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Best of Arlington 2014

Kids, Families & Schools

Best Private School

Bishop O’Connell High School

With its nationally ranked softball and boys’ basketball teams, Bishop O’Connell is known as a sports powerhouse. But its academic track record is nothing to sneeze at.

For the nearly 1,200 students enrolled, the Roman Catholic school offers 26 Advanced Placement classes and a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1.

O’Connell’s Class of 2013 was offered more than $15 million in college scholarships and grants. And 128 members of that graduating class were recognized as AP Scholars by the College Board.

Nevertheless, the competitive school isn’t resting on its laurels. It recently spent $2.5 million renovating science labs to boost its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and now includes a BSL-2 (Biosafety Level 2) laboratory. Other renovations have been made with an eye toward student-centered learning. For qualifying seniors, O’Connell offers dual-credit and dual-enrollment opportunities with Marymount University.

Founded in 1957, the school is “a place where tradition transforms,” says Joseph Vorbach III, head of school and himself a 1983 graduate.

Parents such as Overlee Knolls resident Maureen Bailey, mom to two students, give the teachers and coaches high marks. “They genuinely care about these kids, and the kids look happy,” she says.

Giving back is also an integral part of the school’s value system. Last year the student-run, 12-hour Superdance marathon, featuring DJs and live music, raised $130,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. –A.B.W.

6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington, 703-237-1400, www.bishopoconnell.org

Other top vote-getters:

Saint Agnes Catholic School
Pinecrest School
St. Thomas More Cathedral School
Potomac School
The Langley School