The Field School



Winter Internship Approaches!

As Fall sports seasons wrap up, Winter Internship season ramps up! This past Monday, students met with their Winter Internship mentors for the first of their small group meetings. These meetings take place approximately every other Monday. This year’s internship period runs from February 22nd to March 4th and the internship confirmation deadline is January 11th.

What is "Winter Internship"?
Winter Internship is an important part of each school year. Students in the sixth grade engage in real-world learning as a group, leaving Field to get experience with cooking in an actual kitchen, for example. All others students work with teacher mentors to find unpaid internships in a wide swath of the community—from hospitals to theaters, from offices to embassies, from soup kitchens to recording studios. (High school students also have the option of using the two-week period to participate in Field’s Winter theater production or to participate in one of several trips that the school runs during this time—this year these are a community service “trip” to DC, a journey to Nicaragua, and a trip to France.) This huge variety of experiences augments Field classroom learning and embodies the program’s mission statement: explore•learn•serve.

Field’s mandatory program stands out from the internship programs at other schools. It is a wide open, experiential educational opportunity that challenges students to land an internship of their choice largely on their own. The school’s four decades of experience running the program assures that students are guided carefully but do most of the work themselves. And Field students graduate with more internship experiences than most students finishing college.

What Students Learn
Over the course of their years at Field students will learn professional phone and email skills, write blog posts, set up a LinkedIn-style profile, write a resume, network, and use on-the-job communication skills. They also have the opportunity to make presentations to their classmates, practice new commutes, and handle lunch breaks (and even snow days or other unexpected situations) as they arise.

"Team WIN" are the faculty mentors, grade heads, and Liz and Carrie in the Winter Internship office. These adults invest great time and care in assisting students in identifying, securing, completing, and reporting on their internships. The entire faculty helps to visit students at their DC-area internships. But families are part of the team too: approving of the internship location for their child each year, providing transportation, and acting as a valuable source for new internship locations for Field students.

Field is looking forward to an incredible Winter Internship season! Please be in touch with your child’s Winter Internship faculty mentor or program coordinators Carrie Johnson and Liz Chausse if you have any Winter Internship related questions.

A Greener Field

The Field School has made more and more effort in recent years to limit our carbon footprint and to increase awareness of about how people can keep our planet a little more healthy if they modify their behavior based on knowledge and care. A leader in this work is our student-directed Environmental Action Club, but there are many ways Field is greener today than in the past.
A few years ago, Field replaced all its water fountains with “Hydration Stations” that additionally provide cold, filtered water for refillable water bottles, simultaneously stopping the distribution of plastic water bottles at lunch. On each station, an indicator tallies the number of wasteful plastic bottles that have been kept out of landfills as a result of its use. And our campus has saved well over 100,000 bottles to date!
This year, Field is also making strides by increasing the number of sustainable plates and utensils it uses for lunch service. All of the lunches served in The Elizabeth Meeting House this year use sugar cane plates and utensils that are biodegrad-able and easy on the Earth. This complements the Meeting House itself, which was designed and built to a LEED (“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” which is a set of standards promulgated by the US Green Building Council) Silver standard.
The most active face of environmentalism on campus is the Field Environmental Action Club, which is one of the longest-standing SHAM activities at our school. “Last year,” explains student leader Lily Blattner, “we wanted to educate the school about how it could do more to help the environment: by bringing in reusable water bottles, for example, and by recycling with an understanding of what to recycle.” The club had great success selling “Plant-grams” in spring, lovely small plants set into mason jars. “We made some money that we can use this year, but mainly it raised awareness about the club,” Lily explains. Membership in the club went from six last year to about 17 students this year.
This year, the club wants to continue raising awareness about environmental issues and justice with posters and conversation, but also through action. “We hope to get the school to begin composting waste this year,” Lily explains, “but we are starting by doing research and trying to start a very small worm farm as we put together a proposal. Composting would lead to the idea of creating a Field garden to grow herbs and other things for the lunch program. We also want to keep raising awareness about the importance of carpooling.”
The Environmental Action Club is, naturally, using social media as part of its program to get the word out. You can follow them on Instagram and twitter @FieldEAC and on Facebook @FieldEnvironmentalActionClub. Led by passionate advocates like Lily, a senior, and Sawyer London, an 8th grader, you can be sure that the campus is becoming more green!

