Snapshots from Opening Week at Whittle School & Studios DC!

Our Washington, DC Campus opened its doors to Founding Students for the first time on September 3rd for Orientation Day. The campus came to life as 184 students in Pre-school through 10th Grade filled our school with the joy and excitement that comes with the dawn of a new school year, and the founding of a new community. Although just a half-day, it was an exciting first glimpse at a Whittle school day for students, families, faculty, and staff. 

Dennis Bisgaard Whittle
Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, welcoming families as they arrive to school for Orientation Day.
Susanna Stossel Whittle School
Head of Lower School, Susanna Stossel (2nd from right) posing for a photograph with a Founding Family to commemorate the start of school.
Whittle Middle School
Middle School students making fast friends.
Upper School Whittle
Upper School students participating in an ice-breaker activity in the school atrium.
ELC Whittle School
ELC dives right into learning and doing.

Our first official day, Opening Day, began with a “Welcome Parade” to celebrate the grand opening of our DC campus. Faculty and staff lined the entrance to the school cheering on students as they arrived. To the tunes of popular music played by an on-site DJ, students and parents danced their way into school. Our Van Ness neighborhood came alive, buzzing with music, excitement, and cheering. Our executive leadership team was on hand for the momentous occasion, and Founder and CEO, Chris Whittle, greeted each student with a handshake, smile, and inspiring words of encouragement. Our DC Campus Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, and Executive Chairwoman & DC Campus Vice Chancellor, Rebecca Upham, joined the celebration, greeting families with gratitude, excitement and optimism for the years ahead!  

Chris Whittle Opening Day
Founder and CEO, Chris Whittle, welcoming students with a handshake as they arrive for the first full day of school.
Rebecca Upham Whittle
Executive Chairwoman, DC Campus and Vice Chancellor, Rebecca Upham, welcoming students arriving for Opening Day.
Whittle DC Student Opening DayWhittle Students Opening Day DCWhittle Student Opening Day DCWhittle School Family Opening Day
Whittle Boarding Students DC
Students of all ages arrive ready to get the year started!

Our nearby neighbors also participated in our Opening Day festivities. Over 30 embassy dignitary representatives from China, UAE, Italy, among others, arrived on campus for the inauguration of our global school. After cheering on students as they arrived for school, our international guests joined Founder Chris Whittle and other members of our Executive Committee for breakfast and a discussion about our global vision and plans for expansion around the world. 

Whittle School Embassy
Foreign dignitaries learning more about our global growth plans.
Whittle School Embassy Reception
Foreign dignitaries gathering for the reception which took place in our newly renovated community gathering space, the Whittle Commons.

Opening Day celebrations continued with a special assembly for Middle and Upper School students who gathered to hear words of encouragement from both Chris Whittle and Dennis Bisgaard. Four years ago, Mr. Whittle told students, he envisioned a school that put students at the center of learning. He shared his excitement of the first class of Whittle students joining him as self-determined pioneers. Head of School, Mr. Bisgaard, echoed his enthusiasm for this first cohort of students, speaking about the importance of the value of “ubuntu,” or seeing the humanity in others. As a founding class of students, Mr. Bisgaard mentioned the importance of building a school community grounded in empathy for all. Among the activities available to students following the remarks, were a digital photo booth, a craft activity, and temporary tattoo stations. After taking numerous selfies, designing personalized “leaves” for a 3D Whittle tree installation, and making new friends along the way, our Founding Students left the assembly united together as the first ever founding class of Whittle DC.

Chris Whittle DC
Chris Whittle speaking to Middle and Upper School students during the Opening Day assembly.
Whittle Photo Booth
Upper School students posing with Chris Whittle at the Whittle photo booth!
Glitter Tattoo
A student at the glitter tattoo station!

Opening Day concluded with an evening reception for Upper School families, Whittle leadership and members of our faculty. Our boarding families particularly appreciated the chance to connect with fellow Founding Families before heading home.

Dennis Bisgaard Parent Reception Whittle
Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, speaking with parents during the Upper School Family Opening Day Reception.

Our first week ended on a “sweet” note with an all-school ice cream social! Students, families, faculty, and staff gathered outside on Friday afternoon to enjoy soft serve treats, and the opportunity to meet new members of our school community.

Whittle Ice Cream
Teachers and Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, celebrating the first week at Whittle with a sweet treat!

We could not be more excited for the incredible journey ahead!