ParentsNewsRenweb
 
About

History

The Siena School® was established in 2006 to provide students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, a rich and meaningful education that would prepare them for college, and for success in life.  As the program took shape, a larger opportunity, and its mission, became clear:  create one of the nation’s finest schools for bright students who learn differently.

The school takes its name from the town Siena, Italy, in part to emphasize its strong focus on the arts.  In addition, Siena’s patron saint, St. Catherine, was a highly regarded renaissance scholar who only learned to read later in life.  Much of her work was accomplished through accommodations such as dictation.  Siena’s logo, two Italian cypress trees, represents the school’s focus on the personal dialogue between each teacher and student that helps inspire learning and motivation.

Siena quickly established itself as both a local and national presence. In 2007, Siena founded the Siena Educational Workshop Series, offering workshops to area parents, teachers, tutors and other professionals on many aspects of educating students with language-based learning differences. In 2008, Siena became fully accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Siena staff members have presented at national and international conferences including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), and Siena is a member of both those organizations, in addition to ThinkNation, a national cohort of private schools dedicated to best practices in teaching students with learning differences. In 2009, a group of parents established The Siena School Scholarship Fund to further and support Siena's mission by providing scholarship funding. In the spring of 2010, Siena graduated its first senior class. In January, 2013, the school moved to its current location, located conveniently at the Capital Beltway and a short distance from the Forest Glen Metro station.

Siena’s numerous traditions include the Siena Celebration each October, during Dyslexia Awareness month. At this celebration, the school recognizes key supporters and presents the annual Siena Cypress Leadership Award to a local or national leader who has made a difference in the lives of students with learning differences. Past winners include Dr. William Stixrud, a prominent local neuropsychologist, and best-selling author Rick Riordan, whose series Percy Jackson and the Olympians features a main character with dyslexia and ADHD.

Siena’s cross-curricular emphasis, significant program in the arts, and its interscholastic sports program, internship program, parents association and close connections to the community combine to give students a wide variety of experiences in preparing them for college, as confirmed by its first graduating students who have reported successful transitions. Siena grew to over 100 students in 2015, and looks forward to continued growth as it serves bright, creative students who thrive in a multisensory, experiential learning environment.

Key Highlights in Siena’s History

2006 – 2007
  • The first full year of the school included 30 students (grades 5 – 9) and a handful of teachers at the Montgomery Hills Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Siena Scholarship Fund created to support financial aid program
  • Civic leaders including the local Congressman and several State officials gather to honor Siena’s opening
  • Advisory board of national leaders formed
2007 – 2008
  • Siena grows to 45 students, adds 10th grade
  • 17 faculty and staff
  • Elementary program begins with addition of 4th grade
  • Siena Parent Association established
  • Siena Cypress Leadership Award established.  First award given to William Stixrud, Ph.D., a prominent local neuropsychologist.
2008 – 2009
  • 62 students, 17 faculty and staff.
  • 11th grade added
  • First competitive athletic teams: soccer, basketball, track, softball
  • Siena Cypress Leadership Award given to best-selling author Rick Riordan, whose series Percy Jackson and the Olympians features a main character with dyslexia and ADHD.
  • High school internship program begins
  • Guest Speakers include Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock 9
  • Middle States Accreditation
2009-10
  • 72 students, 19 faculty and staff
  • Established 12th grade curriculum, first graduating class, college counseling program established
  • Siena joins NAIS
2010-11
  • Siena's 5th anniversary!
  • 75 students, 19 faculty and staff
  • Siena presents with Dr. Bill Stixrud at NAIS Annual convention, accepted to present at IDA international conference in fall of 2011
  • First Siena Scholarship Foundation Evening Fundraiser
2011-12
  • 78 students, 21 faculty and staff
  • Siena receives Special Exception to operate at 1300 Forest Glen Road
  • Siena presents at NAIS Annual Conference in Seattle and at IDA conference in Chicago
  • Siena introduces House system
  • Guest speakers include Seth Goldman,CEO of Honest Tea, Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Clinton
  • Siena acknowledged in “Take Control of Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties” by Jennifer Engel Fisher
2012-13
  • 80 Students, 21 faculty and staff
  • Siena moves to new campus at 1300 Forest Glen Rd, January, 2013
  • First ever Band Night and Spanish Play
  • Siena becomes a Certified Maryland Green School
  • Siena listed as a feature school in Rich Weinfeld’s second edition, Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties, Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential
2014-15
  • 100 students, 27 faculty and staff
  • Siena presents "Oliver!", its first full Broadway musical production
2015-16
  • Siena's 10th Anniversary!
  • 114 students, 29 faculty and staff
  • First students to graduate who have spent full nine years at Siena grades 4-12
  • Girl's Varsity Basketball won ISSAC Division
  • Presented "Anything Goes" musical
  • Best in Show winner- Washington School of Photography's All Montgomery Exhibition
  • Honorable mention- Van Hollen Congressional Art Competition
  • Glen Echo Photoworks- winner
  • Launched 5 Year Strategic Plan
  • Released first Annual Report

search login