0
Votes

Schools: New Programs; New Hours

Back to School

Loudoun County has made a few changes in elementary-school hours and programs for the upcoming school year, starting Aug. 29.

Elementary schools will start the school day 10 minutes earlier, at 7:50 a.m., and close 10 minutes later, at 3:25 p.m., the same times as the secondary schools. “We wanted to give as much class time as possible,” said spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools, Wayde B. Byard.

A number of schools had their supply of Macintosh computers replaced with Dell computers this year.

“It operates better with the system we use,” Byard said.

Loudoun County has also instituted a new reading series by Houghton Mifflin for kindergarten to fifth grade, as part of its textbook re-adoption cycle, which occurs every six years.

In addition, the Foreign Language in Elementary School program will be expanded to include the fifth grade.

To accommodate the influx of new residents and new students, Loudoun, the fastest-growing school division in Virginia, will open three new elementary schools in Ashburn this fall: Legacy, Newton-Lee and Pinebrook.

ARCOLA Elementary School is closed for the 2005-06 school year, waiting on a bond referendum in November, when voters will decide whether or not to approve the allocation of about $19 million for the demolition and construction of a new Arcola. If the bond issue gets a nod from voters, a new Arcola Elementary School would be built in approximately two years, said Arcola Principal Dawn E. Haddock.

About 60 percent of Arcola’s students will be attending the new Pinebrook Elementary School, under Haddock’s leadership, and the rest will head to the new Legacy Elementary School. Both schools are opening their doors for the first time this fall.

At a Visiting International Faculty reception Aug. 8, ASHBURN Elementary School welcomed two more international teachers, one from Canada and another from Australia. They will be joining the Spanish teacher from Costa Rica. Both new teachers will teach the fifth grade.

Ashburn has also hired 10 new teachers for all grades except third grade. “Some of them are brand-new to teaching, but most of them are experienced,” said Principal Barbara C. Holley.

In addition to new teachers, the school has a new Xerox machine and Smart Boards, interactive white boards, for the classrooms.

Principal Patricia McGinley, of BELMONT STATION Elementary School, said she is excited about the installation of the school’s new playground Aug. 21. The PTA fund-raisers last year were all geared toward raising money for the playground, she said. The students will also have access to the soccer and softball fields this year. In the past, they played on the side parking lots because the exterior of the school was still under construction.

Two of the fourth-grade teachers became assistant principals, opening up two spots that have since been filled. A third-grade teacher was also hired.

A writing program, “Thinking and Writing,” for first through fifth grade has also been implemented. The school used book-fair money to buy extra supplemental literature for the program.

Another Futura gifted-and-talented class was added, bringing in students from other Ashburn schools. McGinley said her goal has always been to be the best, and loves how the identification number for the school is BST. “I took those three letters – BST – and added a little ‘e’ in there,” McGinley said.

CEDAR LANE Elementary School has experienced the loss of some of its teachers, who have moved out of state and even out of the country in one case. But seven new teachers have been added to replace those who have left. There will be a new teacher for every grade except first grade and one new physical education teacher, said Assistant Principal Dave Stewart.

This year, Cedar Lane has enough English-as-a-Second-Language students to hire a full-time ESL teacher. Beforehand, the ESL students traveled to other schools to take their classes. The school theme for the upcoming year is “Dive Into Learning,” Stewart said.

DOMINION TRAIL Elementary School is going into its ninth year, said Principal Sharon Keegan-Coppels, who said she remembers how large the school district was before all the new schools were built.

This year, the school will be losing about 30 students, who live in Ashburn Commons, to Cedar Lane Elementary School, according to the newly drawn boundary lines. Enrollment currently stands at about 670 students, about 70 less than last year.

Keegan-Coppels said the school will be continuing with the Steps to Literacy program, which was established last year. “It’s shown to be very successful with our K through 12 students,” she said.

Dominion Trail has hired five new teachers for the upcoming school year. Two fifth-grade teachers, two second-grade teachers and one kindergarten teacher have joined the staff. With the addition of three new schools, “there’s been a lot of movement with staff in the county,” said Keegan-Coppels.“We were happy we only had to replace five.”

