In Virginia, the Nokesville School’s 800 students will be among the first participants in this new strategy for educating elementary and middle school children in Prince William County.
The new $28.4 brick and glass school building located among the farms and large residential lots of the “Rural Crescent” part of the county, will be the first in a long time to serve Kindergarten through eighth grade students in one location.
The county has similar programs at its two “traditional schools” – Pennington, in Manassas, and Porter, in Woodbridge. But both are specialty schools that serve only first- through eighth graders, who must enter a lottery to attend.
The Nokesville School will be the county’s first and only general attendance K-8 school.
The idea has proved popular at the traditional schools, where applications consistently outnumber available slots by 3 to 1, but educators say it has the added benefit of serving smaller grade levels with more continuity.
In an interview this week, Worcester called the K-8 format “a fantastic educational model” that enhances academic achievement.
When students remain in the same building for middle school, there are fewer distractions and social pressures. The format also allows teachers to build stronger relationships with individual families, Worcester said.
The theory seems to be supported by test scores achieved by Nokesville’s first sixth-grade class, which remained at the elementary school last year in anticipation of the new school opening this fall.
Student scores on the Standards of Learning tests, which have not yet been made public, were strong in every subject area compared to other sixth-graders in the county, Worcester said.