Writing: Vital All Across the Field Curricula

“Skills of mind” is the central third of Field’s concise mission statement—a commitment to teaching students to master intellectual tools that will serve them well beyond college and into their lives and careers. One of the skills that Field takes most seriously is writing. In learning to write, students put their thinking and reasoning through a rigorous test of clarity, logic, and persuasiveness. Perhaps most significantly, writing skills at Field are taught and required in nearly every classroom.
Writing Where You Expect It
Of course, our English classes stress writing explicitly. “In the English classrooms,” explains Department Chair Dave Nelson, “students write across genres and in creative ways. From the 6th graders to the seniors, we've seen everything from poetry to analytical paragraphs and long essays, from creative non-fiction to collaborative group essays.” It is also traditional that history classes emphasize analytic writing. “Seventh grade historians prepare written statements for a debate on the culpability of minors who acted as child soldiers in active combat,” notes Chair Georgia Warner. “Meanwhile, 11th grade historians write argument-driven and research-based thesis papers on a U.S. history-related topic of the individual students' choosing.”
And Writing Where You Don't Expect It
But instruction in writing goes beyond these relatively typical applications. “Students in the upper levels of French and Spanish are asked weekly to compose summaries, take notes, or write in journals about articles they read in authentic newspapers in different domains: architecture, science, sports, music, or contemporary international events,” according to Chair Ermira Elmazaj. “Writing in this case is used as a tool for learning while students negotiate meaning and make a conscious effort to incorporate words and phrases from their studies.”
Math and science use writing extensively as well. “Field’s math teachers ask students to write explanations of solutions in addition to showing the numerical results in many cases,” says Chair Jeff Kurtz. “I require my Advanced Math Seminar students to prepare a detailed write-up of a fairly complicated problem several times each year. This helps students to merge writing skills with math skills, which becomes incredibly important as they move on to higher level math courses in college.” In science, explains Chair Kate Breslin, “it’s all about the lab reports. Step-by-step writing for the method section and clear articulation for conclusions are a necessity.”
Teachers in the arts are equally passionate about writing, requiring students to reflect on their creativity through “artist statements” that accompany their work on Studio Day, for example. Music classes ask students to become articulate critics of what they are studying and, of course, in our journalism and yearbook classes, students are writing for publication, which explicitly develops skills in editing as well as writing.
The editing that is front and center in journalism has its analogue in lab reports, poetry, analytic essays, and every other form of writing at Field. "Revise!" our writing teachers say. Good advice across any discipline.

Field Goes Into the World, The World Comes to Field!

Being located in a vibrant city, The Field School offers many wonderful opportunities for students to explore the world beyond the classroom—and to welcome that world to Field. The last week and the upcoming week provide ample evidence of how we take advantage of being a DC school.

Senior Search This week, Field’s 12th grade class is off-campus, concentrating their college visits. Nearly every Field senior applies to colleges and universities during this season, and spending time on those campuses is an important and informative part of the process. At the same time, Field believes strongly that the senior year—a full quarter of the high school experience—is a time of critical intellectual and personal growth and it's a year to be enjoyed. Giving students and their families time for “Senior Search” helps our 12th grade classes to remain focused and balanced.

Eleventh Grade to the Newseum Today the entire 11th grade took a Field trip to DC’s engrossing “Newseum” on Pennsylvania Avenue, a museum that traces the history and highlights of our country’s free press across 250 years. The 11th grade history class studies U.S. history, making this an ideal trip for the grade.
Tenth Grade Community Service Day The tenth grade was also off-campus as a group today, taking part in an engaging, active, and positive community service day. The grade split into three groups to volunteer at three DC organizations: Food and Friends, Seabury Age-in-Place, and the Capitol Area Food Bank. Students spent the morning working and supporting the community and then went to the Church of the Pilgrims near DuPont Circle to hear speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless. They were lead through a thoughtful reflection about how their actions help support their local community. Tenth Grade Head Julia Cohen called it “a fantastic and worthwhile day!”

Harmonica Virtuoso Visits Field Music Classes Being located in DC also means that we can invite remarkable people into Field Classrooms. And last week, the two high school “Studio Band” classes were graced with the presence of Frederic Yonnet, perhaps the greatest harmonica player in the world. Just days before coming to Field’s music room with dozens of “mouth harps” to offer basic lessons to our students, Fred had been playing at the Verizon Center with Stevie Wonder as part of his Songs in the Key of Life Tour. Fred—who is friendly with Field music teacher Dominic Redd and was born in Normandy, France—has also played with Prince, Erykah Badu, John Legend, and the National Symphony Orchestra. But last week he was playing with us!

