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UPDATE: Middleburg gets county’s first charter school

Middleburg will soon be the home of the county's first charter school.

The Loudoun County School Board voted to accept the application of the Middleburg Community Charter School at a work session and action meeting Tuesday night.

“We are thrilled,” said Dave Quanbeck, Co-Chair of the MCCS committee. “The Board’s decision not only keeps our 100-year-old school open, but provides a model for other small schools in Western Loudoun.”

The approval is pending under the condition of incorporating all the things they have agreed to in work sessions leading up to the decision.

Once the contract is drafted by the School Board counsel, the board will approve the charter school, assuming all topics have been adjusted to its liking.

All of the School Board members present voted to accept the application. Board members Debbie Rose (Algonkian) and Jennifer Bergel (Catoctin) were absent from the proceedings.

The MCCS committee submitted its application in August 2013. A school board special committee, made up of School Board Vice Chair Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and members Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Bill Fox (Leesburg), vetted the application over a period of six months going through the application section by section. After a number of full board work sessions, the charter came to a vote Tuesday night.

“This has been a lengthy process,” explained Quanbeck. “But especially with the pressures on the School Board to implement a sustainable school budget, we needed to show evidence that the Middleburg Community Charter School would save LCPS money.”

Like other charters in the state, the MCCS will receive a per-pupil allotment determined by LCPS. The charter school will also be able to raise private funds through grants and donations as a 501(c) nonprofit organization to help alleviate the cost of operating the school.

Middleburg parents and community members decided to develop the plan after growing weary of annual budget constraints threatening the closing of the school.
Middleburg Elementary School is more than 100 years old and currently houses approximately 45 students.

With its approval, students attending the school will operate on a modified school year calendar. The school will offer a full-day kindergarten and specialized instruction following the Leonardo da Vinci model.

According to MCCS, the da Vinci model is a "thematic, project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum designed to inspire children to develop their innate intellectual curiosity. Children will be taught in combined K-2 and 3-5 classes, allowing younger students to see models for learning, providing mentoring for older children in a class and ensuring continuity of child-teacher relationships across several years."

All elementary-aged kids in Loudoun are eligible to attend Middleburg Charter School once it opens on Aug. 4.

Enrollment applications are already being accepted online.

According to Quanbeck, the enrollment period will end April 30. Families will be notified the week of May 7. The enrollment process is governed by state law and will go to a lottery if enrollment exceeds the program capacity. Program capacity will be determined by grade. The school capacity is 137.

Transportation will be provided by the school board to all students that live in the current Middleburg Elementary School attendance zone.

A series of public information meetings for prospective families will be held over the next several weeks. Families are encouraged to check the MCCS website, middleburgcharterschool.org, or the MCCS Facebook page for the most current details.

For additional information or to enroll your child, contact Middleburg Community Charter School at 540-505-0456 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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