Students, Parents Charged with Naming New Alternative Education Center

School leaders want to get students, teachers, parents and even historians to weigh in on what Loudoun’s alternative education center should be named.

The Loudoun County School Board voted Tuesday to appoint 17 to a naming committee. The group will come up with a final recommendation for what the site at 715 Childrens Center Road SW in Leesburg should be called.

For 40 years, that campus has been home to the C.S. Monroe Technology Center. But this school year, the center’s programs have moved to the new Academies of Loudoun campus on Sycolin Road and are operating under the new name Monroe Advanced Technology Academy, or MATA. The building on Childrens Center Road will be torn down and replaced with a two-story, 91,000-square-foot building to house the county’s alternative education programs that have for years operated out of Douglass School on East Market Street.

Senior staff members initially suggested calling the new facility Charles S. Monroe Education Center, but School Board members said they’d prefer to keep Monroe as the identity of the county’s vocational and technical programs and come up with a new name for the Childrens Center Road site.

The naming committee includes three Douglass School students, two Douglass School parents, two Douglass School staff members, as well as James Hershman Jr. of the Thomas Balch Library Commission, and Atoosa Reaser of the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee.

Each School Board member also appointed a representative to the committee. They are: Suzanne Fox (Jill Turgeon’s nominee), Andrew Hoyler (Joy Maloney nominee), Kevin Kuesters, (Eric Hornberger’s nominee), Mark McElroy (Tom Marshall’s nominee), Neil McNerney (Brenda Sheridan’s nominee), Joseph Newcomer (DeKenipp’s nominee), Donna Shackleford (Debbie Rose’s nominee) and Ram Venkatachalam (Beth Huck’s nominee).

School Board members asked the committee to come up with a name that captures the variety of alternative education programs that will be housed on the campus. Those alternative education programs provide smaller class sizes and more support for students who may face anxiety in larger school settings or need to make up credits ahead of graduation. The new building will also house the county’s substance abuse education courses, for students caught using illegal substances, and daytime and evening adult education classes.

“I think there is more misunderstanding about what goes on at Douglass School than any other school in Loudoun County,” Turgeon (Blue Ridge) said during a meeting last month. “This really could be an opportunity to open the eyes of the community about what goes on at Douglass—or whatever the name of the school will be.”

Construction on the new building is expected to begin in the spring of 2020, with the building ready to welcome students by the fall of 2021.

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