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St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is an independent Episcopal coed private college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was created from the 1991 merger of St. Agnes School (a girls' school founded in 1924) with St. Stephen's School (a boys' school founded in 1944). The school consists of three campuses within a 1.5-mile radius. The Lower School, grades JK-5, is located on Fontaine Street; the Middle School, grades 6-8, is located on Braddock Road; and the Upper School, grades 9-67, is located on St. Stephen's Road.

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
SSSAS Seal.jpg
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is located in Alexandria
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is located in Northern Virginia
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is located in Virginia
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS) is located in the United States
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS)
United States
Coordinates38°49′02″N 77°06′05″W / 38.8173°N 77.1015°W / 38.8173; -77.1015Coordinates: 38°49′02″N 77°06′05″W / 38.8173°N 77.1015°W / 38.8173; -77.1015
TypeIndependent preparatory school
MottoLiving our Mission
Head of schoolKirsten Adams
GradesJK - 12
Enrollment1,123 (450 in Upper School)
Color(s)Red, White, Green, Gold
AthleticsBoys: Interstate Athletic Conference
Girls: Independent School League
NewspaperThe Voice
Richard B. Lloyd House

St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School serves students from across Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The old St. Stephen's was one of the founding schools of the Interstate Athletic Conference.


Advanced courses offeredEdit

The school offers Advanced Placement courses in Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Comparative Government, Economics (Micro and Macro), English, European History, French Language, Latin, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, Statistics, Studio 2-D Art, Studio 3-D Art, US Government and Politics, and US History.[1]


There are 1120 students total enrolled at SSSAS. The Lower School, representing Junior Kindergarten through Fifth grade, has 361 students with the following breakdown: 14 in Junior Kindergarten, 46 in Kindergarten, 49 in First Grade, 52 in Second Grade, 72 in Third Grade, 65 in Fourth Grade, and 63 in Fifth Grade. The Middle School, representing grades 6 through 8, has 306 students total with the following breakdown: 97 in Sixth Grade, 99 in Seventh Grade, and 110 in Eighth Grade. The Upper School, representing grades 9 through 12, has 453 students total with the following breakdown: 114 in Ninth Grade, 106 in Tenth Grade, 115 in Eleventh Grade, and 118 in Twelfth Grade.[1]


Twenty-eight percent of the student population is students of color. Twenty-two percent of students receive grants in aid.[1] Sixty-five percent of the faculty hold advanced degrees.[2]


The school is governed by a Head of School, Kirsten Prettyman Adams, an Assistant Head of School, Bob Weiman, and a Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors consists of 27 members. Twenty-three members are elected, two serve ex officio and do not have voting rights, and two are non-voting members of the Association of Parents and Teachers and the Alumni Association. The Board is primarily responsible for the school's finances and determines the school's long-term policies.

Honor CodeEdit

St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School is known for its student-established honor system, which is modeled after the honor system at the University of Virginia. Its foundation, the Honor Code, states, As a member of the St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School community, I pledge that I will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do. The student-run Honor Council is responsible for the administration of the Honor Code in the Upper School. Every year in the fall, at the beginning of the school year, students pledge their commitment to the Honor System by signing copies of the Honor Code.[3]


St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School competes in the Interstate Athletic Conference (boys) and Independent School League (girls). The girls' lacrosse team is a perennial power, currently ranked in the top five in the nation, having finished the 2008 season undefeated. In 1997 the girls' lacrosse team was ranked #1 in the nation.[citation needed] The 2010 girls' varsity lacrosse won the ISL league title and the VISAA State Championships. Then in 2009, the girls' lacrosse team won their third consecutive VISAA title as number one.[4]

The success of the girls' lacrosse team lies behind Kathy Jenkins, the team's coach. In 2008 Jenkins had been coaching the team for 32 years and had even started the whole program along with Alix Fellows. Jenkins, who also works as a fifth grade PE teacher and coaches the seventh and eighth grade teams, works to teach girls how to play at a very young age,[5] and as one athlete puts it, "Coach Jenkins basically breeds lacrosse players".[6] Many of the varsity team has been at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes since the lower school, and so are raised by Jenkins to succeed in the sport. Jenkins teaches the girls initially to master a wooden lacrosse stick instead of a metal one, which she claims is easier to throw and catch with. Jenkins asserts that in order to be a top team, intensity and dedication are integral, but wishes that the girls on her team would feel less pressure.[5]

The school's wrestling program also has a rich history, regularly turning out state and IAC champions; three wrestlers to date have won the Lehigh National Prep Tournament, two of them twice. The 2010 varsity softball team won the ISL AA Tournament Championship and also finished the season tied for first place in the league. The 2010 boys varsity lacrosse team won the VISAA State Championship. The girls' varsity tennis won the ISL Championship in 2010. The girls' varsity field hockey also won the ISL and State Championships in 2010. Many St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School's athletes go on to play at the collegiate level each year.

