Emerson Preparatory School
1816 12th Street NW
Emerson, founded in 1852, is a small, independent, and diverse college preparatory day school for students in grades 9-12. Our mission is to provide a happier and healthier path to a higher education for bright students who thrive in a small and inclusive community.
Emerson Preparatory School began in 1852 as the Emerson Institute, a school to prepare local boys for attendance at Harvard. It was named after George Barrell Emerson, a progressive thinker in women's education, and cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Early Emerson graduates include three-time Civil War Medal of Honor recipient James Madison Cutts, and Buck and Jesse Root Grant, sons of President Ulysses S. Grant.
Emerson evolved to become a more inclusive college preparatory school, becoming Washington’s first co-ed preparatory school in 1920. After World War II, in 1946 Emerson adopted its current half-year, full-credit academic term system, modeled after the British system of secondary education. Today Emerson welcomes a diverse student body from all parts of DC, suburban Maryland and Virginia, and the international community, preparing them in a happier, healthier way for colleges and universities throughout the United States and the world.
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