About - McDonogh School

about McDonogh school

Our Mission and Vision

McDonogh is a school that finds joy in work and play. We prepare students to lead in a rapidly changing world.

Our mission is to provide life-altering educational experiences that inspire personal and intellectual growth. 

Our vision is of a dynamic, inclusive community built on lifelong relationships, the pursuit of excellence, and a shared commitment to do the greatest possible amount of good.

Our Values

Integrity. Strong character consists of being true to oneself and honest with others.

Respect. Empathy and civil discourse help make McDonogh a place where everyone belongs. 

Resilience. The ability to overcome life’s challenges with grace is essential for self-discovery.

Curiosity. We are lifelong learners in joyful pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Gratitude. “We give something more than we take” because service to others brings meaning and purpose.


percent of faculty hold advanced degrees 


buses transport students from four counties and Baltimore City


students in prekindergarten through twelfth grade 

Fast Facts

McDonogh is a welcoming community where young people become LifeReady under the guidance of talented and caring teachers. Opportunities abound for deep thinking, innovating, discovering passions, and helping others. In all endeavors, students and adults are guided by the virtues on McDonogh’s Character Compass: respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness, and service. There is a lot to learn about McDonogh School, but here are some quick facts:


  • McDonogh is a nondenominational, coeducational, college preparatory school educating students from prekindergarten through twelfth grade.
  • Lower School comprises prekindergarten through fourth grade, Middle School is fifth through eighth grade, and Upper School is ninth through twelfth grade.
  • Our curriculum is appropriately challenging at all grade levels, preparing students for higher education and to enter the world as resilient, lifelong learners of strong character.
  • Class size is determined by subject matter and grade level, with an average of 16 students per class.
  • Our college counselors work with students to determine which colleges are right for their individual interests, personalities, and goals. Many students are accepted by the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. See where the Class of 2023 is headed.
  • McDonogh was named a "Top Workplace" in the Baltimore Sun's Top Workplace Program for six consecutive years.


  • McDonogh enrolls 1,460 students from prekindergarten through twelfth grade.
  • McDonogh's student body represents a wide range of racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds.
  • Approximately 75 Upper School students live on campus during the week as part of the school's five-day boarding program.

Faculty and Administration

  • David J. Farace '87 became McDonogh's 13th Head of School on July 1, 2018.
  • McDonogh employs the equivalent of 190 full-time faculty members, and more than 50 faculty and staff families live on campus and are involved in our vibrant residential life program.
  • More than 67% of faculty hold advanced degrees, and the average teaching tenure is 15 years.
  • The student-teacher ratio is 7:1.

Campus and Facilities

  • Founded in 1873 as a farm school for poor boys, McDonogh School is situated on 800 pastoral acres in suburban Owings Mills.
  • The campus is located 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore and 50 minutes from Washington, D.C.
  • The campus serves as a classroom in the "great outdoors," inviting students to experience the woods, fields, ponds, and streams that are part of our 800 acres. 
  • Roots, our 10-acre campus farm, offers students hands-on experiences such as planting and harvesting produce for our dining hall and area food pantries.
  • Learning is enhanced with top-notch facilities, including an innovation center, STEM building, two theaters, an art gallery, a riding hall, an Olympic-sized pool, and numerous playing fields and tennis courts.

Tuition and Financial Aid

2024-2025 Tuition (including bus transportation and hot lunch) is:

  • Prekindergarten: $23,550
  • Kindergarten and Prefirst: $33,950
  • Lower School (grades 1-4): $36,850
  • Middle School (grades 5-8): $38,950 
  • Upper School (grades 9-12): $41,050
  • Upper School Five-Day Boarding: full year - $14,300; single term - $5,300

Book fees vary.

  • $7.1 million in need-based scholarship was given to students for the 2023-2024 academic year.


  • McDonogh operates a fleet of 20 buses with community stops in four counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard) and Baltimore City.
  • Bus service is included in tuition, and all day-students are assigned a bus stop and pick-up time.
  • Students in prekindergarten and those who are new to kindergarten, prefirst, and first grade are paired with a Bus Buddy, an older student who helps the younger student adjust to riding the bus.


  • Lunch is included in tuition, so families never have to pack a lunch, purchase a meal card, or send lunch money.
  • There are plenty of appealing and nutritious choices in the dining hall's selection of hot entrees, salad bar, and sandwich stations.
  • The dining hall offers breakfast and dinner for boarding students.

Boarding Program

  • The five-day boarding program allows Upper School students to live on campus during the school week and return home to spend time with their families over the weekend. 
  • Approximately 75 students participate in the boarding program, which gives them more opportunities to be involved in campus life. 

Health and Wellness

The health and wellness of our community is paramount. McDonogh employs two full-time nurses, a licensed mental health clinician in each division, and three licensed athletic trainers. McDonogh requires each student to submit records of an annual doctor's physical exam. Additionally, all students who are not medically contraindicated must be fully vaccinated.



  • AfterCare is available to children in kindergarten through fourth grade at an additional cost.
  • AfterCare operates on regular school days, Monday through Thursday from 3:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Friday from 3:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Dress Code

  • McDonogh's dress code reflects our belief that children should dress appropriately for the task of learning and in a way that eliminates competitiveness.
  • Lower and Middle School students wear polo shirts and khaki pants and skirts. Upper School students wear oxford shirts and khaki pants, and skorts.
  • New uniforms may be ordered through the School Store located in the basement of Allan Building. Gently-used uniforms are available through the McDonogh Parents Association.


We Give Something More Than We Take

Character and Service are at the core of the McDonogh experience. 

McDonogh teachers and coaches were at the heart of my transformation, and they prepared me exceptionally well for the “good life,” which I define as taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually; investing in loving relationships with others; and serving a cause greater than yourself. 

Dave Farace ’87, Head of School

Equity and Inclusion

Steeped in History

800 Acres of Opportunity

Accreditations and Partnerships