FAQ

Q: Does a student need a minimum score on the intellectual (IQ ) tests in order to be admitted to The Nysmith School?

A: Yes. Our common goal is for children to thrive at Nysmith.  By enrolling children with an IQ range above a certain level, we maximize the chances that students will be able to pick up the information quickly. This minimizes the need for repetition and allows students and teachers to dig more deeply into the course material. It also makes it possible for students to explore and master subject material several grade levels above their “age group.” Finally, it makes it possible for children to enjoy the company of like-minded peers.

Q: Is The Nysmith School mainly for students who are interested in science, math, or technology?

A: No! The Nysmith School has exceptional academic programs in all areas. It’s true that science-oriented students thrive in our hands-on labs and that our computer classes teach programming and publishing tools. However, students who love reading can delve into seminar-style discussions and closely analyze rich text. History buffs will develop the advanced skills necessary to see the subtle connections and patterns that make social studies so fascinating. If students love to learn, they will thrive at The Nysmith School.

Q: Where do your graduates go to high school?

A: Our Middle School Director and Guidance Counselor work very closely with each Nysmith family to find the best high school placement for their student.  The Nysmith School annual High School Fair is attended by over 35 exceptional schools from up and down the East Coast who are eager to recruit our graduates. Each year, many of our Nysmith graduates are accepted to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), in Alexandria, VA.  Nysmith graduates have also attended excellent local schools such as Sidwell Friends, Madeira, St. Stephens and St. Agnes, National Cathedral, Landon, Georgetown Prep, Potomac and Flint Hill.  Our students have also been offered admission to outstanding East Coast boarding schools such as Phillips Exeter, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, and Emma Willard.  For a more complete listing of schools, please contact Eileen Balberde, our Admissions Director.

Q: I don’t want my child overburdened and stressed. What is your homework policy?

A: Our overarching philosophy is that children should enjoy their childhood even as they prepare for the future. We teach students how to plan, organize, and complete their homework in a timely manner – a skill that will serve them well in high school. Nysmith students generally have no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade four or five times a week. For example, a second grader should have no more than 20 minutes of homework a night, four or five nights a week. Homework that is due on Monday is rarely assigned on Friday; this allows students time for their own weekend activities.

Q: How does education for the gifted differ from more conventional education?

A: Such education operates on a different set of instructional assumptions. Gifted children often need special guidance in becoming creative, productive learners. Because they often “get it” very quickly, being forced to endure multiple presentations of already mastered material can cause such children to be bored and frustrated. However, when their frequent and probing questions are encouraged – and answered – they can thrive.

Q: What do your graduates tell you about the Nysmith educational experience?

A: We hear that our graduates:

  • Feel quite confident about their general academic preparation.
  • Are among the strongest writers in their freshman classes.
  • Are comfortable in their math classes.
  • Realize that much of the science they learn in their high school honors courses was covered in their fifth-grade biology or sixth-grade chemistry classes.
  • Are actually over-prepared for Level II of their foreign language instruction.

Q: What is included in your tuition? Are there any hidden costs?

A: Unlike other area private schools, our tuition covers all textbooks, classroom resource materials and workbooks, school supplies, science lab materials, art studio materials, local day-long field trips, annual PTO membership, a Nysmith School yearbook, family socials, and even daily preschool snacks. As to hidden costs, Nysmith School does not conduct any additional fundraising, nor do we ask for contributions towards a capital or building fund. We strive to make our annual tuition truly all-inclusive.

Q: Do you offer financial aid?

A: Yes, we do offer financial aid. You may obtain further information by visiting our Financial Aid Info page, under Admissions, on this website.  We also encourage you to discuss your financial questions at length with Gabrielle Silver in our Business Office. We are confident that we offer an excellent educational value, and welcome the opportunity to provide you with additional details as desired.