As with the other schools, the staff at Dominion Trail has been spending the past month getting ready for the students and is now working on a school improvement plan.

HUTCHISON Elementary School will be starting its new Steps to Literacy program, which Principal Irene Ellis calls a “balanced program,” for kindergarten to second grade.

Hutchison’s Macintosh computers were replaced with Dell computers throughout the school. “After so many years, they refurbished,” Ellis said.

HILLSIDE Elementary School will be welcoming six new teachers, one of whom is a transfer from another school, said Principal Mary Green. The student enrollment number of 800 has not varied much from last year. The first-grade Rainbow Reading program will expand to the second grade. “It’s a Hillside program,” Green said. “We can give more individual attention."

The new LEGACY Elementary School will host 710 students, mostly from Mill Run Elementary School. Many come from Arcola Elementary School and some were attending Hutchison.

The students from all three schools voted for the Labrador as Legacy’s mascot and the colors red, white and blue.

The new school will boast seven resource rooms and 41 classrooms, four more than last year’s model at Belmont Station, said bookkeeper Corinne Mirch.

“A lot of people are moving to the Brambleton area,” Mirch said.

LITTLE RIVER Elementary School has all new Dell computers in its classrooms, according to Bonnie King, the bookkeeper.

With 1,140 students last year, MILL RUN Elementary School had the most enrolled students out of all the elementary schools in the county, said Principal Paul Vickers. Due to overcrowding, the fourth- and fifth-graders were forced to take classes at Eagle Ridge Middle School. However, with the construction of Legacy Elementary School complete, Mill Run has been relieved of about 300 students.

There are now about 900 students enrolled for the upcoming school year, and all grades will be back in one building.

Seven new teachers will be joining the Mill Run staff: one in first grade, two in second grade, one in fourth grade, two in fifth grade and one in special education.

Mill Run was outfitted with brand-new Dell computers three weeks ago.

The principal at NEWTON-LEE Elementary School could not be reached.

Along with Legacy, the new PINEBROOK Elementary School is four classrooms larger than the new schools built last year, said Principal Dawn E. Haddock.

The school, which has a capacity of 875 students, currently has 612 enrolled.

The students, who come from Little River, Hutchison and Arcola elementary schools, voted for the puma as the school mascot and the colors navy blue, maroon and silver.

The new school will host Futura, the gifted-and-talented program. It will have an English-as-a-Second-Language program, three special-education programs: mental retardation, autism and emotional disturbance, and four early-childhood special-education programs.

A staff of 89 is already on board for the upcoming year.

Haddock said her goals are to build a supportive school community among teachers, parents and students, make sure every child succeeds and learn every child’s name. “So you have to check with me at the end of the year to see how I’m doing,” Haddock said.

By Aug. 11, the school should have an administrative office, said Haddock.

The faculty at SANDERS CORNER Elementary School is gearing up for a special meeting this week to analyze test results and achievement from last year and decide where to go from there, said Kathleen Hwang, the school’s new principal.

“We’ll be looking, as a staff, at the types of things that will ratchet it up a little,” Hwang said.

Through teamwork and various teaching strategies, Hwang hopes to cater to each student’s needs.

Sanders Corner has also replaced its Macintosh computers with Dell computers and has put in new carpeting.

In addition to the new principal, Sanders Corner has a new half-time reading teacher, which they share with another school, a new teacher for fourth grade and another teacher for the fifth grade.

SELDENS LANDING Elementary School welcomes its new principal, Jackie Brownell. The school has also hired a reading teacher, a first-grade teacher and a second-grade teacher for this year.

Its computers were replaced will all new Dell computers. In addition, the fourth- and fifth-grade students will have access to laptops this year.

A new track, covering one-fifth of a mile has been added.

A new program for gifted-and-talented students will begin this year.

Two early-childhood special-education programs, such as STEP, an early-education program for 4-year-olds, have also been added, Brownell said.