Elizabeth's Vision

Elizabeth, as Field students have always known her, had taught math in public school classrooms with over 50 students, and she had worked in “progressive" schools. Elizabeth envisioned a school of her own—a place where a classic curriculum encompassing organized "fields" of knowledge could be taught in a small environment that stressed dialogue, analytic thinking, and larger lessons of how young people could grow to become generous, responsible, self-knowing adults. The Field School opened its doors in 1972.

historical photo of school achetecture

Growth to 97 Students

By 1974, Field had grown to 97 students and needed a new home. On a famed Saturday that spring, students, faculty, and parents convened to carry all of the school's desks, chairs, and books up Connecticut Avenue to Field's new home on Wyoming Avenue. By this time, the school had already established several of its signature programs—every student took a studio art class, and participation in athletics was a requirement. Additionally, the school developed an internship program during which students went into the community each winter to learn about the world of work and refine their skills in a career or volunteer opportunity of interest.

Growth and Maturity

Between 1974 and 2002, The Field School grew and evolved at a remarkable pace while maintaining its allegiance to its core values. The school expanded to fill a second row house across from the first, and eventually, 220 students were being educated in the rooms of Field's two homes. As the Field campus and student body grew, the opportunities to expand in curriculum and programs enhanced the experience for all students. Faculty from the best colleges and universities arrived, and Field graduates left to pursue studies in every career imaginable, spreading the indelible reputation of this small DC school.

historical photo of students and teacher


A New Beginning

In 2002, The Field School opened the doors on its new 10.5-acre campus in the former home of the Cafritz family—complete with its first gymnasium and playing field, new science labs, and creative studio spaces. Though the quirks of "the old campus" were difficult to leave behind, Field students and teachers made sure that the new campus would be distinctive and unique. 


Field Forward Capital Campaign (2012)

After celebrating the School’s 40th year in 2012, an ambitious Field Forward Capital Campaign allowed it to grow and enhance its physical plant. The Middle School was expanded, adding a 6th grade, and the overall student body grew to the 350 students it now serves. As a nod to the Quaker Meeting House in Dupont Circle, where all school meetings were previously held, the Elizabeth Ely Meeting House was constructed, which gives the community the opportunity to gather together for all-school assemblies, performances, or celebrations. In addition, new state-of-the-art facilities were added to the campus, including a science lab, a music and recording studio, and a strength and movement room. 

photo of development work being started on the school grounds


Continuing Legacy

Field welcomed Lori Strauss, our third Head of School, in July 2020. In 2022, The Field School celebrated Field at 50, a series of 50th Anniversary events, and underwent a campus master planning process. This process jump-started a revitalization and expansion of our science laboratories and classrooms, which opened in the fall of 2023. The School also transformed existing spaces to create a maker space conducive to inquiry-based and collaborative learning.

photo of lori strauss, head of the field school, outside with students

Guided by Aude Sapere

Field is still guided by its motto, Aude Sapere, or "Dare to Be Wise." Our mission statement is brief and bold:

Students discover their authentic selves and distinctive paths to become empathetic, creative thinkers who act boldly to shape our shared future. 


The Field School Timeline