In a part of the county that undergoes frequent school boundary zones changes, it may be surprising to hear that 22 Brambleton students are actually asking to be reassigned schools.
Families living in The Grant at Willowsford, The Grange at Willowsford and nearby neighborhoods brought it to the attention of the Loudoun County School Board last month that their eighth-graders were slated to attend four different schools in four years—and for one of those years, split off from the rest of their Brambleton Middle School classmates.
After board members redrew the attendance boundaries in that area in late 2016, they unknowingly assigned a cohort of 22 kids to attend Mercer Middle School for seventh grade, Brambleton Middle School for eighth grade, Willard Intermediate School for ninth grade and then Independence High School for the rest of their high school career.
Now, they plan to fix that.
“That’s untenable,” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said. And most board members are in agreement.
Beth Huck (At Large) said that undergoing a temporary boundary change to send those 22 students to Rock Ridge High School for their freshmen year (2018-2019), it would at least allow them to stay with the rest of their Brambleton classmates.
That still means four schools in four years, but Huck said that’s the plan for all students in the Brambleton attendance zone because schools could not be built fast enough to keep up with enrollment growth. The Brambleton Middle School graduates will attend Rock Ridge High School for just one year until Independence High School opens in fall of 2019. “That whole cohort of students is going through the same thing with the exception that these 22 kids would not stay with the rest of their classmates,” she said.
Morse added, “I know Rock Ridge is going to be packed to the gills, but this is a short-term issue.”
Tony Clark was one of several Brambleton parents who has addressed the board about the issue, which he called an honest oversight but one that should be fixed.
“These students will be asked to be splintered off from their peers, go to Willard, and then be brought back with their Brambleton classmates in 10th grade to attend Independence,” he said. “Having kids ping-ponged back and forth from an academic standpoint or a social standpoint, we believe, is not in their best interest.”
A public hearing on the matter was scheduled for March 20, but it was canceled because of last week’s snow storm. It’s been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at the school administration building, 21000 Education Court in Ashburn. The board could vote on the matter that night or at its Tuesday, April 24, meeting.