Visit The Diener School

11510 Falls Road
Potomac, MD 20854




We Want to Hear from You

Schedule a Tour

The Diener School is proud to provide prospective parents with guided tours of our school. To schedule a tour, contact: Lois McCabe, Admissions Office

Visit Us

From downtown Washington, DC

Go west on Massachusetts Avenue NW until it ends at Goldsboro Road. Turn right on Goldsboro Road. Proceed 1/4 mile to next traffic light. Turn left at light onto River Road. Continue approximately 5.6 miles to traffic light at Falls Road. Turn right. Go approximately 2 miles. The school is located on the top floor of Har Shalom Synagogue which is on your left, just past the fire station.

From Northern Virginia via Beltway (I-495)

From the Beltway (I-495), take Exit 39 - River Road West, towards Potomac. Continue approximately 3 miles to traffic light at Falls Road. Turn right. Go approximately 2 miles. The school is located on the top floor of Har Shalom Synagogue which is on your left, just past the fire station.

From Silver Spring via Beltway (I-495)

From the Beltway, take Exit 35 - 270 North. Get off 270 at Montrose Road (Exit 4B - West) - past Seven Locks Road. Continue to end of Montrose Road. Turn left onto Falls Road for approximately 1.5 miles. The school is located on the top floor of Har Shalom Synagogue which is on your right, just after Glen Road.

From Gaithersburg via I-270 South

From the local lanes, take Exit 5 - Falls Road (Rt. 189) South toward Potomac. The school is located on the top floor of Har Shalom Synagogue which is on your right, just after Glen Road, approx 2.5 miles.


Those seeking opportunities for employment, as interns for credit hours for college or graduate programs, please email a cover letter and resume to Lois McCabe at,

About Banner

About The Diener School

Board of Trustees

Advisory Board/Board of Trustees

  • Dr. Gerald Boarman, Head, The Bullis School
  • Jen Berzok, Diener Parent
  • Matt Berzok, Partner, Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli and Berzok, LLP
  • Jillian Copeland. Board Chair, Founder of The Diener School
  • Scott Copeland, Board Treasurer, Principle RST Development
  • Beth Freedman, Former Diener Mom, Attorney, Silver, Freedman & Taff, PC
  • Mark Jacobsen, President & CEO, Promontory Interfinancial Network, LLC
  • Lois McCabe, Diener Interim Head, ex-oficio Board Member
  • Rodney Schmidt, Former Diener Dad, CEO Northrise Energy
  • Mike Warsaw, Partner, Ernst and Young, LLP


2014-2015 School Year Calendar

  1. August 2014
    1. 21st – 29th Staff Work Week
    2. 29th Sneak Preview 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Kindergarten Individual Sneak Peak
  2. September 2014
    1. 2nd First Day of School For Students
    2. 17th Back to School Night
    3. 25th – 26th No School – Jewish Holiday
  3. October 2014
    1. 9th No School – Jewish Holiday
    2. 30th Half Day – Teacher Workday
    3. 31st No School –Teacher Workday
  4. November 2014
    1. 10th – 14th Parent/Teacher Conferences
    2. 26th Half Day – Thanksgiving Break
    3. 27th – 28th No School – Thanksgiving Break
  5. December 2014
    1. 19th Half Day – Winter Break
    2. 22nd – 31st No School – Winter Break
  1. January 2015
    1. 1st – 2nd No School – Winter Break
    2. 19th No School – MLK Day
    3. 30th No School – Teacher Workday
  2. February 2015
    1. 13th Half Day – Teacher Workday
    2. 16th No School – Presidents Day
    3. 23rd – 27th Parent/Teacher Conferences
  3. March 2015
    1. 19th Half Day – Teacher Workday
    2. 20th No School – Teacher Workday
  4. April 2015
    1. 3rd – 10th No School – Spring Break
  5. May 2015
    1. 8th Half Day – Grandparents Day
    2. 22nd No School
    3. 25th No School – Memorial Day
  6. June 2015
    1. 5th Last Day of School



Learning at Diener


The Diener School follows the curriculum standards put forth by the Maryland State Voluntary Curriculum. Additionally, our holistic curriculum provides social skills, speech and language, sensory, movement and the arts thereby providing our students the opportunities for therapeutic input, creativity, purposeful movement and reflection. Students participate in daily fitness, language, sensory and movement activities, weekly art, drama, music as well as afterschool clubs which emphasize fine arts, art history, hands on science, cooking and inventing.