Admissions Season: Off and Running!

Every independent school is defined by its mission. But the mission is embodied by the people who give it life every day. That’s why the admissions process is so important—it brings in each year’s new group of students who will discover themselves and help others to do the same within this sparkling community.

Field’s admissions team, led by Director of Admissions Maureen Miesmer, a 13-year veteran teacher, has been busy since the second week of school spreading the word about Field, how it teaches kids in unique ways, and how we go about finding students who find a great “fit” on our campus and in our community.

“We held our first, packed Admissions Information Session two Saturdays ago,” Maureen explains, “and we have been running small parent tours since mid-September, visiting classes in action. My team, along with other faculty, have also been attending admissions fairs in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. And last week we started hosting our first student visits. Admissions season is in full swing!” This year, the process also features a new version of Field’s viewbook, which captures the mission and vibe of our school in photographs, stories, and philosophy.

This is Field’s fifth year bringing prospective students into an innovative sixth grade program on the top floor of the Cafritz House. The sixth grade focuses on critical thinking but spans a huge range of engagement and skill development. Susan Greenspan, who heads both Field’s Middle School and the sixth grade, describes this program as “already filled with traditions that help connect the 6th graders to the rest of the Field community and a place where new projects, curriculum, and activities are developing on a daily basis.” In addition to filling about 22 slots for that grade, the admissions process adds 11 more 7th grade students as well.

The largest influx of new students, however, comes into Field’s ninth grade, which almost doubles in size to about 65 students. “We receive hundreds of applications to Field each year,” Maureen notes, “and we invite every applicant to attend classes with a ‘buddy’ for the morning or a whole day. The Field buddies are incredibly important to the process—they show our school at its best and welcome visitors with real warmth.” After their “shadow days,” every applicant (and his or her parents) have a conversation with a member of the admissions team. “We try to get to know each applicant well,” explains Eva Greenberg, Senior Admissions Associate, “as Field is not just looking for those with the best grades but students who are bright, interesting, and really a ‘fit’ in a school based on small classes and learning through dialogue.”

Tours and open houses continue through mid-January, and student visits continue until Winter Internship begins in February. Eventually, Maureen and her team sit down with an admissions committee that includes Head of School Dale Johnson, Associate Head David Buffum, Susan Greenspan, Ninth Grade Head Tara Hanlon, and others. “At Field, we aim to see every student as an individual,” Dale explains, “and this begins with the admissions process. Admitting a class of Field students is an art, balancing an even number of boys and girls with different strengths, styles, cultural backgrounds, and interests. The recruitment and admission of students and their families into Field is the most critical aspect to creating a school culture that is uniquely diverse and dear to our hearts.”

To download Field's admissions information packet for people interested in learning more about the admissions process, CLICK HERE!

Field Fall Athletics: A Homecoming Check-in

Homecoming proved joyous this year at Field, with competitive athletics, great food, and a feeling of community—including returning alumni as well as current families, students, faculty, and staff—combining with great weather.

Built around a busy sports schedule, the day was successful: Field Girls Varsity Soccer scored a 5-1 triumph over Don Bosco; Boys Varsity Soccer also faced Don Bosco, battling to a tense 0-0 tie, Varsity Volleyball had a great win versus Holy Child, and Field’s cross country runners ran beautifully at the DCXC Invitational.

In general, fall athletics in the high school are flourishing. Head Coach Lindsay Wise reports that our top volleyball team has a “good start this year. Players have improved tremendously, and we are becoming a cohesive, competitive team. We are currently 4-4.” The Girls Tennis team, led by Jose Devercelli, has had a very good start to the season. “We are currently sitting on a record of two wins and two loses,” notes Jose, “and showing marked improvement from last year. The team had a dramatic win against Oakcrest, its closest opponents, in which a half a dozen match points were wasted before finally clinching the final point of the rubber.”

On the soccer pitch, both boys and girls are hard at work. Head Coach Tara Hanlon describes the varsity girls season so far as “impressive.” They are off to an impressive 3-2 start in the league. “We have given up only two goal all season when playing at home,” explains Tara with characteristic enthusiasm. “The team has pushed each other to be their best since the first day of preseason and their work has paid off!” The varsity boys team, led by Miguel Barrera, is 4-3-1 on the season. "Due to our deep and talented squad," Miguel reports, "we've been able to get guys playing in different positions and play different formations that have made us a mercurial threat."

