When is the application deadline?

Applications are accepted beginning in September and should be submitted no later than January 13, 2017. Applications submitted after January 13 will be considered under a rolling admissions policy.

How many students are in each grade?

In grades 1-8, there are two classes per grade with approximately 13 children in each class with one teacher. Kindergarten is one class of 12-16 students with one teacher and one assistant teacher. ACDS has 32 faculty members and a 7:1 faculty to student ratio.

How long is the school day?

The school day begins at 8:10am and ends at 3:00pm.  AM and PM Care are available for an additional fee from 7:00 – 8:00am and 3:00 – 6:00pm.

Is there an age requirement for Kindergarten?

Students must turn 5 by September 30th of the year they enter Kindergarten.

Is there an admission test?

We require that each K-5 applicant take an age-appropriate intelligence test. Children six years old and younger must take the WPPSI-IV. Children seven to eleven years old must take the WISC-V. Applicants to grades 6, 7 and 8 must take either the SSAT or the ISEE.

How can I tour your school?

Open House Programs – October 19, November 11, and December 7 at 8:30 am for all grades. November 5th at 9:00 am for all grades. January 5 at 6:30 pm for grades K-4 and January 10 at 6:30pm for grades 5-8.  The Open House program will include a welcome from our Head of School and a brief presentation by our Heads of Lower and Middle School. You will also have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of a panel of current middle school students.  Following the program, current ACDS parents will take you on a school tour.

The Middle School Open House (Grades 5-8) will begin with a brief presentation by our Head of School and Head of Middle School followed by Q&A with a current student panel.  You will then have the opportunity to meet with Middle School teachers.  Parents are strongly encouraged to bring their prospective student to the Middle School Open House.

The Lower School Open House (Grades K-4) will begin with a brief presentation by our Head of School and Head of Lower School followed by the opportunity to meet with Lower School teachers and a tour of the school with current ACDS parents.  Activities for children ages 3 and up will be provided at the January 10th Lower School Open House.

Information Session & Tours
– these small group sessions will take place once a month. The first hour is spent with our Head of School, Heads of Lower and Middle School and Director of Admission and Financial Aid. The second hour is spent touring the school with one of our parent volunteers.

How does the admissions process work?

Applications for admission are accepted beginning September 1 for the following school year. Parents who wish to learn more about our program should call to sign up to attend an Open House or Information Session and Tour. To apply at any grade level, parents should submit completed application forms and a nonrefundable fee of $75. The application deadline is January 13 and the supporting admissions materials are due February 3. Applicants for each grade level are required to have an admissions visit and screening or testing. Student visits will be scheduled for January and February. More details can be found on the Admissions Process page of this site.

What is the tuition?

Tuition for the 2016-2017school year is as follows: K-3rd grade: $27,500; 4th-8th grades: $29,800.

Is tuition inclusive of all fees?

Although tuition covers the majority of our program, the following additional fees may apply:

  • ACDS will provide the majority of the necessary school supplies for the school year.  A list of school supplies that we are asking parents to supply will be provided.
  • ACDS provides an optional hot-lunch program through Meriwether Godsey http://merig.com/ with a menu that changes daily. Students can elect to participate in this program or bring their own lunch. ACDS also has a milk program in which brown-baggers can elect to participate.
  • ACDS provides before-school and after-school (A.M. and P.M.) care on a drop-in basis ($12/hour) and on a trimesterly contract basis. For the 2016-2017 school year, A.M. and P.M. Care contract costs for the trimester are $485 for A.M. care (5 days per week) and $1445 for P.M. care (5 days per week).
  • Bus transportation to and from ACDS from most of the Washington, DC metropolitan area is available. For the 2016–2017 school year, the cost will be $1,500 for one-way and $2,000 for round-trip service.
  • The ACDS Association of Parents (AP) dues are $100 per student. These dues cover faculty appreciation activities and gifts as well as fund class parties and school-wide events sponsored by the AP.

Do you offer financial aid?

A limited amount of financial aid, based on financial need, is available to students at ACDS. In order for us to allocate our resources wisely and fairly, we have enlisted the help of Independent School Management’s FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) program. ISM’s FAST does not decide whether financial assistance will be given or how much to give, rather FAST provides the school with a report, which includes a recommendation of what a family should reasonably contribute toward tuition. Financial aid grants are made for one school year only; recipients must reapply for financial aid each year. Applications for tuition assistance must be completed no later than February 17 for the school year starting the following September.

