Loudoun County to Bring Back Intermediate System
December 21, 2016
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Major middle and high school attendance boundary changes are headed for the Dulles South area, with changes affecting the middle school level in the 2018-2019 year and the high school level in the 2020-2021 year.
With the opening of Brambleton Middle School in the 2017-2018 year and an unnamed high school (HS-11) in the 2019-2020 year, the middle and high school attendance boundaries for the Ashburn area were redrawn; and are planned to be put in place during those years. In addition to these two upcoming Ashburn area schools, a middle school (MS-7) is scheduled to be open in the fall of 2018 and a high school (HS-9) in the fall of 2020, both to be built in Aldie. The zoning plan is primarily to relieve Mercer Middle School of its overcrowded student population which, as of fall 2016, has risen to 1,744 students, nearly 400 students over building capacity.
While a temporary solution to this problem had half of Mercer’s student population take some of their classes at John Champe High School starting this school year, the school’s enrollment has still continued to grow at an outsized rate. This caused the proposition of the construction the unnamed middle school (MS-7) and eventually the unnamed high school (HS-9) that would instantly alleviate Mercer of overcrowding and prevent John Champe of becoming overcrowded in the future. Though doing so would cut the school’s population in half, the gap between the opening of the middle and high school is two years. This would mean that unnamed middle school (MS-7), in addition to Mercer, would feed their eighth graders into John Champe for two consecutive school years, making John Champe’s already high enrollment skyrocket.
To prevent this from happening, it was decided to open MS-7 as an Intermediate School and re-arrange the John Champe cluster to be in the form of an Intermediate system where sixth and seventh graders would attend Mercer, eighth and ninth graders would attend MS-7, and tenth through twelfth graders would attend John Champe, similar to how the middle and high school levels were for the Loudoun Valley cluster from 2002-2010, before the opening of Woodgrove in the fall of 2010.
In addition, a few subdivisions in the South Riding area that are currently in the Mercer/John Champe attendance zone were redistricted into the Lunsford/Freedom attendance zone, as well as many subdivisions in the Brambleton/Arcola area shifting from the Mercer/John Champe cluster to the Stone Hill/Rock Ridge cluster. These particular changes are to be put in motion in the fall of 2017.
Students affected by past boundary adjustments had mixed opinions on the need to frequently switch schools. Some were initially positive about the process.
“I felt the change of schools was a good thing for myself because it allowed me to have met more people than I could have originally” Stone Bridge Freshman Connor Kreitzman said who was transferred from Belmont Ridge to Trailside for seventh and eighth grade.
“When I found out about it I was extremely happy because I wasn’t a fan of Tuscarora at the time, but when I finally got to Riverside I actually missed Tusky and the transition was super hard because the teachers were different and classes seemed harder,” Riverside junior Sarah-Katherine Lawless said who went to Tuscarora her freshman year before being rezoned to Riverside.
Some weren’t happy with the decision to change schools.
“I live five minutes away from Broad Run but because I went to Stone Hill Middle School they made me go to Rock Ridge, so I moved houses to go back to BR,” Broad Run senior Minty Singh said.