News & Politics

2009 Washingtonian Guide to Private Schools: Special Needs Schools

The + symbol means that the school offers boarding.


Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities, 801 Buchanan St., NE; 202-529-7600; 67 students.    

Inclusive early-childhood intervention and therapeutic services for children ages six weeks to three years; $640 to $831 a month (tuition reduction available through referring agency). Education and therapeutic services for ages 6 through 21 years with developmental disabilities; funded by jurisdiction. Admission generally by referral only.

Kingsbury Day School, 5000 14th St., NW; 202-722-5555; $31,122–$34,797; 215 students. 

Ungraded lower and middle schools with a graded high school. Diagnostic, prescriptive K–12 program for children with learning disabilities, attention deficits, or speech delays.

Recent accomplishment: Kingsbury was the first school in DC to be named a Promise Place under Alma Powell’s America’s Promise program in 2009.

Lab School of Washington, 4759 Reservoir Rd., NW; 202-965-6600; $30,000–$33,000, not including additional services; 352 students.

Ungraded elementary and 7th through 12th grade for ages 6 to 18 with learning disabilities. Diagnostic services, psychological services, speech/language/occupational therapy, tutoring, career and college counseling.

What’s new: The school recently added an assistive-technology program for high-school students with dyslexia.
St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Ave., SE; 202-350-8680; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 280 students.

For students ages 3 to 22 with mental retardation, autism, and secondary disabilities.

What’s new: The school added a new playground for students.


Chelsea School, 711 Pershing Dr., Silver Spring; 301-585-1430; 80 students; $35,895.

5th through 12th grade for children with language-based learning disabilities.

Diener School, 11510 Falls Rd., Potomac; 301-299-4602; 32 students; $33,900, scholarships available.

Graded program for children kindergarten through 5th grade with ADD, ADHD, and learning, language, social, or sensory-processing challenges. The school offers a multi-sensory learning environment with integrated speech and occupational therapeutic services.

Recent accomplishment: It was voted Best Private School Special Education Program by Bethesda magazine in 2009.

Foundation School, 1330 McCormick Dr., Largo; 301-773-3500; tuition paid jurisdiction; 200 students.

1st-through-12th-grade therapeutic program for emotionally disabled students.
Foundation School of Montgomery County, 220 Girard St., Suite 300, Gaithersburg; 301-740-7807; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 87 students.

6th through 12th grades for emotionally diasbled students; special education with therapeutic services.

What’s new: The school moved to a new location in 2007 to provide greater accessibility for students in the Gaithersburg area.

Recent accomplishment: Of the 13 students who graduated in 2009, several are enrolled in colleges and the rest have secured employment.

Frost School, 4915 Aspen Hill Rd., Rockville; 301-933-3451; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 75 students. 

1st through 12th grades serving emotionally troubled, autistic, and learning-disabled students.

Ivymount School, 11614 Seven Locks Rd., Rockville; 301-469-0223; $44,000–$63,000, with most students funded by jurisdiction; 205 students.

Ungraded program for ages 6 to 21 with multiple disabilities, including autism and pervasive developmental disorder. The school offers three distinctive programs: multiple learning needs, autism, and Model Asperger—a graded program for students with non-language-based disabilities. The Model Asperger program is currently open to students in grades 2 through 9, but it will add a new grade each year until it accommodates high-school seniors. 

Katherine Thomas School, 9975 Medical Center Dr., Rockville; 301-738-9691; $23,000–$29,000; 160 students;

Multi-graded pre-K through 12th grade for children with learning and language disabilities and/or high-functioning autism.

What’s new: The school graduated its first full class in 2009, with most students going on to Montgomery College and the workforce.

Kennedy Krieger Institute-Montgomery County, 12301 Academy Way, Rockville; 443-923-4170; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 45 students;

Ungraded program for students ages 10 to 21 with moderate to severe autism and related disorders.

Leary School, 7100 Oxon Hill Rd., Oxon Hill; 301-839-5486; 25-30 students; tuition paid by jurisdiction;

6th through 12th grade for children with learning or emotional problems or multiple handicaps.

What’s new: Last spring, the school added a job-site program in Brandywine to offer vocational-training opportunities.

Lourie School of the Reginald S. Lourie Center, 12301 Academy Way, Rockville; 301-984-4444; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 25 students;  

Pre-K through 5th grade for students with emotional, social, and behavioral disabilities.

What’s new: Under a new 11-month calendar, the school runs from late August through July. It recently restructured its family-therapy groups.

Recent accomplishment: Lourie School was recognized by the National Association of Special Education Teachers as a 2009 School of Excellence.
Phillips School–Laurel, 8920 Whiskey Bottom Rd., Laurel; 301-470-1620; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 123 students.

Therapeutic school serving students ages 8 to 21 with autism, Asperger’s, mental retardation, and emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities.

Summit School, 664 E. Central Ave., Edgewater; 301-261-7704; $27,447; 97 students.

1st through 8th grades for children with dyslexia and other learning differences.

Recent accomplishments: One of the faculty members was recently named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County. In addition, teachers recently completed a yearlong EmPOWER program to instruct students in expository writing.

Commonwealth Academy, 1321 Leslie Ave., Alexandria; 703-548-6912; $28,336; 94 students. 

For 6th-to-12th-grade students who benefit from classes of ten or fewer students and/or those with learning disabilities or ADHD.

What’s new: The school will introduce 4th and 5th grades in fall 2010.

Dominion School, 8000 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield; 703-321-9091; tuition is $40,000 and sometimes paid by jurisdiction; 24 students. 

9th through 12th grades for emotionally and learning disabled.
Leary School of Virginia, 6349 Lincolnia Rd., Alexandria; 703-941-8150; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 41 students.

For students ages 6 to 22 with learning or emotional problems.

Little Keswick School, 500 Little Keswick Dr., Keswick; 434-295-0457; $96,744, not including additional services (paid either by parents or by jurisdiction); 34 students. 

Nine- and twelve-month therapeutic boarding/special-education programs for boys ages 10 to 15 with learning or behavioral difficulties.

What’s new: The school built a new academic center and two new dormitories in 2009.

Recent accomplishment: Little Keswick was named a SEVIS-approved school, meaning it can now accept international students.

Oakland School, Boyd Tavern, Keswick; 434-293-9059. $25,000 (day), $42,000 (boarding); six-week summer day/boarding program $4,400 (day), $7,650 (boarding); 54 students. 

Ungraded for ages 6 to 14 with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and learning differences. There is a graded 9th grade.

What’s new: The school renovated several of its classrooms in 2009.

Oakwood School, 7210 Braddock Rd., Annandale; 703-941-5788; $27,400; 105 students.  

Ungraded (equivalent of K through 8th grade) for bright children with learning differences.

Phillips School–Annandale, 7010 Braddock Rd., Annandale; 703-941-8810; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 220 students. 

For ages 7 to 21 with level-five emotional, learning, and behavioral disabilities.

What’s new: The school is working on increasing its number of community-service projects within the Annandale area.

Timber Ridge School (Leary Educational Foundation), 1463 New Hope Rd., Cross Junction; 540-888-3456; tuition paid by jurisdiction; 80 students. 

Timber Ridge has four residential options depending on the needs of the student, with varying lengths of stay. Its signature program is an 18-to-24-month residential program for emotionally disturbed, socially maladjusted, or learning disabled boys ages 10 to 18.