How do I pay my child’s tuition?

You will have the option to enroll in one of three tuition payment plans: one payment, two payments, or ten payments. Those who elect the one or two payment plans will be invoiced by the ACDS Business Office and pay by check. The 10 payment plan is collected by the FACTS Management Company with which ACDS contracts. FACTS is an automated payment system by which parents authorize their bank or credit card company to automatically transfer funds to the school on the installment payment dates of the 5th or 20th of the month.

Is the school accredited?

ACDS is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). The school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW), Independent School Management (ISM), Elementary Schools Heads Association, The Parents Council of Washington, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Black Student Fund, Latino Student Fund, Emerging Scholars, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Educational Records Bureau (ERB), and Secondary Schools Testing Board (SSATB).

Do ACDS students take standardized tests?

ACDS administers the ERB (Educational Records Bureau) CTP4 test to students in grades three through eight. This is a battery of assessments designed to provide instructionally useful information about student performance in key areas of student achievement. These tests measure both verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as achievement.

Does ACDS have a library?

ACDS has a library collection of nearly 12,000 titles including books and ebooks, DVDs, magazines, iPods and Playaways. Anyone in the school community, including students, teachers, staff, and parents, may borrow items. The library is staffed by a full-time librarian and is open at all times that school is in session.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade visit the library once or twice during the week to hear stories, pursue research, and develop information and media literacy skills. Students in all grades working on special projects may use the library at any time; they may be assisted by the librarian, their classroom teacher, or may work independently depending on the circumstances. The library is open during middle school recess every day and the librarian works with middle school teachers to arrange library visits for recreational reading and curriculum-related work.

The library collection is described and tracked in an On-Line Public Access Catalog (Follett Destiny.) The catalog can be searched from any computer with internet access. Students can log in to their personal accounts in the catalog, and in addition to tracking their own circulation statistics and looking for new books, can keep track of books they have read, are reading and would like to read, and can recommend books to friends. On-line databases for research are available through the library’s Haiku page.

How does the school incorporate technology in the program?

Teachers use technology to enhance instruction with video, simulations, primary source images, animations, audio recordings and presentation slides that can be played back at a student’s individual pace and to connect students to information sources outside the school such as, in the field experts. Teachers also use technology to connect with students outside of class through our content management portal and email.

Students use technology to consume information, to communicate ideas; persuade, inform, share and to create projects that demonstrate knowledge and mastery of skills. Students use laptops, desktops, iPads and ebooks to research, create movies, digital presentations, voice recordings, stop motion and time lapse video, edited and annotated photos, illustrations, and screen captures choosing the technique that will best communicate their knowledge.

Is lunch provided?

There is a hot lunch program available for an additional fee five days a week through Meriwether Godsey http://merig.com/. Each day, Monday through Thursday, the choices include a hot meal, salad, soup and/or a sandwich. Vegetarian options are also available. Pizza is offered on Fridays. Students who choose to bring their own lunch can purchase milk.

Is there transportation available?

Bus transportation to and from ACDS from most of the Washington, DC metropolitan area is available. The cost is $1,500 for one-way and $2,000 for round-trip service for the 2016-17 school year.

Are there uniforms?

All students in Kindergarten through grade eight must wear the school uniform, which consists of a dark green (hunter green) or white knit shirt (polo shirt) with a collar and long or short sleeves, or a turtleneck. Students may wear a white or dark (hunter) green sweater in colder weather. In addition, a plain hunter green, gray, or white sweatshirt or the official ACDS sweatshirt with logo may be worn as part of the winter uniform. Boys are required to wear well-fitting khaki or tan pants or shorts. Girls are required to wear tan pants, skirts, jumpers, capris or skorts. Shorts, skirts, jumpers, and skorts must be no more than 4 inches above the knee. Students must wear an enclosed shoe with a soft sole and socks or stockings.

What is the earliest that you start teaching a foreign language?

Instruction in Spanish begins in Kindergarten and continues through grade eight. In the spring of their eighth grade year the students will travel to Puerto Rico for five days to participate in a cultural Spanish immersion program. Highlights of the trip include hiking through the El Yunque rainforest, visiting an ancient Taino indigenous site and village, participating in a Puerto Rican dance workshop and folkloric show, kayaking by night through mangrove channels in Fajardo’s bioluminescent lagoon, and viewing wildlife and snorkling with a local fisherman.

