Who We Are
Ross Elementary is public school on the move. Serving children in PK4 through grade 5, Ross is situated in the heart of Dupont Circle in a charming historic building with a beautiful playground and playing field. The teachers and staff bring outstanding qualifications and commitment to their professions and the student population is small and diverse. Our dedicated and close-knit parent community feels that these are central to a positive elementary school experience.
In the words of the beloved children’s story, Miss Rumphius, we understand that “you must do something to make the world more beautiful.” Shelley Harwayne in her groundbreaking book Going Public says it another way, “We want to raise wide-awake children who pay attention to and take responsibility for their world.” Part of this is knowing not just that our children will learn to read, write, and do arithmetic well, but that they will “choose” to do so. Hand-in-hand our community of teachers, professionals, and parents, “help children see the richness of their lives” and how this “literacy” can enrich and improve not only the quality of their lives, but of those around them.
The school is named for John W. Ross who was an attorney, commissioner of the District of Columbia, and a member of the school system’s board of trustees.
Built in 1888 at a cost of $27,000, the John W. Ross School at 1730 R Street NW is a prime example of redbrick box design used by the Office of the Building Superintendent to build many schools in the District of Columbia in the 1880s and 1890s. When it opened for classes in 1889, the building was initially named the Adams School (for the nation’s 6th President, John Quincy Adams); the Adams School subsequently moved to its current location at 2020 19th Street NW. The original Ross School was on Harvard Street NW between 11th and 13th and it moved to the R Street building in 1935.