The Washington Jesuit Academy is a middle school for boys from low-income communities in 4th through 8th grades.
The mission of the Washington Jesuit Academy is to provide a high quality and comprehensive education to boys from low-income communities, offering them a safe, rigorous academic setting and advancing their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical growth.
The guiding vision of the Washington Jesuit Academy is to create an education model that addresses the cycle of poverty that plagues our students’ communities, and replaces it with a cycle of hope, determination and success. In order to challenge the city’s widening achievement gap and bleak graduation statistics for low-income males, WJA incorporates the Magis (“the more”) and asks the important question: What more can we do for our students, our families and our community to change the face of urban education?
We instill in our students the confidence to find “the more” in themselves, giving them the necessary tools of moral character and compassion. Through the principles of a WJA education, students become willing to be courageous, and just in their actions, as well as active in their acceptance of God, their own gifts, and others. We believe that every student will learn to lead purpose-driven lives as members of their communities, becoming reflective, action-oriented citizens whose focus will be improving the lives of those most in need.
At WJA we believe that all young people who want to go to college should have the means and support to attend and succeed. A growing community of WJA alumni scholars who might not otherwise have been able to attend college are learning, graduating, or contributing to the workplace and our world because of the scholarships, mentoring, and support services offered to them by the Academy.
WJA students attend school from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. Long hours give teachers additional time to teach and influence students inside and outside the classroom. Their day includes:
WJA students attend a mandatory Summer Institute in June and July. They take rigorous core courses each morning and spend afternoons doing enrichment activities, playing sports, implementing service projects and developing leadership and teamwork skills.
WJA students eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at school each day. Through a partnership with the DC Central Kitchen’s Fresh Start Catering, these meals are fresh, nutritious, often local and organic, and prepared on site. Students have access to an unlimited salad bar daily, as well as the whole grains, lean meats and natural ingredients that are often prohibitively expensive for their families.
WJA students meet with their Formation groups each day. These small peer groups and a teacher-mentor discuss and reflect on personal, school-wide and national issues.
After students graduate from WJA, they receive ongoing support as they continue their education in high school. WJA’s Graduate Support Program provides access to enrichment and leadership opportunities as well as assistance college admissions and financial aid processes.
A perennial “favorite moment” of their WJA experience, students attend two retreats each year. They have the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness, reflect on their decisions and goals and encourage one another.
They endure an extended-day, extended-year structure and meet WJA's high expectations for academic achievement.
We celebrate diversity at the Academy. Students are accepted without regard to race, ethnicity and religion, and they learn tolerance and respect for all groups.
81% are African-American
16% are Latino
3% are Bi-racial
79% are non-Catholic
WJA students come from some of the most underserved neighborhoods in the Washington, DC areas. Because of this, all students attend WJA on a full scholarship provided by members of the greater DC community.
WJA’s curriculum incorporates character education and a commitment to service. As such, students graduate from the Academy willing to be courageous, just in their actions and active in their acceptance of God, their gifts and others.
The WJA graduate shows his willingness to be courageous by being engaged, open to growth, disciplined, creative and compassionate in his desire to be committed to justice, all of which advance his formation as a Man for Others. He realizes he may have to act in a counter-cultural manner, but he has the moral strength to make the proper decisions for the greater good
The WJA graduate is just in his actions by being disciplined, intellectually committed, environmentally conscious, compassionate, and proactive in the service of justice. He recognizes his responsibility to be a leader in his community to accomplish the greater good.
The WJA graduate is active in His acceptance of God, his gifts and others by being reflective, engaged, compassionate, disciplined, grateful, and joyful in his personal relationship with God. He is mindful of the application of his gifts and continues to be accepting and inclusive in his service to God and others for the greater good.
The Washington Jesuit Academy is “a Catholic school formed under the auspices of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and operated according to Jesuit educational principles.” It is committed to living up to the ideals espoused by St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus.
While WJA is a Catholic school, it respects the fact that most of its students are not Catholic. It seeks to encourage students to grow in their respective beliefs and recognize that spirituality is an integral part of human growth and development.
As a Jesuit institution, Ignatian Spirituality is the fabric woven through all of our programs. Cura personalis speaks to the care of the whole person: mind, body and spirit. This view of education yields an relational and unique school. Our model includes a rigorous academic year, challenging curriculum, an array of extra-curricular activities, cutting edge technology, an integrated arts program, athletics, a comprehensive summer program, a Graduate Support Department, and much more.
Students at the Washington Jesuit Academy are constantly encouraged to develop strong personal values and convictions. St. Ignatius believed that students should be intellectual, compassionate, conscientious, disciplined, spiritual and responsible. This is the foundation of what we strive to lead our young men to become — “Men for Others.”
For more information about Ignatian Spirituality, please contact our Ignatian Coordinator, Bob Wassmann at (202) 832-7679.