Concord Hill School (www.concordhill.org) is an independent coeducational school serving 100 students, 3-years-old through Grade 3. Founded in 1965 as a nondenominational preschool, the school expanded to serve its current grade levels in 1967 and moved to its permanent home on Wisconsin Avenue, in 1988.
The greater Washington D.C. area has numerous independent schools that begin after Second and Third Grades, and Concord Hill is one of a few independent schools in the area founded to meet the specific needs of early learners. The school’s small community and its highly experienced early childhood faculty enable a strong, nurturing community where every child is well-known by each faculty member; it is a school where the oldest children escort the youngest to their classrooms each day, and parents are known and welcomed. This warm, nurturing community coupled with its faculty of early childhood and early elementary experts offer a tremendous first school experience, well preparing young people both academically and socially for their next school. Concord Hill is seeking a new Head of School for July 2019.
Mission and Core Values
Concord Hill School inspires children to embrace and enjoy learning during the early childhood years. Five Core Values—Knowledge, Character, Respect, Play, and Community—guide a dynamic academic and social curriculum. As an inclusive school community, we nurture each child and prepare our students to become responsible, caring, and contributing members of society.
Our values are the essence of Concord Hill. They form the foundation for every decision we make. They anchor our teachers and students, providing a consistent beacon of guidance for educational approaches, problem solving, classroom activities, discussions, and priorities. They help children begin to form their own essence, which endures long after they leave us.
Knowledge: We guide children to acquire the knowledge and learning skills necessary to thrive.
Character: We celebrate the character of each child, bolstering strengths and instilling confidence.
Respect: We teach children to respect themselves, each other, and our diverse world.
Play: We enlist play as a means to introduce learning skills, to encourage the joy that comes with learning, and to delight in being young children.
Community: We give children a safe, small, happy community in which they will grow.
A visit to the school will underscore that the school’s mission and five values are very present and as stated, foundational to Concord Hill’s very essence.
Campus and Program
Concord Hill is housed in one building on a corner lot in a primarily residential neighborhood. A driveway and parking lot behind the school enable safe drop off and pick up, and the main entrance into the school building is situated adjacent to the parking lot.
The interior space of this nearly 19,000 square foot building is well-utilized throughout its three floors. Each grade level—Pre-Primary (3-year-olds), Primary (4-year-olds), Kindergarten and Grades 1-3—has one classroom section with 15-20 students per grade. In addition to the six main classrooms, additional learning spaces include a gymnasium that also serves as a theater or community gathering space, a library, a state-of-the-art makers’ space (new for the 2016-17 school year), an art room, music room, a reading resource room, and a science classroom, which will be undergoing a complete renovation during the summer of 2018. Administrative offices and a faculty room complete the building. Classrooms and other learning spaces are large, vibrant, and invitingly light filled. Rooms on the top floor have an almost tree house like feel. Overall the space is large enough to provide great learning spaces and small enough to feel manageable to even the youngest children. A sizeable playground and small field enable active outdoor play and an outdoor classroom provides an attractive alternate teaching space. Along with the planned science room renovation, the Board is researching plans to update aspects of the outside of the property.
Each classroom has two co-teachers, and the faculty includes numerous long-tenured individuals. Faculty members consistently shared that in addition to the school’s focus on early childhood and elementary education, the strong sense of community, professionally and personally supportive environment, appreciative parents, and enthusiastic children are all factors that contribute to making the school a wonderful place to work. In addition to the twelve classroom teachers, the specialist teachers include art, librarian, music, physical education, reading, science/math, Spanish and educational technology. A school counselor is on site twice a week.
The school is play-based and classroom pedagogical practices reflect a number of approaches. The faculty’s early childhood expertise empowers them to guide their classrooms and to work with their students without strict adherence to a singular philosophy. Elements of Reggio Emilia infuse the Pre-Primary curriculum, Reader’s Workshop is utilized, and faculty have adopted the Singapore math program in the elementary classrooms.
Through the years the school’s leadership has actively supported and encouraged faculty professional development, which was oft noted and appreciated by faculty. Last summer several faculty received training in the RULER program through Yale University’s School of Emotional Intelligence. This social-emotional educational program is being integrated throughout the school. Concord Hill is a school that is intentional about the social and emotional aspects of educating young children. Students shake hands each morning with the faculty who greet students at drop-off, and good manners are enforced as a reflection of the school’s commitment to the core value of respect.
