Our School

Our Vision
Children, families, and educators come together to create an inclusive community that provides authentic experiences and engages the whole child. Our aim is to cultivate critical thinkers and develop a generation of confident, curious, and compassionate members of society.

  • Our emphasis is on caring for the whole child, with PE or movement every day, yoga, and mindfulness lessons for our children.
  • Our students are encouraged to think critically so that they are prepared for a global economy.
  • We offer a nurturing school family and follow the Conscious Discipline approach to behavior.
  • Head of School

    Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, Head of School
    Cynthia Robinson-Rivers is the Head of School at Van Ness Elementary. She previously worked as an Assistant Principal for Literacy at Seaton Elementary where she was responsible for improving reading instruction. Under her leadership, Seaton had double-digit gains in reading, growing 16% on the annual DC CAS assessment. Prior to Seaton, Cynthia was the Director of Teacher Retention and Recognition where she developed projects to help DCPS keep its outstanding teachers. Those projects included LIFT: Leadership Initiative for Teachers, a career ladder system for teachers, and Teaching In Action, a program that connects teachers with high performing colleagues for classroom observations. Cynthia served as director of the master educator program during the first year of the new teacher evaluation system, IMPACT, and evaluated early childhood teachers across the district. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Art from Stanford University and M.A. in Education from George Washington University. She is an Aspen Institute Fellow with the first class of the Aspen-Pahara Teacher Leaders Fellowship, a recipient of the Rubenstein Award for highly effective leadership, and a fellow for the Harvard Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute. Cynthia and her husband live in Washington, DC with their three children who all attend DC Public Schools.