K-8, Co-educational Independent School


Thought Leadership

As one of the first schools in the country to replace traditional middle school desks with adjustable standing desks, and one of three schools in the DC area to be the first to switch to the Math in Focus curriculum (the American version of Singapore Math) in 2013, ACDS has emerged as a leader in innovative educational practices. Our academic administration and dedicated faculty are committed to continual assessment of our program and educational practices and frequently engage in professional development to ensure the highest-quality experience for our students.

ACDS Middle School Head Presents at VAIS Wellness Conference

Head of Middle School, Ryan Woods, presented at the Virginia Association of Independent Schools Health and Wellness Summit. The presentation, Mitigating Student Anxiety through Standards Based Assessment, outlined the practical steps ACDS took to de-emphasize grades and shift their focus to habits of learning and skill mastery to maintain academic rigor, reduce stress, and foster a healthy learning community.    

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Head of ACDS Invited to Join ERB Social Emotional Learning Advisory Committee

Head of School, Scott Baytosh, was invited by the Educational Resources Bureau (ERB), a national educational testing organization, to join their Social Emotional Learning Advisory Committee.  This effort sought the input of educational leaders across the country as they developed new means of assessing social-emotional learning.  

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Talking to Children About Challenging Issues

Head of School, Scott Baytosh appeared on News Channel 8's News Talk to talk about how parents and educators can help children respond to what they see and hear about complex political and social issues by building skills of critical thinking, empathy, and respectful dialog.

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ACDS’s Focus on SEL, Play, and Communications Skills Highlighted as Best Practice in Education Dive Article

ACDS was highlighted in the educational publication, Education Dive, as an example of a forward-thinking and innovative model that incorporated SEL, play, and communication skills in a rigorous academic program.  The article, entitled, “What can public schools learn from private peers on road to School 2.0?” discusses how our thoughtful, child-centered, and innovative program addresses many of the challenges faced by public schools and provides…

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Mastery-based Assessment

Now a growing trend in schools, ACDS implemented mastery-based assessment four years ago throughout the middle school program. The new grading and assessment practices followed by each middle school teacher ensure that a student’s grade is only a reflection of how she/he performs against a course’s established standards. Learning habits (organization of time and materials, active and thoughtful participation in class, effort, and perseverance) are…

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Transforming the Classroom Experience

In 2015, ACDS greeted students upon on their return from summer vacation with exciting new changes to their classrooms. Completed in collaboration with the Dean of the New York School of Interior Design whose research focuses on how classroom design influences learning, and made possible by a $3M anonymous gift, the classroom renovations emphasize flexible classroom organization and reduction in visual distraction, as well as…

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Math In Focus

In 2013, ACDS was one of the first schools in the DC area to implement Math in Focus. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, an educational publishing company, interviewed then Head of Lower School, Melissa Davis about our experience with the curriculum.  Read the full text of the article below. Download PDF > or read full article below. How Math in Focus is reshaping the classroom at Alexandria…

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ACDS Hosts Training Sessions for Math in Focus for Regional Educators

ACDS has developed a long-term relationship with educational consultant and Math-in-Focus expert, Shelly Dubose.  In addition to conducting ongoing training with ACDS faculty, Shelly has held training workshops at ACDS for area educators.  Additionally, teachers from around Virginia have visited ACDS classrooms to learn how to implement the Math in Focus program effectively.  

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Grit, Perseverance and the Middle School Student

Members of the ACDS administration and faculty discuss educational best practices around teaching grit and perseverance and what these practices look like at ACDS.

Personalization in Elementary and Middle School Classrooms

In many classrooms, approaches such as IEPs and “differentiation” have been employed to support students at either end of the ability range – students who struggle or have exceptional ability.  Increasingly, though, personalization is employed not just to compensate for a student’s learning needs, but also to enhance the learning experience for all students by adapting approaches according to who they are as people and what will maximize their learning potential.  This podcast series explores the benefits of personalization for every student, and the specifics of how we provide a personalized educational experience for our students and their families at Alexandria Country Day School. 

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