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 founding Head of School at Van Ness Elementary. While at Van Ness, Cynthia has assembled an award-winning team of teachers who have successfully implemented a socio-emotional learning approach and rigorous academic instruction with strong results. Before her return to school leadership, Cynthia worked in the DCPS central office as the Director of Teacher Retention and Recognition. In that role, she developed projects to improve retention of highly effective teachers, including 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. Prior to her work on teacher retention, Cynthia directed the DCPS master educator program during the inaugural year of IMPACT, the district’s teacher evaluation system. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Art from Stanford University, M.A. in Education from George Washington University, and EML from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She is a fellow with the first class of the Aspen-Pahara Teacher Leaders Fellowship, a recipient of the Rubenstein Award for highly effective leadership, and a faculty member with 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.