Our Lady of Victory School (OLV) is a dynamic, diverse Catholic school in Washington, D.C. with 200 students in PK-3 through Grade 8. Recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, the teachers and staff of the school are committed to providing a learning environment that promotes scholarly excellence while fostering students’ moral and spiritual growth. Small class sizes with an average of 18 students in each class, enables individualized attention and for each child to develop his/her unique gifts and talents. Living and teaching the Gospel message helps students develop faith-filled relationships with God and others.
OLV is located in the Northwest Washington, D.C. neighborhood known as the Palisades, – the village within the city-, coupled with its reputation, the school attracts students from a broad variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Students live within the D.C. parish boundaries as well as the greater metropolitan area including MD and VA. The full range of the socioeconomic spectrum is represented; almost all students receive some financial assistance in the form of a special rate due to family circumstance (i.e. multiple children in the school, being practicing Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, recipients of tuition assistance from the Archdiocese of Washington, or DC Opportunity Scholars, etc.). Any socioeconomic differences are transparent in the school as students bond together as one cohesive community. Most students are Catholic, yet 24% practice other Christian traditions. Thirty-eight students claim English as their second language, with sixteen languages represented. The school includes and supports seventeen students with diagnosed learning differences. Enrollment is stable with most attrition due to families moving out of the area. In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the number of applicants seeking an alternative to their public school placement for the middle school grades and families transferring from more expensive private schools. This diversity, together with the school’s warm, nurturing environment, makes OLV a special place.
Parents are an integral part of OLV’s success and serve as both leaders and supporters on school committees and boards, in classrooms, and in fundraising and school activities. Their distinctive cultural and business backgrounds bring a variety of experience and perspectives to support the school.
Teachers are highly qualified, dedicated, diverse, and invested in their students. The 18 full-time faculty members, six part-time teachers and four instructional assistants typically go above and beyond what is required. The school is blessed with an enthusiastic, positive, and determined principal, an administrative team who provides endless support to students, faculty, and visitors, and a strong relationship with the pastor and parish staff. All faculty members participate in educational seminars, with most holding advanced degrees. The turn-over rate is minimal with an average of one or two teacher changes each year.
A rigorous academic curriculum prepares students for the challenges of high school and beyond. Almost all graduates attend the best area Catholic high schools; occasionally a graduate moves out of the area or chooses a magnet program for high school. The core curriculum is complemented by specialized classes exposing students to Spanish, art, technology, music, and physical education. While the smaller class size is often beneficial to learning, it can be a challenge to expand social interactions and form additional groups such as athletic teams and age-based interest clubs. Instructional methods utilize research-based strategies, are informed by data, vary to meet student learning styles, and differentiated to accommodate a range of abilities. Meeting the needs of diverse learners is a consistent topic throughout the professional development sessions and discussions at OLV. Enrichment opportunities are available during and after school, and the D.C. area offers a multitude of exciting field trip opportunities.