Frequently Asked Questions
What is your academic calendar and daily schedule?
Our academic calendar follows that of Loudoun County Public Schools, although we reserve the right to change the academic calendar with reasonable advance notice to parents. Classes begin at 8:50 am and end at 4:05 pm. In the event of snow, ice, or inclement weather, we send out email by 6:30 am if we are going to be delayed or closed.
Do you offer sports and music?
Loudoun School for Advanced Studies is focused on your child’s academic and social development. We leave everything else to those who are experts (in everything else).
As a result, our physical education program is unlike any other. We introduce a mix of field sports that highlight the importance of developing and maintaining cardiovascular, strength and flexibility fitness goals, along with activities the students choose, which have included Krav Maga, badminton, yoga, jiu jitsu, and water polo. We also view several health documentary films each semester and discuss the information and evidence presented as a school community.
Our middle school students can compete in public school sports in Loudoun County. This is not permitted in high school, even though the Commonwealth of Virginia just extended this opportunity to homeschooled students (private school parents, call your state delegates, senators, and the Governor!). For competitive swimmers, gymnasts, golfers and other athletes, we find they often participate in programs outside of the public school system.
As for music, our students can participate in the county’s youth symphony and be part of a public school band. As with sports, however, the most accomplished musicians are working with instructors and programs outside of our school and beyond what public schools offer.
Do you offer clubs and activities?
Students have the opportunity to participate in our established: Model UN program (participating in the largest Model UN assembly in the world); Ashburn Colored School Rehabilitation effort; and Education Museum project. Just this year we added Debate, Maker Circle, 5K training, and a Mentorship program at students’ request, and with their leadership.
Our model is not to make thirty activities available, but for students to select and lead those that matter most to them in light of their interests and long-term goals.
Does Loudoun School for Advanced Studies improve my child's chances of being admitted to the university of their choice?
Based on our experience to date, yes. Having said this, gaining admission to a very selective university often seems like playing the lottery. We cannot guarantee admission to a university, but we are committed to helping universities better understand each of our students. We have observed that attending a large high school like Thomas Jefferson can actually reduce your chances of gaining admission to a highly selective university because so many of your peers are competing with you and there is insufficient opportunity to adequately distinguish yourself from other students in a large senior class. Our graduating class is very small and we can give universities detailed information about each senior, to help admissions personnel learn more about the student's strengths, achievements, and aspirations. As a result, each of our graduates is an individual who stands apart from his or her peers.
What does going to a small school mean, in terms of socialization and friendships?
Ours is a very small school, because only a small school makes it possible for us to create the ideal environment for students who want to learn deeply. As noted elsewhere on our site, you can’t have a great academic and social environment at a large school, just as you can’t have a football team at a small school.
Yet, because of the way our school is designed and how well it works, our students build more connections to other students than they would in a larger school.
Our learning space is designed to promote discussion and thoughtfulness in seminar classrooms, and collaboration and conversation in a central co-working space.
We have combined the best of graduate schools and startups.
This, and great teachers, are what help our students thrive socially.
We are a small school, but the number of working relationships is large.
Students work with about a dozen adults across courses and they are in small classes with students across grade levels.
Students interact during study periods and our on- and off-campus lunch blocks.
We have dozens of local trips each year, movie nights, overnight trips and, for high school students, international trips.
In other words, students have countless opportunities to build effective working relationships with their peers, and even enduring friendships.
As for students’ existing friendships at their prior schools, teenagers today are the most connected generation in history, so students continue these existing friendships with ease.
Being at our school is like being in any work environment (except that ours is the most reasonable and generous workplace you can imagine), in that you can become friends with your colleagues, or you can be friends with people from other places, or both.
In sum, our students report actually working with a much broader group of students at Loudoun School for Advanced Studies than they did at their prior, larger schools, and being able to do so more effectively.
Who does best?
Who will do best at Loudoun School for Advanced Studies? We've found some characteristics that our students have in common:
Work above grade level, usually far beyond
Have an academic focus
Are an independent learner
What foreign languages do you offer?
We offer instruction in Spanish and French.
Do you take an international trip every year?
During the academic year, the high school takes an international trip. The cost of this trip is approximately $4000. This trip is not required, but is encouraged. Students play a large role in determining where we travel each year. In the past we have traveled to Italy, France, England, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, China, and Japan.
Where do your students come from?
Current students live in Eastern and Western Loudoun County, Fairfax County and Falls Church City. Our students are a mix of former public, private and homeschooled students.
How do you handle lunches?
Three days a week we go off campus for lunch - to restaurants in One Loudoun, Ryan Park, Dulles 28 and others. Two days a week, students can either bring their lunch or order out from various local restaurants.