It’s back to school for Loudoun County students

Regal the Eagle greets students at Potowmack Elementary School in Sterling, Virginia, on the first day of school in Loudoun County. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Students in Loudoun County, Virginia, schools started slogging their backpacks Thursday, returning to school for two days before the weekend.

The Loudoun County schools’ account posted the following video welcoming students back to school Thursday morning on social media.

Acting Superintendent Daniel Smith was at Potowmack Elementary School in Sterling, Virginia, where cheerleaders and a marching band from nearby Potomac Falls High School greeted students and parents as they arrived for the first day of school.

“We’ve been working for the past few past week with our teachers that have come back. They’ve been very excited, our administrators are excited, so just a great kickoff of the school year,” Smith told WTOP’s Neal Augenstein.

New Superintendent Aaron Spence officially starts on Sept. 1, taking over one week after school starts.

Thursday is the first day of dual language immersion program at Potowmack Elementary, where 50% of the day will be in English and 50% of the day will in Spanish.

“What’s unique about it is that it has a STEM focus. It’s focused on integrating math, science and computer science,” Smith said. “And so it’s the first of its kind in the States, perhaps in the nation, really focused on that dual language immersion, and it will start in kindergarten.”

The Loudoun County Public Schools system, which has an enrollment of more than 83,000 students at 98 schools, has been making headlines since 2021, in the wake of two sexual assault cases involving the same student.

This led to a federal Title IX investigation of the school system and a grand jury report that found Loudoun County schools mishandled the two highly scrutinized cases and resulted in the firing of former Superintendent Scott Ziegler.

This year, school resource officers will be trained on trauma-informed policing tactics and interview techniques designed specifically to better help students who are potentially sexually assaulted or who are victims of domestic abuse.

Students in other Northern Virginia schools, including Fairfax and Prince William counties, Alexandria and Manassas, returned to school on Monday. Arlington students return to school on Aug. 28.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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