Rival Reviews: School Without Walls


Becca Green and Francesca Purificato

TIGERS IN BLACK AND WHITE – Esteemed rival review authors Rebecca Green and Francesca Purificato pose in front of SWW paraphernalia. The pair were underwhelmed by what the school had to offer.

Hello dear readers and Tess Buckley (who we know reads these despite going to Walls). In light of the new staff cycle (see new titles above) we’ve decided to expand our horizons for our beloved column. Known for our renowned preppy private school reviews, we’ve decided to move on to bigger and better (?) things: public and charter. What better way to start this new chapter than with perhaps Jackson-Reed’s biggest rival: School Without Walls. 

After checking Google Maps and learning that it would take 40 minutes to take the Metro from Tenleytown, we opted for the 20-minute drive. That was our first mistake. After one wrong turn, we were on Key Bridge, headed straight to Virginia with no opportunity to turn around. 

After three more wrong turns and a long, stressful 45 minutes later, it’s safe to say the train would have been faster.

Finally finding parking downtown, we made our way to the campus where we entered what could have been a modern townhouse acting as a school building. Inside, classroom furniture and architecture resembled that of the one and only Alice Deal Middle School, which was cause for some scary flashbacks.

We passed through security (for the first time on these tours), which welcomed us to the public school feel. Inside there was a small cafeteria/auditorium/library/lounge combo. Similar to JR, Walls attempted “Senior Steps,” where students were diligently working, upholding the classic Walls Kid stereotype that we all know and love.

We were most impressed by the patio at the back of the building where students have outdoor seating space to do work, eat lunch, and catch a view of Foggy Bottom. 

Our favorite part of Walls was its location. Staying true to its name, the school does feel immersed in city life hence their “we have no walls, the city is our playground” motto. Being downtown with a brighter variety of people and places is a cool aspect of the school, helping create a nice environment.

However, this unique immersion comes with a price: sharing facilities and buildings with The George Washington University. This results in both a lack of facilities for Walls and resentment from college students sharing a campus with high schoolers. Can you blame them?

Other than the strenuous workload and the squished school building, nothing really stood out to us. We expected great things from such a great rival, but we were met with lacklusterness. Although, is it really a rivalry if JR always wins?