The Diener School seamlessly integrates therapeutic strategies into our full curriculum. Our therapists and academic tutors meet with teachers regularly to discuss academic goals, themes and lessons. Therapists are in classrooms each morning infusing sensory, language and motor exercises within our student’s academic classes.


Staff like no other!

As part of our journey and to accomplish our mission, The Diener School and staff will provide:

Collaborative, multi-disciplinary and research-based holistic teaching methods in small academic classes that focus on student abilities and gifts thereby enhancing cognitive functioning, problem solving and global, independent thinking.

The Diener School’s instructional/therapeutic professionals

  • 1 Classroom Teacher per classroom
  • 1 Trained Classroom Assistant per classroom
  • 3 Academic Assistants
  • 1 Speech Therapist
  • 1 Occupational Therapist
  • 1 Learning Skills Specialist
  • 1 Adapative PE Instructor
  • 1 Yoga Instructor
  • 1 Dance Teacher
  • 1 Developmental Music Therapist
  • 1 Developmental Art Teacher
  • 1 Behavior Psychologist
  • 1 Drama Teacher
  • 1 Science Teacher


Welcome | Mission

To teach through experience, stimulate academically, prepare socially and create a successful educational journey that motivates minds and inspires capabilities for a lifetime.

Why The Diener School is Unique

The Diener School’s unique outlook began with Jillian Copeland’s own personal journey. After surveying Washington D.C. area schools that support students who have language, learning, and social deficiencies, Jillian determined that the metropolitan area lacked a program that would offer a solid academic experience while, at the same time, providing students with meaningful and practical social and developmental growth. With a strong educational background and a particular expertise in the special needs arena, Jillian explored the best practices of programs throughout the country, studied past and present research and worked with educational and developmental experts to create “Diener Pyramid of Learning for the Whole Child,” a comprehensive structure of learning that became the foundation of The Diener School and its success.

The Unique Journey

The Diener School believes that learning comes from experiencing. Daily, we take our students on The Diener Journey, a journey to different environments, both inside and outside of the classroom. These journeys for the whole child create opportunities that enhance academic and social learning and encourage life experience.

Academic and social learning: The Diener School believes in an integrated approach to academic and social learning. Daily activities, whether academic, therapeutic, artistic or physical, are connected as part of thematic units.

This integrated approach allows Diener students to see meaning and purpose in each and every activity. The students will feel stimulated and confident as their learning allows them to make connections, generalize information and apply their skills inside and outside of our classroom walls. As such, The Diener School created “Peer Buddies,” a program that allows students to use the social skills and pragmatics encouraged in the classroom to create, build and sustain relationships with students from neighboring schools. In addition, our bi-weekly thematic based field trips offer students an opportunity to learn experimentally and integrate into the community.

Values and character: The Diener School believes that teaching values and building character is integral to its program. Therefore, virtues, positive reinforcement, community responsibility and outreach are part of the Diener day. Many students partake in a school “contract” enabling them to earn positive incentives for hard work and appropriate behavior. As a vehicle for learning, understanding and developing empathy as well as understanding the gifts of giving and thinking responsibly, Diener students conduct “hands-on” community projects and are encouraged with positive incentives for hard work and appropriate behavior.

Mind-body connection: The Diener School believes in the mind-body connection. In furtherance of the connection between movement and learning, the Diener day includes daily sensory exploration, movement breaks, brain-gym exercises, physical education with fitness experts, yoga and after school sports.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Diener School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, or military service in the administration of our educational, admission, personnel, and financial aid policies, and all school-administered programs.