This season the girls cross country team has welcomed back several strong returners who are capable of jockeying for top positions in the PVAC league, along with two phenomenal new runners who bring lots of positivity and enthusiasm to the team. Coach Eva Greenberg reports, “We have competed in two races so far, including a huge invitational meet that hosted over 3,000 runners, and are looking forward to many more still to come!” The boys are also looking good in cross country. “Boys XC has started the year off with some of our best early season times in recent memories,” we hear from coach Jesse Gaylord. “The boys are looking forward to fighting to be on the podium again this year come October!”

Innovation and Involvement in Field Classrooms

Guided by department chairs and administration and with an eye to our mission, Field’s classroom experience is dynamic and involving. Here are three examples from three different departments that show how our academic experience prepares students to think deeply.

History: The Senior Elective in “Global Narratives”
“Global Narratives is a senior elective in its second year as an offering from the history department. It embodies Field’s belief that student benefit from immersing themselves in advanced skill-building, specifically analytic thinking, writing, and discussion. History chair Georgia Warner, who developed the class, explains: “Global Narrative students pursue topics of their own choosing from the siege of Moscow in World War II to the currently jailed journalist in Egypt. The purpose is to hone their research and writing skills. The first assignment of the year, Project Deep Dive, requires them to investigate the depth of information a single primary source can often provide a researcher. The project will focus on strengthening students' abilities to develop compelling and dynamic research questions as well as to answer that question with clear data points and evidence. A mostly independent-study style course, classes begin with brief skill lessons before students turn to their own work to practice their skills and methodologies.”

Languages: Using Middlebury Interactive Languages Online
This year, the Language Department is deepening its use of the interactive language instruction offered online by Middlebury College. This supplement to instruction by teachers is in its third year in French classes and its first year in Spanish classes. Language Chair Ermira Elmazaj explains that “Middlebury Interactive immerses students in language and culture. It offers our kids exposure to authentic materials and videos that provide real-world reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. It is very good at helping teachers to provide differentiated learning for different types of learners who can work at their own pace.” At all levels, this program replaces textbooks and provides an array of interactive conversations and writing prompts. “It’s wonderful that the program provides speakers in the target language who are from all over the world,” Ermira adds.

Science: Dedicated as Ever to Hands-on Learning and Observation
Visitors to The Elizabeth Meeting House this week were witness to science in action. Students in the Physics 1 class were learning about air resistance by designing parachutes from plastic trash bags, string, masking tape, and paper cups. Trial after trial measured the speed of the cargo’s descent from the railing of the Meeting House, and prototype designs were continuously modified. In the middle school, students were walking around the campus interviewing teachers to test a set of hypotheses that had been developed but not yet tested and learning the concept of velocity by measuring distances around campus and timing themselves ran, walked, and cartwheeled those distances, followed by graphing their data. And in ninth grade biology, a study of the brain and different capacities of the left side and right side was being illustrated in colorful diagrams created on posters that would soon surround the lab. Science chair Kate Samuel can tell you that this approach to learning has long been purposeful in our science classes. “Hands-on learning gets our students hooked, builds curiosity, and puts the ownership to understand how and why on them. It's not about memorizing, it's about doing. Students, seamlessly, learn more than mere facts.”

Activities and Honors at The Field School

ACTIVITIES AND HONORS AT THE FIELD SCHOOL: By the Students and for the Students

Every day, Field students look forward to “SHAM,” the 40 minutes following lunch when the school day changes and sends them in interesting directions that they help to choose. While Mondays feature required meetings of one kind of another (the “M” from the acronym—class meetings, meetings regarding Winter Internship, or perhaps an assembly in the Meeting House), the other days of week will soon be spent in study halls (“S”), honors seminars (“H”) and activities (“A”).

