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A Parent's Perspective

Hello, ITDS community!! My name is Jen, and I have two sons at Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, one in 6th grade, and the other in 8th grade. This is our 9th year with the school, and we are in a very reflective mood. Our current 8th-grade class has worked tremendously hard this year and are making plans for their high school adventures.
We chose ITDS for our oldest, and our youngest, for many reasons, but these were paramount: we need our children to be educated in an environment whose value system echoes that of our family; an environment that engenders a thirst for knowledge; one that helps to grow good humans who passionately care about their fellow humans, communities, and planet. ITDS checked the box. From the beginning, ITDS sent a strong message to students that all areas of their lives matter; and moreover, a clear mandate that we not only take care of and know ourselves, but we take care of and know those around us. We value each other. Through the years we also learned that the focus on student inquiry and project-based, experiential learning created very engaged learners. Our sons have thrived in this environment.
This is our oldest’s 9th year and our youngest’s 7th year in the ITDS community. This is what I know: Our sons have agency in their learning. They are seen and valued. Their voice matters.

I can say with great confidence that both of our boys have experienced profound friendships; learned how to navigate and persist through adversity; challenged themselves to venture way out of their comfort zone, and have the confidence to be keenly excited about what comes next.
For us parents, we’ve met some of our closest DC friends through the ITDS community. These friends have lifted us up, cheered our sons on, given countless rides to practices and birthday parties, provided a shoulder to cry on, a porch to chat on, and belly laughs to last a lifetime. To us, DC is ITDS.
Our children have had profoundly wonderful teachers. Just last night, we received an email from our oldest’s 1st-grade ITDS teacher, who is no longer at the school. He had watched a video about the Inquiry Project on the ITDS Facebook page. And just this morning, as my husband was going through boxes of “stuff” in our basement, he found a hand-written card from our youngest’s kindergarten teacher assistant thanking him for his unique gifts.
I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how happy we are that we stayed with ITDS as it grew its middle school. Many of our friends left in 5th and 6th grade. Each child meant so much to us, and their absence was deeply felt. BUT… we stayed. And we are so thankful. ITDS has prepared our older son for what comes next. He will graduate this June and move on to his new high school in the fall with confidence and pride (maybe some nerves mixed in too). The progressive pedagogy that he was educated under was a resounding success. Our 8th graders were incredibly successful in their high school applications and were very competitive in the independent school landscape (which says A LOT— because of the pandemic, this was a banner year for independent school application numbers). We are SO proud of this group of 14-year-olds. They are amazing. We look forward to our younger son’s continued ITDS journey, and we know with confidence that he will gain entrance to a wonderful high school.
Here’s to all of you trying to make things work during these incredibly challenging times. Here’s to our school and to our children who will persist!