We are small by design, because we want students to love being at school everyday. Not only because they love the books, classes, and intellectual discussions, but because they feel like they are part of a community and know they have something valuable to contribute. This sort of community is only possible in a small school, which is why we are, and will always be, a small school.
Students quickly grow comfortable in our space, because they are visible and engaged, intellectually and socially. At other schools, students might feel that the academic or social culture is not really about learning. The wrong students dominate the social hierarchy, and even in class bright students can feel out of place, because of the lack of depth, absence of intellectual conversation, and scarcity of meaningful work.
This small school balances academic excellence and humanity, so bright students feel better and learn more at school. This entails creating (1) an academic program that engages and challenges students with rich content, deep questions, and important work that focuses on teaching reasoning and connects to the “real” world, and (2) a learning environment that promotes open-mindedness, thoughtfulness, self-efficacy, and justified optimism. Even though we have designed an academic program for academically advanced students, we think the quality of the community is as important, if not more important, than the academic courses and experiences.
In short, we designed and maintain the academic and social experience at Loudoun School for the Gifted with each student's best interests in mind. Students can feel this within a few moments of walking through the door for the first time, and it's a feeling that never goes away.