Cl a ssif ie d
L if e s t yle s
Bu s in e s s
he sounds of hammers and handsaws carried through the otherwise-quiet wooded property of Freedom Center on a recent afternoon. Inside a small cabin on the far western end of the property, three teenagers and two instructors worked together to tear out rotted insulation and measure, cut and place new insulation board. “Looks good,” Alan Peck, PHILLIPS Building Futures program manager, told one of the boys who carefully secured the insulation between studs. Formerly known as Glaydin School and Camp, Freedom Center, with its rustic cabins, fishing pond, hiking and biking trails on 100 acres just north of Leesburg, is their classroom. The peaceful property is a vast contrast from the large middle and high schools the teens enrolled in PHILLIPS Building Futures came from, and just the change most of them need. The program offers intensive career training for students considered academically at risk. Operating under the umbrella of the Annandale-based PHILLIPS School, the Building Futures school opened in Loudoun four years ago with the goal of giving students another option to reach graduation. “All their life people have told these kids they can’t do Continued on Next Page
Leesburg Today/Danielle Nadler
Travon Bush takes directions from an instructor while replacing insulation in a cabin at Freedom Center. Lessons in construction, teamwork and responsibility are part of the curriculum at PHILLIPS Building Futures.
Opini o n
Charter School Teachers, Students Say They’re ‘Happy And Thriving’
group of teachers, parents and students from Middleburg Community Charter School made their support for the firstyear school known to the Loudoun’s School Board last week. During the public comment portion of the Feb. 24 board meeting, 17 speakers from the school community took turns at the
microphone to describe an environment of creative learning at the charter school. “I cannot describe the significant difference I have seen in my daughter in just four months. My kid has skyrocketed,” Chris Manthos said. He drives his daughter a total of 10 hours a week from his home in Leesburg to and from the western Loudoun school, but he says it’s worth it. “Parents and taxpayers deserve a choice. They deserve a rock-solid choice. This is one of them.”
School Notebook FIVE LOUDOUN MIDDLE SCHOOLS NAMED ‘SCHOOLS TO WATCH’
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Program Equips Students With Tools For Success
Ready to S-P-E-L-L? Loudoun County’s Leesburg Today-sponsored spelling bee is March 5. Return here for coverage, or go to leesburgtoday.com.
A Second Chance
E D UE C ATtIio OnN d uca
L o udo un Ne ws
he 10th District Congressional Art Competition is taking entries through March 25, the office of Rep. Barbara Comstock (R10-VA) announced last week. The competition is open to all high school students in the district, which includes all of Loudoun County. The winner of the competition will have his or her work played
The show of support for the small school came a week after the Loudoun Education Association, an employee advocate organization, stated that all of the school’s teachers are planning to leave at the end of the year. Three of the charter school’s teachers, a teacher’s assistant and two administrative assistants, all wearing yellow T-shirts with the school’s logo, huddled around the microphone to refute those reports. Susan McGroddy, an administrative assistant at the school and a parent of a MCCS
in the U.S. Capitol. “I am looking forward to seeing what interesting and innovative art the students create,” Comstock said in a prepared statement. “I want to wish all of the students good luck in what will be a great competition.” Students should drop-off their completed artwork between 1 and 6 p.m. March 25 at Enterprise Hall on the George Washington University’s Virginia Science & Technology Campus, 20101 Academic Way in Ashburn.
student, read a prepared statement on behalf of the group. “The MCCS board along with (Principal) Dr. (Barbara) Smith has created a supportive, safe and clean environment where our students are happy and thriving,” she said. She told the board that the recent reports about all of the school’s teachers leaving were not based on fact and are a product of a few unhappy people, not the majority. “We are here to speak for the majority Continued on Next Page
All art submitted will be on display April 3-May 7 at Enterprise Hall. Art submitted must be ready to hang and entries are limited to two per student. The First, Second, Third, Honorable Mention, and Best In Show awards will be announced May 4. For more information and guidelines about the 2015 Congressional Art Competition go to https://comstock.house.gov/serContinued on Next Page