All children are required to enroll in school by age 5. For Washington D.C. and Maryland, your child must turn 5 by September 1st; for Virginia, by September 30th. There are many public and private school options for you to evaluate and choose from in the DC, Virginia and Maryland area. You have to be aware that your residence (even if short-term) determines which public your children can attend. Moving from a short-term accommodation to another residence in a different school district may require a change of school. For public school ratings, this website is good to check for a school’s performance:


Elementary School

It is the main point of delivery of primary education in the United Stated for children between the ages of 4 and 11 years old from grade one through 6 th grade. Typically, the curriculum in public elementary education is determined by individual school districts. The school district selects curriculum guides and textbooks that reflect a state’s learning standards and benchmarks for a given grade level.

Middle School

Middle school is from 6 th grade through 8 th grade. It is the first step of Secondary education in the United States. Variety of classes are larger, allowing the student to start taking a foreign language or advanced math and science classes in middle school. Most middle schools have “honors” classes for motivated and gifted students, where the quality of education is higher and much more is expected from the enrolled student. Successful completion of middle school leads entry into high school.

High School

High school is from 9th grade through 12th grade. It is the last step of Secondary education in the United States. There are many types of high school depending of your child’s needs but high school is the key element in order to enter to college thanks to an abundant choice of different courses suited to the student’s level. Most high schools prepare well students to college with advanced level courses known as AP (Advanced Placement) or offer them the opportunity to work for the International Baccalaureate, a highly respected education allowing the student to apply to excellent universities anywhere in the world.

IMF Education and Childcare Consultant

Mary Ruppe Nash, the Fund's Education and Childcare Consultant, provides information, referrals, and consultancy services for children up to 18 years old. Mary helps IMF employees navigate the US system of education and provides guidance in assessing a child's educational needs and evaluating various school and childcare options, including daycare centers, nanny and au pair agencies, in home providers, after school enrichment, summer day camps,  and temporary care.  She also provides advice regarding tutors, test prep, programs for gifted children, English as second Language (ESL), language immersion programs, and referrals for students with learning differences needing testing and academic support(IEPs).  Mary also provides college counseling to students applying to universities in the U.S. and abroad. 


The services of the Education and Childcare Consultant are available to all Fund staff and contractuals and their families. To schedule an appointment with Mary please contact us.

Sign up to be an IMFFA member

Membership is free of charge. We welcome IMF staff spouses, domestic partners, and children. We also encourage IMF staff that are single parents with young children to become a member.