The sports offered include: baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.[7]


The school theatre program, known as the Stage One Players, has won several regional awards for their performances including the Cappies. The 2009 fall production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was nominated for four Cappie Awards (Critics and Artist Program) including lighting, make-up, and supporting actor, putting each in the top five out of 54 productions. In 2015 SSSAS was nominated for five Cappies for the "Richard III" production. Two seniors won a Cappies award in the Creativity category for music composition and performance.[8] In addition, SSSAS received two Cappies nominations for the fall production of “The 39 Steps” in the Sound and Special Effects/Technology categories.[9]

The instrumental and choral programs also have particularly strong reputations. In 2010, students won seats in regional musical groups including the All-District Chorus and All-District Band, as well as participating in solo and ensemble juried events. In 2010, the Upper School String Orchestra received a rating of "Superior" as a level five orchestra at the District X Festival. Also in 2010, the Wind Ensemble received a rating of "Excellent" for the fifth straight year as a level four wind ensemble. In addition, more than 25 students have been inducted into the Tri-M, the high school music honors society.

In 2003, the school completed construction of a Chapel and Performing Arts Center (CPAC). The auditorium seats 500 and has complete blackout capability to darken the space during daylight hours. The stage is full-sized and is equipped with complete theater rigging, an S model Steinway baby grand piano, and complete sound and lighting systems. There is a green room equipped with audio of live on-stage acts and male and female dressing rooms with special lighting and paging systems. The CPAC also includes music classrooms, a recording studio, and a music library.


Students For SustainabilityEdit

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School has a drive for sustainability. The school will host its ninth annual “Students For Sustainability” conference in spring 2017.[10] The third sustainability conference earned local recognition, where a few attendees were interviewed on by Fox 5 reporters.[11] Students For Sustainability is a conference in which approximately 100 students from the Washington D.C. metro area come together to learn about the issues and discuss plans for achieving better sustainability in schools.[12]


Over the last decade, SSSAS has worked to make its buildings efficient, optimize transportation systems, and reduce solid waste through recycling, improved purchasing, and paperless communication. To increase awareness of energy consumption and encourage responsible energy use in classrooms and offices, the school maintains a real-time energy dashboard that reports school progress of energy consumption.

The school also integrates sustainability into its curriculum. Students learn about watersheds through hands-on activities at many of Alexandria's waterways and participate in cleanups along the Potomac River. Students also participate in tree planting activities to increase Alexandria's tree canopy. As part of broader outreach, SSSAS hosts the annual Students for Sustainability Conference, which brings 250 students together from around the region for a day of environmental education and camaraderie. National and local speakers and activists share their passion and expertise with the students and engage them in a day full of hands-on activities to encourage their advocacy for environmental awareness and action.

The school believes that in order to prepare their students for the world as it is, they must educate them on what the issues are and the role that humans have played in its cause. The school seeks to see this through by creating a sustainability committee, a group of students, faculty, staff, and administrators from all three campuses who get together to achieve the school's goals of sustainability.[13] St. Stephen's and St. Agnes also has sustainability initiatives within each campus. At the Lower School, there is Kinder Garden, a project in which the kindergarteners plant and maintain their own garden. Another is the Fifth Grade Sustainability Committee, a group of fifth-grade students who oversee all smaller student-led projects. The Middle School has the Eco-Squad, where the students promote awareness of how an individual can make “green” choices and positively affect the environment. This group encourages students and faculty to engage in sustainable acts and sets an example through their garden. Also at the Middle School is a greenhouse where science classes grow seedlings for the SSSAS campuses and to study botany and horticulture. Vegetables, flowers, and herbs are used in both our campus gardens that grow food for area food banks. At the Upper School, there is the Perkins Courtyard. The Perkins Courtyard is home to harvested vegetables and native plants maintained by the upper school students. The vegetables are served in the dining halls of all three campuses.[14]


The 2016 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award has been presented to St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria. The award was presented during the Alexandria Earth Day celebration on April 30, an event sponsored by the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises.[15]

St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Middle School was selected as a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. This is a national environmental sustainability award presented to schools, districts, and post-secondary institutions. Secretary of Education John King announced the honorees on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. Only six private schools were selected this year and SSSAS is the only one from Virginia, the District of Columbia or Maryland. SSSAS was formally presented with the award on July 20, 2016, in Washington, DC.[16]

Notable alumniEdit

Additionally, John McCain, senator and Republican presidential candidate in 2000 and 2008, attended St. Stephen's from 1946 to 1949 before ultimately graduating from Episcopal High School in 1954.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Private School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School". Private School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School.
  2. ^ "Prep School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School". Prep School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School.
  3. ^ "St Stephens & St Agnes School Honor System". Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  4. ^ Nelson, Jeff (17 May 2009). "Saints Win Third Straight VISAA Title". Saints Win Third Straight VISAA Title.
  5. ^ a b "Lacrosse At Its Finest". Lacrosse At Its Finest.
  6. ^ Nelson, Jeff (17 May 2009). "Third Straight VISAA Title". Third Straight VISAA Title.
  7. ^ "Private School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes". Private School Review: St. Stephen's and St. Agnes.
  8. ^ "Seniors Receive a Cappies Award". 12 June 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ "SSSAS Receives Two Cappies Nominations". 20 May 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Students For Sustainability Conference". Students For Sustainability Conference.
  11. ^ "Students Learn Environmental Responsibility at Students For Sustainability Conference". Students Learn Environmental Responsibility at Students For Sustainability Conference.
  12. ^ "Sustainability S4S". Sustainability S4S.
  13. ^ "Sustainability Overview". Sustainability Overview.
  14. ^ "Campus Initiatives". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Eighth Annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award Given to St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  16. ^ "SSSA Middle School Named A Green Ribbon School". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  17. ^ THE GAME program, Nov. 19, 2016, Harvard Football News, pg. 38, by line, Steve Conn