Here’s what people are saying about our approach to instruction, faculty and staff, and the opportunities given to students while attending The Hague School… 


“I recently observed an Environmental Science class at The Hague School and witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of conference-style learning.  With annotated materials and their laptops in hand, students gathered around the table with their teacher where they engaged in what quickly became an in-depth exploration of the subject of water pollution.  Except for the teacher’s clarifications and directed questions, the students were front and center in the conversation.  They discussed.  They posed questions.  They searched for answers.  They shared the information their research unearthed and considered the veracity of their findings.  They developed a list of relevant terms and definitions.  They created a concise list of key points.  Their enthusiasm was palpable.  They were engaged!  Best of all, they were most definitely learning.”  – Susan Motley, M.A., Retired Secondary Teacher
“I am very excited and supportive of the innovative approach to learning underway at The Hague School.  Students are engaged in unique critical thinking tasks that will prepare them for the challenges of the 21st Century.” – Dr. Stephen C. Jones, Former Norfolk Superintendent of Schools  
“An opportunity to change the process of existing institutions like secondary education comes along once in lifetime, but that is exactly what is happening right now at The Hague School in Ghent, Norfolk.  Paul and Jennifer Warren, along with Head of School Michael Spencer, have introduced the Harkness Method of teaching high school students in groups of no more than 10-12 students sitting literally around a conference-type table with the instructors teaching as facilitators rather than lecturing.  But if you doubt the Norfolk area needs another private school, put that concept out of your mind; in the case of The Hague School, seeing and hearing is believing!  Make an appointment to come and sit with the students and their instructors as they learn a traditional curriculum – in fact based on that of the International Baccalaureate Programme – in a brand new way.  You’ll end up confirmed that there is another way to teach high school students…that’s real learning!” – Alan Flanders, Ph.D, Former columnist, author, and university professor
Working with students at The Hague School on the processes of doing and reporting textual research, I was very impressed to see how engaged they were and with school’s approach to education.  I do not always get this level of engagement with my college students, so these ninth graders are building a strong foundation for standing out in higher education. Likewise, I was pleased to see that these students have a good working knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research, as well how to distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources.”  – Kevin E. DePew, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Writing Pedagogy, Old Dominion University 
“I had the pleasure of leading a program on marine debris awareness with ten wonderful 9th grade students from The Hague School.  We learned about decomposition rates for different types of pollution in the water and cleaned out our three Seabins located in our Nauticus marina to remove marine debris from our Elizabeth River.  I was truly impressed at the level of knowledge they shared about our environment being affected, from plastic pollution in our waters to excess CO2 in our atmosphere, as well as ways they can help resolve the issues of marine pollution.  The world is definitely going to be a better place to live in because of these amazing students!” – Susie Hill, Nauticus Special Programs Manager
“I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the students at The Hague School about the Elizabeth River watershed and the environmental challenges we are facing in South Hampton Roads. I was greatly impressed by their knowledge and the questions that they asked and I look forward to seeing them collaborate to address local issues related to climate change and sea level rise. These students are openly excited to learn and take action and will undoubtedly play a vital part in our resilience efforts.” – Sarah McBride​, Youth Resilience Coordinator, The Elizabeth River Project
“This is what Hampton Roads has been waiting for…a college preparatory high school where students learn how to ask questions and discuss their ideas every day!  It’s learning for knowledge and not memorizing for an SOL exam.  The Harkness Method teaching style being offered at The Hague School helps render young leaders ready for college and beyond.  It’s flat out incredible.” – Brenda Reid, President of the Southeast Region, Howard Hanna Realty
“What they say about life is so true – you remember people for how they made you feel.  Mr. Spencer always made me feel important and seen, which meant a lot to me as an awkward high school student.  He was a no-nonsense administrator, but he had a heart of gold and a great personality.  I’m excited to see that another generation of students will be benefiting from his leadership!  -Lucy Hundley, Marketing Project Manager, Tidewater Community College
The conference method of instruction is every teacher’s dream.  You’re working as one of a group.  You’re not on the spot; you’re part of a team, a learning team.  You’re prepared, you’re engaged, and you’re responsible.  It’s not one person benefiting, everyone benefits.  The conference method of instruction is particularly important in science as it teaches students how to communicate their knowledge, allowing them to move people, move policy, and influence the world.” – David Engel, Ph.D, Environmental Science Teacher – Fairfax County Schools


