Sidwell Friends School is a highly selective Quaker private school located in Bethesda, Maryland and Washington, D.C., offering pre-kindergarten through secondary school classes. Founded in 1883 by Thomas Sidwell, its motto is "Eluceat omnibus lux" (Let the light shine out from all), alluding to the Quaker concept of inner light. All Sidwell Friends students attend Quaker meeting for worship weekly.
The school's admissions process is merit-based. As documented on the school's website, it gives preference in admissions decisions to members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but otherwise does not discriminate on the basis of religion. The school accepts vouchers under the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Before moving to Wisconsin Avenue, Sidwell's campus was on I Street in downtown Washington and known as "Friends' Select School". The Wisconsin Avenue property on 71st street was first used for athletic fields while the campus was still downtown, with students shuttling between the two sites by streetcar.
Sidwell adopted its dress code in 1955. At the urging of the students, it dropped its dress code in the 1970s.
Since 2005, the Wisconsin Avenue campus has seen the completion of the LEED platinum Middle School; a new indoor athletic facility; underground parking garage; and two turf fields. A new Quaker Meeting House facility is located in the newly renovated Arts Center.
Thomas B. Farquhar recently left his position as the Head of School after the 2013-2014 school year. He became the Head of School after the retirement of former Head of School Bruce Stewart at the end of the 2008–2009 school year. The new head of school hired at the start of the 2014-2015 school year is Bryan K. Garman.
The Sidwell Friends Upper School has a particularly strong English Department. In 2005, Sidwell's AP English Exam scores were the highest in the nation for all medium-sized schools (300–799 students in grades 10–12) offering the AP English exam. Sidwell does not offer an AP English course.
All students must acquire at least 20 credits before graduating. Students are required to take four years of English, three years of mathematics, three years of history, two years of one foreign language, two years of science, and two years of art. In addition to this, all freshmen must take a full year Freshman Studies course.
Sidwell's sports teams are known as the Quakers; their colors are maroon and gray. The Quakers compete in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for boys' sports (after previously competing in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) until 1999) and the Independent School League (ISL) for girls' sports. Sidwell offers teams in Volleyball, Golf, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Football, Field Hockey, Girls and Boys Soccer, Boys and Girls Basketball, Swimming, Wrestling, Boys and Girls Tennis, Baseball, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Boys and Girls Track, Ultimate Frisbee, and Softball.
Boys' cross country
Sidwell has a strong tradition in boys' cross country, including winning four consecutive conference championships under Head Coach Bill Wooden from 2006–2009. They produced the area's top runner, 2010 All-Met Athlete of the Year John McGowan '11, who runs for Yale University.
Over the past decade, the Sidwell Friends Boys Soccer program has become one of the preeminent programs in the entire Washington, DC metro area. In fall, 2006, the boys' varsity soccer team compiled a 19–2 record and was recognized as No. 9 in the Washington Post Top Ten soccer schools in the metropolitan area. The 2007 Boys Varsity Soccer team again won the MAAC Boys' Soccer championship and achieved a second consecutive Washington Post Top Ten ranking, reaching No. 3 in the final poll with a 20–2 record. The 2008 team continued their recent success by winning the third consecutive MAAC title, and their 4th in 5 years, with an undefeated 16–0–1 record for the season. Again, the Quakers finished the season ranked No. 3 in the area by the Washington Post and No. 36 nationally by ESPNRise.com. The 2009 squad began the season ranked No. 22 in the country by ESPN. In October 2009 the squad achieved a prestigious No. 1 Washington Post ranking. They also ended up ranked No. 47 in the country.
The wrestling program at Sidwell has also been a success, taking 10th place in the national prep tournament in 2003, and winning the DC Classic, a competition among all DC private schools that compete in wrestling, in 2007 and 2008. In February 2008, the Boys Varsity Wrestling Team claimed their 7th "banner" (conference championship) in 9 years of participating in the MAAC. It was also their 4th straight banner. They established clear dominance, winning the tournament by over 100 points, and boasted 8 MAAC champions and one additional All-MAAC selection. In January 2009, the Sidwell Wrestling team had an impressive showing at the MAAC wrestling tournament—having 7 MAAC champions and winning the tournament by over 80 points. In January 2011, Sidwell Wrestling broke the MAAC record for most consecutive championships, previously held by Sidwell Football, by winning their seventh.
