"The old way truly was a lot of what you did every day was left up to each individual teacher," Ms. Beaty said. "With the Calvert program, you have to do day 17 on day 17. You can't wait until day 18."
Margaret Licht made that much clear from the outset. The Calvert School veteran, who was curriculum coordinator at Barclay for four years, moved to Woodson this school year and is known for gently -- but firmly -- insisting on adherence to Calvert's principles.
"When people argue with me, I say, 'No, it's the Calvert Way,' " Ms. Licht said.
Teachers say they were taken aback when confronted with the demands of the Calvert curriculum.
They began learning the Calvert Way before the first student arrived. At Woodson, the teachers and their assistants practiced cursive script, wrote lesson plans, watched videos on teaching methods and studied for two weeks in June to prepare.
One lesson is drilled into staff members, said Susan L. Spath, Woodson's principal: "Mediocrity is not accepted. Kids are expected to do well, and they do well."
That message is spread to parents and students, too. Each week, students take home a letter spelling out their homework assignments, and parents are expected to spend at least half an hour a night studying with their children.
Students correct their own work until it's perfect. Every month, -- the school sends a report on each student's progress to that child's parents, along with a folder containing the best work. At the end of the school year, the folders go into a black binder.
Some Calvert students still have theirs, decades after correcting their assignments until perfect.