“Nick is happy and thriving at The Hague School, because he feels welcome, challenged, and supported every day, by the faculty, staff, and other students. He definitely has to work hard, as the classes are rigorous and the instructors have high standards, but the work is meaningful, and therefore engaging. He has gained so much confidence from participation in the Harkness method class discussions, and it shows in every area of his life.”  – Kate Davis
“We just moved to Norfolk from New York City, where our daughter had visited and applied to 20 different selective high schools.  After all of this, how surprising for us that the best choice of all was in Norfolk, VA, where we unexpectedly moved for my husband’s job.  The Hague School has a level of personalization, rigor, and warmth that is made possible by its small size and dedication to the Harkness method of instruction. Our daughter is already becoming better at thinking, debating, and crafting ideas of her own with supporting evidence.  We feel very lucky to be a part of this new education community.”  – Jennifer Stillman
“We gave The Hague School a chance, and I’m so glad we did.  My daughter has blossomed there academically, and we credit much of that to the conference method of teaching.  The students sit at conference tables, much like in the business world, and discuss the different points of each subject while supporting their ideas with the material.  This has proven to be much more effective for her than sitting at a desk and listening to a teacher lecture.  She interacts with the other students and teachers, resulting in a much deeper understanding of each subject.  The teachers, by the way, are fantastic – much more akin to college professors, but in a small group setting.  In the months since school has started, it has become very obvious that the teachers and administrators alike genuinely care about my child’s progress and wellbeing.  I can’t say enough good things about this school.”  – Parke Brinkley 
“We were searching for a better education for our son; we found that and so much more at The Hague School. From Model UN to the Mexico school trip to local volunteer events, THS has provided — and continues to provide — an incredibly unique and fulfilling educational experience. The staff is helpful and caring, and the instructors are devoted to their craft and the students. Paul and Jennifer Warren have built the most wonderful learning environment, and we are so thankful that our son is part of it.”  – Heather Rutheford


“I have found a way to bond with my fellow classmates in ways that I didn’t at my old schools. It’s almost as if we’re like a family … there aren’t any cliques. We help each other, and I like that a lot. Each of us have our own abilities. My classmates have helped me to learn a lot of new concepts. I also have the ability to help them as well. – Jin
“The Harkness way of learning has helped me build confidence and improve my public speaking skills. I feel like I can get my point across and prove my points with evidence … this has been such a good experience because I now fully understand all the topics and everything makes sense to me.  – Addie
“This school pushes you to work harder and be the best version of yourself. I feel like I can really say what I want to without thinking that I’m going to be judged.  – Cam
Though a small school, it might seem like you are less likely to make friends because there are less people you have a chance in relating to, but it’s actually the opposite and we are a very close knit community. Academically, I’ve improved in being able to write structured essays. In both English Literature and Research & Composition, writing those structured essays has given me the ability to do so with ease. I’ve learned to deepen my understanding through discussion, not just reading. – Charlotte
One of the things that I have learned most is that the one who does the work does the learning.  – Katie
“This school is fun and helps you learn in a way other schools don’t use. The students treat others with respect and there are no cliques.”  – Justina
“I am learning more and having fun. We have fantastic teachers! I have most enjoyed our trips to the Chrysler Museum and Botanical Gardens.” – Nick
“I feel I’ve grown the most in Algebra and Geometry, which I didn’t enjoy before, but now I thoroughly enjoy math.”  – Conner
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