Sidwell Friends School Varsity Boys' Basketball is coached by Sidwell alumnus Eric Singletary '93. Singletary, now in his fourth year, has led the Quakers to conference championships in the 2009–10, 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 seasons. Other recent program highlights include Sidwell's first outright conference championship in Boys' Basketball in the 2006–07 season, with a 14–0 conference record.
The Sidwell Friends girls' varsity basketball program has a long winning tradition, with numerous conference titles as well as local and national rankings. Head Coach Anne Renninger, a pioneering player at the University of Maryland and one of the youngest Division I college coaches ever (at George Washington University), has led the Quakers to over 400 victories. Over a two-year stretch from 1997–1999, the Sidwell girls' basketball team lost only two games, while winning back-to-back conference championships and achieving both Washington Post Top 10 and USA Today rankings. Former Sidwell girls basketball players have gone on to play for schools such as Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Stanford, Tennessee, Harvard, Penn, George Washington and William & Mary.
The Sidwell Friends men's baseball team has been one of the top squads in the MAC in recent years. With a conference championship in 2006, and 3rd place finishes in 2007, 2009, and 2010, the Quakers finished second in the league in 2011 and 2012. The Quakers also won the 2011 Washington DC city title with a victory over Woodrow Wilson High School in the Congressional Bank Classic at Nationals Park.
For the 2014–2015 school year, 1,150 students (569 boys and 581 girls) are enrolled.
47% of the student body belong to ethnic minorities.
24% of the student body receives some form of financial assistance.
The school employs 155 teachers and 112 administrative and support staff.
Tuition for the 2013–2014 school year is $35,264 (prekindergarten-grade 4) and $36,264 (grades 5–12).
The school does not release its SAT average scores or college admission list. However, the school releases to the most recent alumni class a list of which institutions each recently graduated student is attending.
The Middle and Upper School campus is located at 3825 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20016-2907
15 acre (61,000 m²) Wisconsin Avenue campus in the Tenleytown section of Northwest Washington
Earl G. Harrison Jr. Upper School Building
Middle School building with LEED platinum certification, designed by architect KieranTimberlake Associates and landscape design by Andropogon Associates. The wood-clad building was designed around a sustainable use of water and energy, exemplified by a constructed wetland in the center of the campus, part of a wastewater recycling system designed by Biohabitats. On the interior, the building uses thermal chimneys and louvers that admit diffuse light to limit the need for artificial light and thermal control. Lastly, the building contains a centralized mechanical plant that uses less energy than normal, much of which is produced by photovoltaic banks on the roof. The materials used and the environmental technology are referenced architecturally and made accessible to students, either physically, or by explanatory signs, as an educational feature.
Kogod Center for the Arts
Richard Walter Goldman Memorial Library
Zartman House (administration building)
Sensner Building (Fox Den Cafe and school store)
Wannan and Kenworthy Gymnasiums
Three athletic fields, five tennis courts, and a six-lane track.
Parking facility with faculty, student, guest and alumni parking (2 floors, 200+ parking spaces), as well as offices for security, IT and maintenance
5 acre (20,000 m²) Edgemoor Lane campus in Bethesda (formerly Longfellow School for Boys; opened for the 1963–64 school year)
Manor House (classrooms, administration, and Clark Library)
Groome Building (classrooms and multi-purpose room)
Science, Art, and Music (SAM) Building
The Bethesda Friends Meeting House
Athletic fields, a gymnasium, and two playgrounds
Both campuses underwent major renovations throughout the 2005–2006 school year, and construction for the Wisconsin Avenue campus Athletic Center (which includes the Kenworthy Courts) was completed in 2011.