Next week, students will be learning about the fascinating honors seminars offered by teachers to students who are up to the challenge, and next Thursday will feature our bustling Activities Fair, where students will choose how they are spending their SHAM time this year.

 or “clubs” at Field are mostly created by the students themselves. Twelfth grade head Ryan Reese has overseen the program for several years. “The definition of success for our clubs is broad. We value strong, academic clubs that push our students' skills of mind while also pushing for clubs that provide an opportunity for stress relief and socialization. Academically, our Model U.N. students win awards at regional conferences and our A.W.A.R.E. students lead the student body in discussion about multicultural inclusion. In contrast to this type of work, we have a club that is a weekly Tea Party and a club entirely dedicated to Wiffleball.”
Students with a particular passion or interest are able to begin the process of starting a club through a simple conversation with Ryan. From there, they are asked to plan out specific activities and goals for the year before finding a faculty mentor. With this information, we talk about structuring the club in a way in which all will feel engaged and included. Students who have followed this process then present their club to the student body at Thursday Activities Fair.
Honors Seminars are academic offerings that meet once per week during SHAM. They require homework and end-of-semester assessments, but they are offered “pass/fail”. Ryan explains that they “allow teachers to explore their personal areas of expertise that might not fall within their classroom responsibilities at Field. The discourse within these classes between our faculty and a group of students with that same interest is lively and engaging.” Past seminars have given students the chance to learn Japanese calligraphy, to produce documentary shorts on Field's sports culture, to experience oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, and to write and illustrate original children's books.
Students interested in learning about this year’s Honors offerings can attend a meeting about them this coming Monday at lunch.
“Our activities program is the single best opportunity for students to hone and cultivate student leadership,” Ryan explains. It is also a highlight of the Field experience, he says, because “our activities program doesn’t force students to choose between participating in a club, playing a sport, or acting in a show. The idea that we support our students' ability to do all of the above is inspiring and unique. By fostering the notion that our students can do it all, I think we help students to find new interests and forge relationships around shared passion, whatever it may be.”

Field Is Now Accepting Applications for 2016-17


Interested in The Field School? Come for a visit, read all about us, and—by all means—apply for the 2016-17 school year!

Our admissions office is now open for business, eager to show you this amazing school for grades 6-12 here in Washington, DC.

You can learn more about Field and the admissions process by CLICKING HERE.

High School Grades Spend a Day Out in the World

For the third year in a row, Field used the first week of school as a time for individual grade levels to spend all or part of a day off campus, getting to know each other and engaging in an activity designed to bond and help define the class. This year, all our high school students took trips on the second day of the year, accompanied by a team of their teachers. The day was bright and brilliant—fitting, as each class trip used the outdoors as a key ingredient.

Ninth and Tenth Grades: Tara, Aaron, and the 9th grade went to Calleva in Poolesville, MD to participate in ropes course challenges and team building activities. Students had the chance both to fly through the treetops on a zip line and to try balancing with a dozen of their peers on a skinny log. For one student, the zip line was such a nerve-wracking experience that when she
finally jumped off the ledge she let out a ear-splitting shriek. But that shriek turned to laughter when she heard her new classmates cheering her on from below. The tenth grade ventured to Fletcher's Cove for the second half of the day. When the buses required for the trip didn’t arrive in time, Julia and Laura appealed to their colleagues for help, and students were delighted to have a team of their teachers drive them in platoons to the banks of the Potomac River. There, students and teachers canoed, kayaked, and rowed boats as others read in the shade and biked.

Eleventh and Twelfth Grades:
The 11th Grade went to Accotink Lake Park in Springfield, VA. Juniors spent time with their teachers and with grade heads Martha and Miguel talking about the year ahead, playing games, and enjoying the park's mini-golf and antique carousel. The group grilled hot dogs and burgers for lunch and had some good downtime with old friends and new. The 12th grade spent the day in service to the greater DC community. Students and teachers worked with The Capital Area Food Bank and Seabury Place, as well as Washington Parks and People prior to a meeting with a member from the National Coalition for the Homeless. From clearing brush to packaging produce, from mowing lawns to picking up trash, the seniors—accompanied by grade heads Ryan and Laura—worked to help those within our city.

Field's Hands-on Learning

One of the greatest hallmarks of a Field education is our teachers' commitment to creating a hands-on learning environment both inside the classroom and out. This means that our students' daily lives are full of projects that allow them to get their hands dirty, simulations that encourage a different way of thinking, and trips that open their eyes to various worlds.

Be Yourself at The Field School

Self-Discovery.  It's the first word in our mission statement, and its pursuit is innate to everyday life at Field.  Students are encouraged to think and learn about themselves, and to grow as individuals over the course of their time here.  They can be studious, athletic, shy, boisterous, latino, focused, whimsical, black, white or anytihng else they want—so long as they are who they truly are.

Field is a place where you can be yourself.


Serious Studies


Be Yourself

Small Classes




2301 Foxhall Rd NW  Washington, DC 20007  202.295.5800