The Diener School reasonably accommodates for an individual’s physical or mental disability as required by law. The Diener School also reasonably accommodates for an individual’s religious obligations required by law. Further information relating to reasonable accommodation is available from the Director’s Office.

Pyramid of Learning




“The Deiner School fits a much needed gap in the array of special needs schools in the metro DC area. Their integrative approach to education is cutting edge and an immense help to many of my patients who attend or have attended Deiner”
– Lance Clawson , M.D. Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

“1) Kids gotta move 2) Movement IS learning 3) Children learn optimally when their bodies, minds and spirits are engaged and ‘in sync’. The Diener School ‘gets it’ about these three basic facts and provides every student with the ideal environment for developing academic, social, and life skills.”
– Carol Kranowitz, M.A. Author of “The Out –of-Sync Child”

“As both a psychologist and a special educator, my reaction to touring the Deiner School was “Here is a place where they are really doing it right!” There are plenty of programs where a child can receive special education assistance, but few where a child is truly accepted for who he is and who he can become. Diener is one of those rare schools that expertly provides evidence based practices in an atmosphere of warmth and joy.”
– Dr. Rebecca Resnik, Director of Mindwell Psychology’s Bethesda Office

“Diener School uses a variety of teaching methods to ensure all of their children make progress academically and socially. All of the children at the school receive a lot of individual attention and understanding. The teachers are flexible and creative and go the extra mile to make sure the children master a concept before moving to the next concept. Many of the children dreaded going to school before Diener; once they start at Diener, they begin to build self esteem and begin to look forward to school each day.”
– Pam Tedeschi, Educational Consultant


“Diener has been incredibly committed, flexible, inspirational and loving to our son B. and to our family. The teachers and therapists have not only identified and addressed areas where he needs support, but have also helped to nourish all of his strengths. His happiness and confidence have soared while at Diener. If progress is prognosis, then you have given us a great deal of hope for B.’s future success and fulfillment. We LOVE Diener!”
– Jennifer

“Our son started at Diener with significant attention challenges and speech and language delays. Diener’s small class sizes coupled with the individualized instruction our son receives, has enabled him to excel and perform on grade level in all subject areas. Our son is very successful at the Diener School.”
– Janelle

“Diener has quite simply changes our lives. Before starting Diener, our son who has OCD and other related issues simply could not stop pushing buttons, obsessing over CDs and engaging in other obsessive behaviors. This affected our ability to enjoy time as a family and his ability to be available for friendships and learning. He now plays with his brother and his friends, shows interest in a variety of activities and most importantly is a contributing and happy member of our family. He is also reading at grade level!”
– Kathryn

“This year has been more stressful for the family than I anticipated…There have been days I’ve just wanted to cry. The one truly shinning place that has made it all worth it has been Diener! It is so much more than we dared to hope for. Our son F. has friends, and they’re real, not friends that play “keep away from F.” like happened last school year. He looks forward to each day of school and the wonderful things you do there. He loves the teachers. Plus, he’s doing so much better academically than we’d hoped. His reading has improved, he seems to be able to do math, he loved science club and playing soccer. It has been wonderful.”
“If I had to come up with a phrase to describe the school and our experience it would be “exceeding expectations!”
– Kate

“I can’t say enough about Diener. I can’t imagine a better place for my son A. He is surrounded by so many different ways to learn, coupled with an environment filled with love and support. This combination is what makes Diener special and the perfect fit for our son.”
– Pete

“At Diener flexibility, adaptation is their motto, my son is thriving there!!!”
“I finally found a place where my son is truly happy, is learning, is maturing, is showing signs of the wonderful man he will become….all because of this fantastic holistic education.”
“Diener staff will work with you to find the right way for your son, they truly excel at thinking outside the box”
– Mariana

“I want to say that our son D. has had a wonderful experience at Diener. I continue to be impressed by the innovative and flexible teaching methods employed at Diener along with the warm and welcoming environment there. Thanks!”
– Marta

