropriate in light of a student’s interests and abilities at age 13 or 14. In keeping with the School’s mission, our ultimate goal is for each student to attend a high school that ensures continued social, emotional, and academic growth.

Norwood maintains strong ties with all of the independent secondary schools in the greater Washington, D.C. area, as well as a number of boarding schools throughout the country. High school admission officers and administrators remark year after year how much they love Norwood students, not only because they are well prepared academically but also because they are good school citizens who enthusiastically dive into the culture and community of their new schools.

Throughout the search process, Norwood works in partnership with families, guiding them through a sequence of steps designed to find the right school and right fit for every eighth grader. Specifically, the School’s High School Placement Team:
  • Consults with families beginning in the spring of seventh grade to identify a list of schools that target a student’s individual strengths and interests. 
  • Provides mock interview practice and feedback. 
  • Holds SSAT prep class during study halls, beginning in October. 
  • Hosts the annual Secondary School Fair, which features visits from more than 100 day and boarding schools. 
  • Prepares a comprehensive admissions packet of information for every eighth grade student. 
  • Visits with admission officers to personally present each Norwood candidate. 
  • Provides ongoing one-on-one consultation and guidance for families. 
  • Advises families about course selection and placement for both independent and public schools 
  • Facilitates discussions with eighth graders concerning the HSP process, supporting each other during this exciting time of change and decision making.
Norwood School has an excellent record for high school placement. Every year, our students move on to leading independent day schools, boarding schools, and highly rated public high schools with the academic ability, confidence, and enthusiasm for learning to be successful in high school, and for the college and career experiences that follow.

If you have any questions about the high school placement process at Norwood, please contact Michele Claeys, Associate Head of School and Head of Middle School Head, or call 301-841-2101.

High School Placement Team

List of 5 members.

  • Matthew Gould 

    Head of School
    Earlham College - B.A.
    The University of Chicago - Ph.D.
  • Michele Claeys 

    Associate Head of School and Head of Middle School
    University of Michigan - B.A.
    Bank Street College of Education - M.S.
  • Cathy Russo 

    Middle School Coordinator and High School Placement Coordinator
    University of Maryland - B.A.
  • Lynda Saelens 

    Director of Student Support Services and Middle School Learning Specialist
    Knox College - B.A.
    Marycrest College - M.Ed.
  • Travis Wooden 

    Dean of Students
    University of Tennessee - B.A.

Students from the Class of 2016 were accepted at the following high schools:

Bullis School
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Charles H. Flowers High School – Science and Technology Program
Connelly School of the Holy Child
Ensworth School (Nashville, TN)
Episcopal High School
Field School
Georgetown Day School
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Holton-Arms School
Landon School
Madeira School
Maret School
McLean School
Montgomery Blair High School – IB Program
National Cathedral School
Northwest High School - Ulysses Signature Program
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
Peddie School
Potomac School
Sandy Spring Friends School
Sidwell Friends School
St. Albans School
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
St. John's College High School
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
University School of Nashville (TN)
Walt Whitman High School
Washington & Lee High School – IB Program

– Sarah ‘14

From an early age, Norwood teaches you that how you lead your life matters. The teachers at Norwood shaped me into a more mature student with the foundation necessary to go on and create my own path in high school and beyond.”
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.