In addition to the Head of School, administrators include an Assistant Head of School/Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Director of Advancement, Director of Communications/Assistant Director of Development, Business Manager, Office Manager and a part-time Director of Curriculum. The Assistant Head of School will serve as the Acting Head of School for the 2018-2019 school year.
Each Friday the school gathers for Morning Meeting/Assembly, a gathering where parents are always welcome. While the Head of School runs the meeting, 3rd graders actively assist. The community sings, celebrates birthdays and classes often present or perform. This setting enables students to develop comfort and confidence in public speaking.
There are a number of appreciated traditions at Concord Hill. Grades K-3 enjoy a Field Day in the spring, 1st Graders have a year-long project that “takes” them “around the world,” and the 2nd Graders have a beloved State hats project. Community events include the Children’s Fair and an Annual Auction. It is important to note that, as shared by a long-term faculty member, “While we have a lot of traditions, we really like to try new things.” Community service is also an important part of the school’s educational program. Students throughout the school have developmentally appropriate opportunities to learn the importance of service. For example, once-a-month students make sandwiches for Martha’s Table, supporting this non-profit’s healthy food access program, and have collected supplies for Hurricane Relief efforts.
As the oldest students in the school, the 3rd graders have a myriad of opportunities to take on leadership roles and learn responsibilities that would not be available to them in a school that continued beyond Grade 3. Along with assisting at Assembly and walking the youngest students to their classrooms in the morning, the 3rd Graders raise and lower the flag on the outside flag pole each day and enjoy a camping trip near the end of their school year. In addition, they produce and perform in two original plays in the spring “Living History” and “Living Literature;” this is a special opportunity to showcase their talent and perform on stage in front of the community.
Concord Hill graduates enroll in both independent and public schools after completing 3rd Grade. The school is situated in an area that has very strong public elementary schools, which provide a good option for some families. Many students enroll in one of the many independent schools in the area, and the school’s track record for next school acceptances is impressive. Next schools appreciate that Concord Hill graduates are academically well prepared, present with strong self-confidence, and are empathetic, kind, and community-minded.
Concord Hill faculty gain a deep understanding of each student’s learning style and are able to guide parents in determining which next schools are potentially a good match. Parents appreciate how well known their children are by Concord Hill faculty. Ensuring that Concord Hill maintains its outstanding track record in next school placement is essential to all stakeholders—and to prospective families considering the school.
The school offers both before and after school care programs, and runs a small summer program for six weeks each summer.
Governance, Association, Finance and Development
The Board of Trustees numbers 17 and includes current and alumni parents, the Head of School, and outside educators. The Board operates through a committee structure and has a strong understanding of the Principals of Good Practice for independent school boards. The Board understands the importance of partnering with and strongly supporting the new Head of School.
Concord Hill is a member of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW), Association of Independent Schools of Maryland (AIMS), Black Student Fund, Latino Student Fund, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and The Parents Council of Washington (PCW).
Following preparation of its Self-Study, Concord Hill hosted a visiting team from AIMS in the fall of 2015, successfully completing the reaccreditation process. The school’s action plans in response to the visiting team’s report and recommendations will offer guidance for the new Head of School as she or he works with the school’s other leaders in establishing strategic priorities.
Concord Hill’s yearly budget is $3M. The school offers financial assistance. As a school that serves the youngest students and has a short window of opportunity to engage parents in philanthropic support, Concord Hill has a strong development program. The annual fund, which garnered 100% participation last year from parents, trustees and faculty, raised approximately $200K. The Annual Auction contributes another $100-140K to fundraising endeavors. A recent capital campaign aimed at addressing some building and playground enhancements raised just over $1M. The school is fortunate to have an endowment of $2.5M.
The opportunity to serve as Concord Hill School’s next Head of School is a great opportunity for an energetic, enthusiastic educational leader to join a warm community, partnering with engaged stakeholders to further enhance this strong school.
