Christian School Appeal in Loudoun: FFX Christian School Under Construction

Christian School Appeal in Loudoun: FFX Christian School Under Construction

One of the most popular reasons parents enroll their children in a private or Christian school is the student-teacher ratio. Typically, these schools offer twice the hands-on attention as public schools and the success rates demonstrate why there is a demand.

For the current school year, there are six Christian schools to choose from in Loudoun County. Four of those are in Leesburg.

That is going to change dramatically, with as many as three Christian schools planning to expand or move into Eastern Loudoun.

Fairfax Christian School is already well into construction of a new, greatly expanded campus in the Dulles/Sterling area and plans to welcome 400 students beginning this fall.

Dominion Christian School is seeking a location in Loudoun and plans to open in fall of 2019, featuring grades kindergarten through second grade initially and adding a grade each year until it reaches kindergarten through sixth grade.

Temple Baptist School owns land in Ashburn and plans to begin construction on a new campus for its school-church family pending the sale of its current buildings in Herndon.

Having served K-12 students at its Vienna campus since 1961, the school is opening a 55,000-square-foot building on 15 acres just north of Dulles International Airport.

“This is going to be a substantial upgrade,” said Jo Thoburn, Fairfax Christian School president and CEO. “We need a much larger facility due to the demand and need to help more students and offer more dynamic programs. This size is also going to give us a nicer gym and sports program, larger performance hall, beautiful classrooms. We have been waiting for this expansion into Loudoun for a long time and we are thrilled to be coming into the County.”

Thoburn said the new campus will help Fairfax Christian expand its reach while maintaining academic excellence and a 7-1 student-teacher ratio.

Student-teacher ratio is important for a number of reasons. For one, it can be used as a tool to measure teacher workload as well as the allocation of resources.

More importantly, however, it can be an indicator of the amount of individual attention any single child is likely to receive, keeping in mind that not all class sizes are going to be the same.

The student-teacher ratio of any given school or school district is frequently used to judge the quality education. Fairfax Christian School’s 7 to 1 ratio gives twice the attention to students as most any area public school which is a key factor for parents.

“We are academically focused with small class sizes and a lot of personal attention to our students,” said Thoburn. “Our graduates get into the very top universities every year, and we have been doing that since the 1960s. We have a long track record of stellar performance and achievement by our students and graduates.

“We believe that every student is unique, and we are looking to maximize their abilities and help excel and take them as far as they can go.”

Thoburn said the Dulles location is perfect to continue to serve its established student-family base while opening up expanded opportunities.

“About a third of our families already live in Loudoun County and most of our other families are from Western Fairfax, so it should be an easy move,” she said.

Thoburn said their faculty and staff are getting ready to start the move as soon as classes end this spring, and she expects everything to be in place and ready at the new site for the 2018-19 school year.

“We hope to have our temporary occupancy permit in June and be ready with all the classrooms by August,” she said. “Everyone is very excited. We have been waiting a long time for this.”

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Dominion is in its 22nd year in Fairfax County, featuring a classic, K-12 college and prep curriculum. It currently has campuses in Oakton and Reston. Dominion staff are seeking a location for a second “feeder” campus in Loudoun County.

The plan is to open initially for kindergarten through second grade, then add grades until grades K-6 are covered. Students wishing to continue with Dominion would then transfer to its upper school campuses in Fairfax County.

“Relative to other areas and the size of the population, Loudoun County has few independent and faith-based school options,” Head of School Matt Mitchell said.

“The classical paradigm is certainly unique,” he said. “It really emphasizes ideas over content. A lot of time is invested in the thought process and thinking about the idea, rather than memorizing facts and regurgitating them on a test.

“We use primary sources – our curriculum is not based on textbooks. Instead of reading a textbook on the American Revolution, our students would read original content from Thomas Paine, for example.”

Mitchell said Dominion is looking for a location in Eastern Loudoun to expand its enrollment in lower grades while making it possible for those students to continue middle and higher grades in Fairfax County.

“Our current lower school is pretty much maxed out, so we faced three options,” Mitchell said. “We could stay at what we are, expand and move our campus or the third option was to put another K-6 feeder within reasonable proximity of our upper schools.”

Temple Baptist currently operates a school linked closely with its church family that enrolls slightly more than 200 students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

Temple owns land in Ashburn and will begin construction when the sale of its current campus adjacent to Herndon High School is completed.

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Joseph Dill