Program & Philosophy

When Thomas Sidwell founded the School over a century ago, he believed that physical education and athletics played an important part in the educational development of young men and women.  The School maintains that commitment today, as Physical Education and Athletics are part of the curriculum and an integral part of every student’s daily life, and our state of the art Athletic Center is one of the finest secondary school sports facilities in the nation.  Few high schools can boast the combination of athletic and academic excellence manifested in the diverse Sidwell Friends athletic program.  Over seventy-five percent of our student body competes in twenty-two different interscholastic sports, proving that it is possible to simultaneously excel at the highest level in both athletics and academics.  With each graduating class, SFS sends out many distinguished scholar-athletes to continue their competitive careers at some of the finest colleges and universities in the country.

Interscholastic competition begins in the 7th grade. The 7th and 8th grade curriculum mirrors the Upper School athletic program and focuses on skill development, teamwork, healthy competition and sportsmanship.  For each of the three athletic seasons (fall, winter and spring), students choose one sport in which to participate.  We offer fifteen different sports, generally with an “A” and “B” level team for each sport.  These teams are usually coached by the Upper School varsity coaches, providing for continuity of the program across the grade levels.  We also offer a movement performance class for both boys and girls.

Our Upper School athletic program offers sixteen different sports and thirty-six teams including varsity and junior varsity level teams. In addition to league sports, our program also offers interscholastic opportunities in girl’s crew, squash and Ultimate Frisbee. All teams are supported by a full-time Certified Athletic Trainer and a full-time Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  Our girls’ teams compete in the Independent School League, while the boys’ teams participate in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference.  We are proud to have been recognized over the years by both leagues with the Lewis Cup (Over-all ISL Champions) and Directors’ Cup (overall MAC Champions).