Following the reaccreditation process, the Board was prepared to begin a strategic planning initiative. With the leadership transition underway, the Board has paused this initiative. The reaccreditation visiting team’s recommendations offer guidance, and the school has begun to outline action plans to address those recommendations. The new Head of School will have the opportunity to partner with other stakeholders in developing a strategic plan to prioritize initiatives.
One visiting team recommendation asked Concord Hill to “strengthen and improve” the curriculum process. During the 2018-19 school year, the part-time Curriculum Coordinator will spend an additional day on campus helping to address this recommendation. Over the past several years the faculty has been utilizing the Atlas curriculum mapping tool. Moving forward, working to achieve the right balance of teacher autonomy and intentional scope and sequence will be an important initiative. A Head of School who is well-versed in education for this age group and today’s best educational practices and who can serve as a knowledgeable resource for faculty will serve Concord Hill well. Concord Hill’s size, the experience of its faculty, and its specific focus on early childhood and elementary education enables the school to be an exemplar school for educating children in this age group. A leader who supports and presents opportunities to try new initiatives will find a faculty interested in embracing change and innovating. The visiting team’s recommendation additionally encouraged the school to remain abreast of current research on the brain and early childhood/elementary teaching practices.
While the Board has appropriately delayed a strategic planning process, they did proactively create an Admissions Task Force. Enrollment needs to be a continual priority for the school’s leadership. With a small enrollment, it is particularly important that enrollment goals are met. There is growing competition for both the preschool aged students and the elementary aged students, requiring Concord Hill to continually demonstrate value and purpose. Families can choose from less-expensive preschool options in the early years, and strong, area public schools for Grades K-3. While there are certainly many families that chose the school for its full Pre-Primary through Grade 3 program, there are some common entry and exit points. Concord Hill’s Head of School needs to be very engaged in admissions and retention efforts. The school will be best served by a passionate ambassador who can articulate the value of a CHS education.
The school community, both in terms of enrolled students and faculty, does not currently fully reflect the diversity of the greater Washington D.C. area. The community is eager to see a more diverse school community and will welcome a Head of School who will invest in working to promote and support this goal.
The school will welcome a leader who embraces the warmth of this community and further sets a joyful tone. A Head of School who genuinely appreciates the opportunities leading a small school enables—knowing well all students, families, faculty and staff, spending time in classrooms, building relationships both internally and externally—will be a strong match for Concord Hill.
The Next Head of School
Serving as Head of a small school, and doing it well, requires energy, adept organizational skills, a willingness to be hands-on, and a true spirit of joyful ownership. Concord Hill seeks an educator with strong leadership skills who shares the school’s five core values and who has a successful track record of enthusiastic engagement in professional endeavors. Concord Hill’s next Head of School will be an individual who:
Identifies as an early childhood/early elementary educator and who can serve as a knowledgeable resource and guide for faculty, actively supporting their professional growth, and for parents, understanding and appreciating the concerns of parents of this age group
Has a passion for young children and a strong knowledge of educational best practices and child development
Thrives in a small school environment, being visible and hands-on, and reveling in managing effectively all the pieces of a school—the day-to-day responsibilities as well as leading strategic and innovative initiatives
Builds strong relationships with a wide range of people throughout the school community, appreciating opportunities to collaborate and opportunities to lead
Has a leadership style that communicates expectations, fosters trust, empowers others and inspires a culture of accountability
Has strong communication skills, as a listener, speaker, and a writer, and possesses ease speaking in front of large groups
Possesses successful experience on the external side of schools and will serve as a compelling ambassador for admissions, marketing, and development
Is a person of unwavering integrity and good humor.
The opportunity to serve Concord Hill as its Head of School is an opportunity to invest fully in a warm, vibrant educational community that ensures that the youngest learners’ first school experience is joyful and prepares them to succeed in their next endeavors.
Please send electronically: Resume, Letter of Interest and Educational Philosophy and/or Personal Statement to:
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files will begin immediately.
About Concord Hill School
Concord Hill School inspires children to embrace and enjoy learning during the early childhood years. Our Five Core Values—Knowledge, Character, Respect, Play, and Community—guide our dynamic academic and social curriculum. As an inclusive school community, we nurture each child and prepare our students to become responsible, caring, and contributing members of society.