Ready for Opening

Ready for Opening

Briar Woods High

22525 Belmont Ridge

Ashburn, VA 20148


Principal: Ed Starzenski

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Enrollment: 460, "changing every minute"

Although enrollment at Briar Woods at the moment is 460 Principal Ed Starzenski says that it is "changing every minute." The new school is ready for the students with 56 teachers on the staff and 27-inch television monitors in every classroom, plus a distance learning lab.

The distance learning lab is a lab in both Briar Woods and Freedom High schools that allows for classes to be taught at one school while simultaneously being followed by students at the other.

"We have a lab at Freedom and a lab here," Starzenski said. "There are several cameras and microphones in the room so the students can be completely interactive with the teacher and class at the other school." The classroom will allow smaller enrollment classes to participate with more students, and guest speakers from one school's class will be able to talk to both schools. "ItÕs a very new technology that we are really excited about," said Starzenski.

Goals for the first year are multiple, Starzenski says. Getting everything up and operational and making sure everything works is one of the most important goals, but also making sure the student body is adjusted to the school and that they can get involved in various school-sponsored activities. "One of the good things about a small student body is that you can get them connected," said Starzenski. "We want to try to make sure that we provide a wealth of opportunities for our students to get involved in sports and extra-curricular activities."

Broad Run High

21670 Ashburn Road

Ashburn, VA 20147


Principal: Edgar T. Markley

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Enrollment: 1,460

With 17 new teachers in a variety of departments, Broad Run High is truly excited for the upcoming school year, says Assistant Principal Chris O'Rourke. "We're starting with a new band director, a new chorus director and a new guitar teacher," he said. "Our fine arts department is starting with a new beginning this year."

The school is also working with a school improvement plan to make sure SOL scores are meeting the state's objectives. This year the school will be promoting diversity in its education. "We're trying to promote diversity throughout the entire school, trying to make sure our students not only succeed but succeed across different backgrounds," O'Rourke said.

Freedom High

25450 Riding Center Drive

South Riding, VA 20152


Principal: Christine Forester

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Enrollment: More than 550

Freedom High is looking forward to having a successful first year, said Melissa Shrami, a assistant principal at the school. With 30-40 teachers the school is almost ready for the students to come. The school is still in the process of hiring because a large group of students enrolled within the last week. "The area is growing so fast that more and more students are enrolling," said Shrami.

The school is starting a Character Education Program, with the idea of capturing children's minds and hearts.

"Basically it's our philosophy that says you can't teach children until you've captured their hearts," said Shrami. "Kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. The school has developed an attitude that makes the students know that they are No. 1, so itÕs a place they want to be. ThatÕs going to be our climate, our culture and our philosophy."

Building the school from the ground up is a big job, but Shrami says the faculty and staff are ready for it. "We're making sure that we start with the right climate and are going to be building new traditions that will hopefully carry on," she said.

Stone Bridge High

43100 Hay Road

Ashburn, VA 20147


Principal: James Person

Web site:

Back to School Night: Grade nine, Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m. Grades 10-12, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m.

Enrollment: 1,657

Stone Bridge principal, James Person, says that even though the number of students is higher than what was projected last year with more new students coming in over the summer, the school, with 21 new teachers and several other new staff members, is ready to go.

"The big emphasis for us, as it is with many schools, is literacy," Person's said. "We are going to be doing some things regarding reading more. Students should be reading for meaning, reading more for pleasure. One of the fundamentals of learning is reading."

This year the school will be piloting the Content Enhancement Program, which is a learning tool for students and teachers. The school is also doing a lot with team teaching and what the best practices are regarding team teaching. Efforts will also be made towards focusing on improving standardized test scores. "ItÕs a matter of saying 'we can always do better,' we are very pleased with our testing results but we do know we can always do better," said Person.

Stone Bridge has also been moved into a new classification that puts the school in the Liberty District instead of the Dulles District. This means that the school's sports teams will play more Fairfax County teams during the season, said Person.

Inspiration is a large theme for the year. "A big word we're using this year is inspire. We're trying to get everybody to inspire each other, we're looking at how we spark each other because schools are so much about relationships," Person said.

Dominion High

21326 Augusta Drive

Sterling, VA 20164


Principal: John Brewer

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

Enrollment: 1,200

Dominion will have 30 new teachers starting this year.

The school will be starting a new initiative with three priorities to cover: goal setting, literacy and character. ÒAll the students have been assigned a mentor who will meet with them twice a week in small groups to work on these three areas,Ó said assistant principal Jamie Braxton.

This year the Academy of Science is opening in the building with about 88 students. This is the county's program with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "The goal of the program is to provide an academic environment where students are encouraged to develop creative scientific endeavors of their own design while having an opportunity to pursue a rich, well-rounded, high-school experience,Ó said Jayne Fonash, the director of guidance for the Academy. Math, science and research courses will be offered on a rotating day schedule where students will spend a day at the Academy in Dominion and then a day at their home high school. The director of the Academy in Dominion is George Wolfe.

Park View High

400 W. Laurel Ave.

Sterling, VA 20164


Principal: Virginia Minshew

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Enrollment: 1,300

With 36 new staff members, Park View's principal, Virginia Minshew, said that she is looking forward to this being an outstanding school year.

A new pre-GED program is starting at the school that will focus mainly on older Ñ between the ages of 18-20 Ñ ESL students who may not have enough credits to graduate. The program will work on pre-GED skills so that when students go to take the GED they will have a better chance of being successful. "The program will also try to work on life skills like job interviewing and job searching," said Minshew.

Throughout the year the school will be focusing on continuing to work on all of the programs at Park View and continue its focus on reading and math.

Minshew says that there are two main goals for the school this year. "One is to continue our work on the SOL and AYP [Annual Yearly Progress]. We made AYP last school year. We also want to have a focus on staff development," she said.

Potomac Falls High

46400 Algonkian Parkway

Sterling, VA 20165


Principal: David Spage

Web site:

Back to School Night: Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Enrollment: 1470

Potomac Falls will be implementing the flex schedule this year, which has been or is being implemented in most of the other high schools in the county. The flex scheduling allows a period in the schedule where students go back to a different class each flex period and can make up work, take a test or have a study period. "The ultimate goal of flex at Potomac Falls High is for students to exercise responsibility for the tasks they need to accomplish," said school principal, David Spage. The flex schedule works into the standard school day.

One of the major goals that Spage has for himself and the faculty, including 17 new teachers, is to further develop as a professional community. "It is important to continue with this goal, with our students and their parents involved in it as well," said Spage.