As Loudoun County’s population continues to grow, the School Board has put plans in motion to prepare for overcrowding and adjust school populations.
A new elementary and middle school and two new high schools have created a need for boundary changes, and on April 18 the board unanimously voted to move up boundary changes for students who will have to move.
The board did not change boundaries, but now instead of waiting for the new high school (HS-11) to open and then move students around, rising ninth, tenth and eleventh graders for the 2018-19 school year can start the year at the school designated by the planning district change.
“I’ve heard from several constituents and met with people in these zones who just want to stop the bounce,” Beth Huck (At-Large) said.
This would affect 20 students moving from Briar Woods to Stone Bridge, 16 from Broad Run to Riverside, 21 from John Champe to Rock Ridge and 30 from Rock Ridge to Broad Run.
Rising juniors and seniors for the 2018-19 school year will be surveyed this fall and have the option to be grandfathered and stay at their original school, Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lewis said.
Names for New Schools Recommended
Meeting on Feb. 28, the School Board appointed a naming committees for a new elementary school (ES-28), a new middle school (MS-7) and two new high schools (HS-9) and (HS-11). Its meetings included representation from the Loudoun County Public Schools Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) and Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC).
The committees met throughout March to review and discuss possible names for the schools and the board heard their recommendations on April 18.
The committee voted to name ES-28 Goshen Post Elementary School. It is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will located adjacent to John Champe High School in the Dulles South Planning Area. Alternate recommendations for School Board consideration were Manahoac Elementary School and Oak Hill Elementary School.
The naming committee recommended Goshen Post as a way to commemorate Goshen Road and the colonial era postal stop was located in the area. The name helps preserve the historical legacy of the area known as “The Post,” one of the earliest mail stops in the history of the nascent postal service, according to board documents.
MS-7, located off Braddock Road in Aldie, is scheduled to open in fall 2018 in the Dulles South Planning Area and its recommended name is Willard Middle School. The committee’s alternate recommendations were Monroe Middle School and Willowsford Middle School.
The unincorporated village of Willard, in southeastern Loudoun, received its name from Joseph E. Willard, who was elected to the General Assembly from 1893 to 1901 and later served as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor.
Also, according to board documents, the village of Willard’s roots are in the African American community. Former slaves and their descendants farmed the area for generations. The African American community founded Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church and established the Willard School in 1890 to serve black and white students.
Huck said the board received a letter expressing concerns with the name Willard Middle School. Debbie Rose (Algonkian) echoed this and urged additional fact checking on all names proposed for schools. Staff will prepare a report on the proposed names to present to the board before they cast a final vote.
Joy Maloney (Broad Run) said the board also received a letter of support for Willard Middle School on behalf of the Friends of Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee.
The recommended name for HS-9, scheduled to open in fall 2020, is Lightridge High School. It will be located off Lightridge Farm Road west of the Stone Ridge community in the Dulles South Planning Area. Alternate recommendations were Henry Lee III High School and Independence High School.
Lightridge commemorates Loudoun’s agricultural history and the importance of the dairy industry, according to board documents. Light Ridge Farm, from which the road takes its name, operated as a dairy farm for over 60 years. Although it no longer serves the dairy industry, it is the last working farm east of Route 15 in Loudoun. The economic importance of agricultural, and, in particular, the dairy industry to Loudoun, is symbolized in the county flag’s green background and “embattled” edging which is suggestive of milk droplets.
Tom Marshall (Leesburg) said he was particularly fascinated with this name because he did not know about the dairy history.
“The importance of the economy that Loudoun dairy farming had in the past and is emblematic of our agricultural heritage and explains the design of the Loudoun County flag. I was very interested to find out the flag showed the white tear drops of milk indicating the dairy heritage,” Marshall said.
HS-11 will open in fall 2019 adjacent to Brambleton Middle School in the Dulles North Planning Area, and the committee voted to name it Independence High School. Alternates were Fred E. Drummond Jr. High School and Edgar B. Hatrick III High School.
Loudoun resident John Crosby served on the HS-11 naming committee and said they felt the name Independence High School would serve as a standard for students in their academic careers. It would also strike a theme similar to that of Freedom High School and Liberty Elementary School.
“We all know that learning is one of the most important exercises in a child’s life. Learning to think independently, make choices on one’s own and adopt critical thinking skills can transform a life in ways students don’t always grasp,” Crosby said.
Crosby also said the name was inspired by the Independence Loudoun Rangers, a unit commissioned by the Union army during the Civil War to help fight Confederate forces in Virginia. They were comprised of Quakers living in Loudoun County and pacifists who could not stand to watch relatives and fellow citizens, support the confederacy, Crosby said.
“I was very pleased to see Loudoun’s history, both early and current, was being considered,” Marshall said.