AcademicsAll Belle Meade students receive individualized instruction from highly qualified, motivated teachers, who teach lessons and create innovative assignments in the core academic subjects of math, science, English, social studies, and foreign language. Mastery in these areas is the desired outcome for all students. Many of our students work at an accelerated level in one or more core areas. Our music and art classes are taught by master teachers, who are also highly accomplished artists. The classes are rigorous, and the results are impressive.
Belle Meade School is radically different from most schools, yet at the core our community deeply values the academic tradition. We teach knowledge, skills, and critical and creative thought, and we teach our students to be lifelong learners. We prepare our students for college, but we also believe that a school must support a person’s quest to thrive in all aspects of life, not only as students but also as members of communities, families, governments, and businesses.
Thus, in addition to teaching lessons and creating assignments, Belle Meade teachers mentor students as they seek understanding, insight, and ideas about their experiences in the classroom, on the farm, with books and other media, and in the world. We strive to connect the academic lessons to each student’s life. At the core of our educational experience is sustainable living—living in balance and harmony with the earth.
Belle Meade School is an active member of The Virginia Independent Schools Association and is currently in the process of accreditation
Head of SchoolSusan Hoffman, A.B. Smith College, Ed. M. Harvard University, Ed. D. Johns Hopkins University, has more than four decades of experience teaching, training teachers, and writing curricula. She has run Belle Meade Day Camp since 1994.
School CommunityOur schoolhouse, with its warm wooden floors and bright soaring windows, is the heart of our community. Here, we gather for daily classes, community meetings, and trimester dinners. Belle Meade School connects with the broader community by inviting in visitors and speakers, holding community-wide events, and taking field trips both locally and further afield.
The work of the farm brings a sense of purpose to our community. Students, teachers, parents, and founders all participate in the work of the farm: caring for animals, planting, harvesting, cooking, and eating. The collaborative effort provides an opportunity for adults to be mentors, to share their values and guide young people’s moral development while working side by side as equals.
The School's SettingBelle Meade School is located on a 138-acre holistic farm in Rappahannock County. The rolling land around the school slopes up into the woods and mountains. A large pond and four streams grace the property and provide solitude, fun, and a place to explore and discover nature.
Fulfilling their dream, the executive directors moved and restored the 1914 schoolhouse between 2001 and 2003. The working farm also hosts a bed and breakfast and a summer day camp. Shenandoah National Park and Old Rag Mountain are the school’s backyard. Cows, horses, pigs, chickens and turkeys live on the farm, as does an abundance of wild creatures.
Head of FarmMike Biniek, B.S. in biology, George Mason University, is a life-long student of nature and wildlife. He practices sustainable, grass-based farming. Together Susan and Mike also manage Belle Meade Bed & Breakfast.