When I drop our daughter K. off in the mornings at the Diener School I feel confident that she is going to be treated respectfully, challenged in a positive way, and she is going to be successful. In the past she has not had that opportunity and before we found Diener I would feel so horrible taking her to a place where I knew she was not being treated respectfully and her day was not successful and her self esteem suffered for it.
That is priceless!!!!
– Pearl

“Our son V. and our whole family just want to thank you for all your love and guidance this year. Our fears have been quieted and our great expectations have become even greater for Victor. We have gained so much and look forward to another year with you.”
– Lucy

“There are many gifts that our son received while attending Diener for three years – a strong self-confidence, independence and friendships, to name a few. But now that his first year of middle school is behind him, I realize something else he became while at Diener: an active learner. The creative, experienced and patient teachers at Diener gave him the strategies he needs to learn. And our son T. has been able to apply those strategies to specific situations in middle school.”
– Lissa , Graduated parent

“I was very concerned about how hard the transition from Diener would be for our son N. I couldn’t believe how much needless worrying I did. Our son’s transition to Hoover was very smooth. He was able to use the tools he learned from Diener to make new friends, work hard in class and still enjoy school. The confidence he built in himself at Diener combined with his love of school carried over to Hoover. I believe the foundation that Noah built at Diener including his academic, social and behavioral skills have served him well and made the transition to a new school seamless.”
– Beth, Graduated parent


“Everyday I leave the Diener School I have a smile on my face. A smile that says, ‘I helped change a life in only 45 minutes every Wednesday’… My buddy is making me a better person and I am so grateful that I was paired with him…”
– M.

“I cannot believe what an experience this has been for me. The Diener School was super duper awesome and I am just speechless…. I was so shy when I started, but I feel welcome at the Diener School and now I feel almost like a teacher… I just love the Diener School and how great it is”
– M.

“Before I went to the Diener School, I was thinking that I wasn’t going to like it that much. Later I found out I was totally wrong. As soon as I found out who my buddy was, I was so excited to see him the next week. Whenever I walked in, he walked over, gave me a high-five, and immediately started talking to me. We are very good friends, or the appropriate term, buddies”
– Q.

“I hope that I have been a good role model for my buddy to look up to. In addition, she has been a role model to me, because she cares about her friends, and is a strong leader. She does what she can to help because she knows it’s the right thing to do”
– D.

“From this experience, I learned how special it is to do something like this important and have so much fun at the same time”
– M.

“Writing this speech made me want to thank many people. I thank the people in the office for making this school possible and all the other wonderful staff that have helped me through difficult situations. I also thank the kids that are at this school. They are always socializing with me and making me happier. Whether they are just chatting in the hallway or packing-up, they are always happy, cheerful, and lightening up my day. Through my two years at the Diener School, I’ve learned a great deal, not only academically, but also socially. Most schools say they will try their best to make sure that we have the things we need to go on. Not only did the Diener School keep that promise, but they also went above and beyond to make sure that I was armed with the knowledge I need to go into the world. I will miss this school in many ways; whether it’s Gabi cracking jokes or the Uppers 2 boys inviting me to play with them. They treat me like I’m a part of their family, and in many ways we are a family. We share stories, tell jokes and be there for each other just like a family would be. When I first came to the Diener School, I was shy and quiet, but the Diener School has changed me into the modest young man that I am today. Last, but definitely not least, I’d like to thank my teachers, Ms. Abbe and Ms. Jessica, who have been there for me so many times. In the future, I will often think of myself as a little light brown owl, eager to flutter to its warm family nest, The Diener School.”
– N., Diener School Alum, Graduating Class of 2012


“We have been thrilled with our grandson’s progress at the Diener School. It has been a blessing for our entire family. We are happy to support the important work of the Diener School.”
– JoEllen & Ken

Visit Us Visit Us

School Contacts

Lois McCabe
Head of School

Kathy Chumas, MS OTR/L
Director of Admissions and Therapeutic Services

Log In