How much time do middle school students spend on academics each day?

In the Middle School, class periods are 45 minutes or 65 minutes long — varies by subject and day. Listed below is the frequency of each class and the total number minutes devoted to each subject per week.

Math and Language Arts – Five times a week for a total of 265 minutes

History and Science – Four times a week for a total of 200 minutes

Arts (drama, music, or visual art), Physical Education, and Spanish – Four times a week for a total of  180 minutes

Advisory – Five times a week for 115 minutes

What support do you offer for students who need academic help?

Instructional support teachers are available to work with students who may need assistance in a particular subject, however the school does not have a learning specialist to accommodate students with severe learning differences. In such cases, the school works with families to identify and arrange appropriate outside support. For students in grades five through eight, teachers provide additional one-on-one and small group support during after school Tutorials (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3:00pm to 4:00pm) and in-school study halls.

How can I participate in the life of my child at ACDS?

We like to describe the basic relationship at ACDS as being that of a triangle, a union of parents, students, and teachers, all working for the child. Parents are encouraged to become involved in their child’s school life. In the early grades, parents may, for example, read a story to the class or assist in a classroom project. Parents also have opportunities to attend student performances such as plays and concerts, and experience what their children have learned or created by attending “Celebration of the Arts” or Speeches & Sweets. In all grades, parents with expertise relevant to curriculum may be asked to share their knowledge and skills. Parents are full participants in the education of their child. We look to you to volunteer as room parent, field trip or dance chaperone, gala committee participant, Country Market organizer, Association of Parents Board member, library aid, admissions open house tour guide, or Field Day referee. We want you to come into the classroom to read, talk about your work, or demonstrate a special talent.

Is there a parent-teacher association?

The Association of Parents (AP) is the organization of parents, teachers, and friends who support ACDS in efforts to provide the best possible education for its students. You are a member of the AP if you have a child at the School. Each family is asked to pay dues of $100 per child annually to support AP efforts throughout the year. Please visit the section on the Association of Parents for more information.

Do you have athletic teams?

Yes, we offer interscholastic competition in soccer, cross-country, basketball, softball, tennis, Ultimate Frisbee and swimming. Through the athletics program at ACDS, we hope to instill the proper development of skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork that will help our students throughout their lives. Respect for fellow teammates, coaches, officials, and spectators are at the forefront of the core values that we hope to establish. Students who choose to participate in this voluntary program receive excellent coaching which helps to build a sound mind, body, and soul.

We are a part of the ABC Interscholastic Athletic League. Our program runs during the fall, winter, and spring seasons, and is offered to all of our middle school students, and all students are guaranteed playing time, regardless of ability. ACDS is committed to ensuring that we offer the best possible experience for everyone involved with our athletic program. The primary goal of our athletic program is to support our students and coaches with a positive learning environment that is respected throughout the league, and the community.

Do students participate in community service?

Service is an important part of the educational program at ACDS. During the school year, students will participate in various community service projects, both with their grade and as an whole school. Our Service Learning Coordinator helps classes, individuals, and the community as a whole develop effective service projects that enhance learning and support the communities of which we are a part. We strive to integrate service with the curriculum to help students connect the subjects they are studying to actions they can take in support of their communities.  Please visit our Service Learning page to learn more.

Do you offer field trips?

Field trips serve as an extension of classroom instruction and as enrichment both in community service and the fine arts. The cost of most field trips and transportation is included in the annual tuition; however, on occasion, a longer trip may be offered to older students and may necessitate an additional charge. Whenever students go on a trip, they represent ACDS and are expected to dress and behave according to the school’s standards.

Students in fifth through eighth grades take a one to two day overnight trip. The trip for each grade level focuses on a specific area of study such as history, literature, science, or team building. Most trips take place in the fall. The class trip is considered outdoor education and is a part of the school curriculum and all students are expected to attend. Additionally, the eighth grade class travels to Puerto Rico in the Spring.

Are there other extracurricular activities besides athletics?

ACDS offers a wide range of after-school activities for students of every age. The activities vary by trimester and may include music lessons, Lego club, fencing, cooking, STEM club, and more.

Where do ACDS graduates go to high school?

Please visit the After ACDS page to view the current list of high schools recently attended.

How can I find out more about the school?

Please visit the Admissions page to request information or call 703-837-1303.