GW Community School

GW Community School

The GW Community School is a teacher-owned and operated coeducational college preparatory school located in Springfield, Virginia, USA. It was founded in 1999 by Richard Goldie and Alexa Warden to serve the needs of bright, non-traditional learners and their families. It currently has an enrollment of 61 students, grades 9-12. Despite being located just outside the nation's capital, the "GW" does not stand for "George Washington" but for "Goldie" and "Warden" the last names of the school's founders and current directors.


The GW Community School (GWCS) is dedicated to providing individualized flexibility within a supportive academic environment. In keeping with this philosophy, the school offers several innovative programs:

  • Advisory groups comprised of 4-6 students and a teacher who meet every day to discuss the students academic progress and issues related to working within the school community.
  • Flexible instructional options, including independent study and online courses.
  • Each student and faculty member is issued a laptop computer which connects to a wireless network within the school building.
  • Cross-registration for seniors at Northern Virginia Community College.

In keeping with the philosophy of a teacher-owned and operated school, teachers have a large degree of flexibility over curriculum and instructional methods. As a result, classes like "Conspiracy Theories," "Political Geography" and "Sea Adventures" are held alongside more traditional class offerings.


  • Coyote Day (May 2nd, or the nearest available Friday) is a day dedicated to teacher appreciation and community involvement.
  • The Annual Super Smash Bros Tournament. As might be expected from a school in which all students receive computers, there are video games that catch on and enjoy popularity. None, however, enjoy as much as Super Smash Bros.
  • The senior trip is a Student Government funded holiday for all seniors during Mid-May. The seniors stay in a beach house over a four or five-day weekend.
  • Senior quilts are sewn by parents. The quilts are given to each graduating senior, and bear patterns chosen specially for each student, and quotes and messages from students and staff.
  • Every graduating senior speaks at graduation. These speeches are the centerpiece of the graduation ceremony, and range from quick thank-yous to 5 minutes or more in length.

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