Fast-growing Loudoun Co. starts classes; new middle school opens

Brambleton Middle School is one of Loudoun County's new schools. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Brambleton is the newest middle school in Loudoun County. The school opened its doors to the students for the first time on Thursday, August 24, 2017. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Brambleton Middle School prepares to welcome students as Loudoun County classes open. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Brambleton Middle School prepares to welcome students as Loudoun County classes open. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Loudoun County High School is seen in this 2012 file photo. Allison Briel, 25, of Leesburg, Virginia — a marketing education teacher at Loudoun County High School— is facing three misdemeanor charges after inappropriately communicating with students. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP/Evan Vucci)
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Brambleton Middle School is one of Loudoun County's new schools. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Brambleton Middle School prepares to welcome students as Loudoun County classes open. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Loudoun County High School is seen in this 2012 file photo. Allison Briel, 25, of Leesburg, Virginia — a marketing education teacher at Loudoun County High School— is facing three misdemeanor charges after inappropriately communicating with students. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

ASHBURN, Va. — As Loudoun County students return to class on Thursday, some of them will attend a brand-new middle school, while three more buildings are under construction.

Brambleton Middle School welcomes students from the booming Dulles South area. Another middle school and an elementary school are slated to open next school year followed by a high school in 2021 to serve the same region of the county.

Welcoming students

Before the first bus loads of students arrived at Brambleton Middle School, Principal Renee Dawson and staff members hung banners welcoming students.

“Everyone is excited and energized about this first day for our kids,” said Dawson, wearing a football jersey, including the school’s bear mascot.

Dawson said the school will take students from seven different schools — four elementary and three middle schools.

“It’s a fast-growing area,” said Dawson. “We have so many great opportunities for people to work, and we have a fabulous school system.”

Middle school in Loudoun County includes students from 6th through 8th grades — students just out of elementary school and those headed for high school in a year.

“It’s definitely that transitional period,” said Dawson. “I like to call it the sweet spot of education, because that’s where you can really tap into our students, and really energize them about learning. and build that confidence.”

Growing school system

Loudoun County, one of the fastest growing in the country, has built several dozen new buildings since 2000 to accommodate the explosion of new families and the expansion of its full-day kindergarten program.

This year, more than 80 percent of kindergartners will take part in a full day of instruction and school officials are working to expand the seats available to provide full-day kindergarten to all students, according to the school system.

Nearly 81,000 students will attend classes at one of the county’s public schools this fall. In comparison, just over 47,000 students were enrolled in 2005, the school system reports.

School officials will ask voters to support borrowing another $81 million this November to pay for renovations to a technology center and school plus track, field and security improvements at schools throughout the county. Last fall, voters supported a $233 million bond referendum for construction of the new buildings in the Dulles South area and to expand six other buildings.

Among the newcomers to the school system will be 800 licensed staff, including teachers and guidance counselors spread across 90 schools, to fill positions vacated by retiring staff or teachers who moved away from the area. That figure represents a slight increase over the number of new staff hired last school year, said schools spokesman Wayde Byard.

Also new this fall, students at several elementary schools will take part in a computer immersion program. Each day, children will have 30 minutes of computer coding instruction and related activities as part of their regular coursework at Meadowland, Moorefield Station and Round Hill elementary schools, according to the school system.

Students in D.C. returned to school on Monday. Fairfax County, Manassas City and Prince William County public schools start classes next week. Maryland schools don’t resume classes until after Labor Day.

See the full list of back-to-school dates here.

Keep up with traffic changes on the first day of school here: WTOP Traffic.

Be prepared for the first day of school and find the day’s weather forecast here: WTOP Weather Center.


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