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    Loudoun’s first charter school holds official ribbon-cutting in Middleburg

    O’Malley Basinger, 7, and Garrett Basinger, 9, won the honor of cutting the ribbon at MCCS opening ceremony. They stand with MCCS principal Barbara Smith, LCPS board chairman Eric Hornberger, school board member Jill Turgeon, Middleburg mayor Betsy Davis, MCCS board of director member David Quanbeck, and Superintendent Eric Williams. Courtesy Photo
    A green and yellow ribbon served as a testament to the commitment and teamwork of parents and community members that went into opening the Middleburg Community Charter School.

    Loudoun's first charter school in Middleburg held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

    “(This school) has a long legacy,” said LCPS board chairman, Eric Hornberger, who spoke at the event. “Yellow is a fitting ribbon for this event because it symbolizes that saving of that legacy. That history...(Green) is the symbol of life, livelihood, and (vigor)...That's what's happening through the Middleburg Community Charter School.”

    Members of the LCPS board and local town council, Superintendent Eric Williams, MCCS principal Barbara Smith, and MCCS board member David Quanbeck were among the speakers at the event.

    They spoke about where the school has been and where it's going, celebrating the parents and the community who sacrificed time and energy into the charter school's success.

    “It's the grit,” said MCCS's new principle Barbara Smith. “This is an example of grit from the families (involved). Not so much a fighting grit, but a real true belief in smalls schools...They didn't just fight for a small school. They learned about education. And I (thought), 'oh, this is going to be a joy.'”

    The K-5 school will start its school year with 120 students, a number that far exceeded the projections of MCCS's Board of Directors. It operates on a modified school year in an effort to encourage continuous learning with shorter, more frequent breaks rather than a long summer vacation.

    Two years ago, low enrollment rates threatened Middleburg Elementary with closure. As of Monday, the 103-year-old building officially houses Middleburg Community Charter School.

    Parents from Middleburg Elementary and community members sat down with school board representatives Jill Turgeon and Hornburger to discuss the school's future. In looking over their options, they stumbled upon the idea of converting it into a charter school.

    “We studied the charter options...” said David Quanbeck, member of the MCCS Board of Directors. “There was reasonable chance we could draft a successful application. Since the other alternative was the inevitable closing of the school, there really was no option but to give the charter option an honest effort.”

    Positive feedback from the Middleburg community spurred the application. On March 4 the school board unanimously voted to approve the application. Once they'd found their principal, who worked on assembling the MCCS staff, the rest fell into place.

    “After two years of steady work, I can say on behalf of the charter application group that none of us could have imagined our efforts could have turned out this well,” said Quanbeck. “The passion of the MCCS staff and the energy of the families joining the school (bring) new life into our community school.”

    Comments

    Waste of money, charters in the burbs do not perform as well and public schools. In the urban areas they only do better than other urban schools because they move the smart students into one school leaving the poor kids needing the real help behind.

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