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Curriculum & Culture

We offer a culture of excellence that incorporates the best of Episcopal education while maintaining the highest academic standards. Children are encouraged to embrace challenge as they work to master key information, wrestle with abstract concepts and develop skills in numerous disciplines.

Our efforts to create an exceptional caring culture are intentional and ever-present. Responsive Classroom techniques are used to teach the children to take care of themselves, each other and the school environment.

Students, including our preschoolers, spend time with a team of talented specialist teachers in STEM, Art, Information Literacy, Physical Education, Spanish and Music. These classes are taught in separate classrooms designed for each area of study.

At St. John's the classroom is merely a stepping-stone into the world around us. From venturing outside for science class to taking full advantage of our close proximity to Baltimore and Washington, DC, opportunities for wonder and discovery are limitless.

Community & Chapel

Children experience chapel everyday as an integral part of the academic experience at St. John's. Daily chapel is a time of community, prayer, song and reflection. We provide an atmosphere that fosters spiritual grounding in the Episcopal tradition with respect for the beliefs of all people of all faiths.

Our Teachers

To be a positive light in a child's life is the ultimate goal for teachers at St. John's. Our teaching staff come from impressive backgrounds and over 45% hold advanced degrees. They are the lifeblood of the school community and take a front-seat in decisions related to curriculum and daily life. The lessons our teachers create exceed national standards. Our teachers are coveted for their creativity and connection with their students.

The spirit with which our teachers teach goes back in school history to our founding teacher, Betty Ford Umbach, who knew she could offer a curriculum that surpassed that of the public schools. In September of 1965, after much preparation, building and donations from parishioners, Mrs. Umbach opened with a parent and child tea party. From its humble beginnings until now, SJPDS continues to be a light unto all who attend.

Those who answer the call of teaching are special people. The faculty plays a central role in the life of an independent school. Teacher's talents, experience and commitment to the school's philosophy are vital. 

Our teachers are captains of their ships. National, AIMS and NAES standards are their compass, but at St. John's our teachers are coveted for their creativity and connection with their students. Children can take a topic into uncharted waters in no time! St. John's teachers are given the freedom to explore the uncharted waters.
"St. John's is an excellent place for the teacher who loves to teach. I have the freedom to take an extra day, and run with an idea that has sparked the attention of my students. I'm not tied to a rigid lesson plan like in many public schools." --- Grade 4 Teacher
"No two children are alike; what works in the classroom for one may not always work for another. Independent schools are designed around that very principle - to understand the individual needs of each child. This commitment to know and serve every student is at the heart of independent schools' success - it's why each school has a distinctive educational mission and creative teachers who are freed from standardized approaches to classroom instruction." --- AIMS