Potomac Falls High School

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Potomac Falls High School
Potomac Falls High School emblem
Address
46400 Algonkian Parkway
Sterling, Virginia 20165
Information
School type Public high school
Founded 1997
School district Loudoun County Public Schools
Principal Dr. Elizabeth Noto
Assistant principals Kelly Hayes, Kirk Dolson, Jarvis Weeks
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,521 (2011)
Language English
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Purple, Black & White             
Mascot Panther
Rival Schools Dominion High School
Park View High School

Broad Run High School

Athletic Conference Dulles District
Region II
Website

Potomac Falls High School is a public secondary school in Sterling, Virginia unincorporated area in Loudoun County, Virginia. The school is part of the Loudoun County Public Schools system and is located on 46400 Algonkian Parkway. Rated in America's Top Public High Schools in 2008 (173rd),[1] Potomac Falls' student body is drawn from the Cascades, Countryside, Broad Run Farms, and Dulles Town Center communities.

History[edit]

Front of Potomac Falls High School

Potomac Falls High School opened in 1997,[2] drawing its student body from Park View High School and Broad Run High School. It was the first high school built in 21 years, following Park View's opening in 1976. There were about 900 students in grades 9–11 when Potomac Falls opened. There was no senior class since seniors attending Park View and Broad Run who lived in Potomac Falls' attendance area remained at those schools through graduation.

In 2003, students from Potomac Falls and Park View High School were fed into Dominion High School after the schools became overcrowded while students from Broad Run High School and Park View were sent to Potomac Falls. However, growth has stabilized in Sterling since then, and there are no new high schools being planned in the area for the foreseeable future.

The basic high school design for Potomac Falls has been used for every new high school built in Loudoun County since then. Stone Bridge opened in 2000 with Potomac Falls' basic design, but with a larger auditorium and some additional classrooms. Heritage, Dominion, Briar Woods, and Freedom also use the same basic template.

In 2005, Potomac Falls High School dropped resource, instead replacing sixth period with a new system called FLEX. In FLEX, the students first go to either period 7, 2, 3, 4 (respectively) from 10:38–11:19 and then they go to either period 1, 8, 5, advisory (respectively) from 11:25 to 12:07. The periods to which the students go depend on what FLEX day it is (the periods will always be the same; if they FLEX to seventh, they will flex to first, and if they FLEX to second, they will FLEX to eighth, etc.). During the 2010-2011 school year, the FLEX period was moved to fourth period. This time is occasionally used for assemblies, club meetings, filling out forms, or last minute school work.[citation needed]

In 2006, Potomac Falls High School decided to make an advisory period. This period began as an add-on of 20 minutes to the last FLEX of the week, but in the 2006–2007 school year, it was changed to a full 45 minute FLEX period occurring at the last FLEX of every other week.

Lawsuits[edit]

Demmon v. Loudoun County Public Schools, 342 F.Supp.2d 474 (E.D. Va. 2004) – As a fundraiser, a parent organization offered parents and community members the opportunity to purchase and order inscriptions for paving bricks to be placed in a sidewalk around the flagpoles at Potomac Falls High School. Purchasers could choose text and/or symbols to be inscribed on the bricks. Some purchasers paid to have their bricks inscribed with a Latin cross. After one parent complained, school officials removed from the walkway every brick containing a cross symbol.[3]

Case Status – The court held that free speech rights of parents were violated where the school removed bricks inscribed with a Latin cross. The court held that symbols were not school-sponsored speech; and that a walkway where the bricks were displayed constituted a designated or limited public forum and that the school engaged in prohibited “viewpoint discrimination.” The bricks were later reinstated.[4]

Demographics[edit]

In 2006–2007, Potomac Falls' student body was 70% White; 9% Black; 11% Hispanic; 8% Asian; 2% Indian

Accreditation and test scores[edit]

Accreditation[edit]

Potomac Falls is a fully accredited high school based on its overall performance on the Standards of Learning tests in Virginia.

SAT scores[edit]

The average SAT score in 2006 for Potomac Falls was a 1,555 (532 in Math; 517 in Critical Reading; 506 in Writing).

School Year Mathematics Critical Reading Writing Total
2000–2001 515 516 n/a 1,031
2001–2002 526 531 n/a 1,057
2002–2003 531 528 n/a 1,059
2003–2004 533 534 n/a 1,067
2004–2005 542 534 n/a 1,076
2005–2006 532 517 506 1,555 (1,049 M & CR)

Enrollment history[edit]

School Year Number of Students
1997–1998 858
1998–1999 1,216
1999–2000 1,380
2000–2001 1,506
2001–2002 1,579
2002–2003 1,641
2003–2004 1,414
2004–2005 1,405
2005–2006 1,455
2006–2007 1,488
2007–2008 1,503
2008-2009 1,533
2009-2010 1,538
2010-2011 1,504
2011-2012 1,521

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Athletics[edit]

The Potomac Falls' mascot is the Panther. Sports teams play in the AA Dulles District and Region II. At its opening, the Panthers played in the AAA Concorde District and the Northern Region, but the Panthers were at a severe disadvantage as their enrollment was considerably below the AA/AAA cutoff, and most of its member schools included some of the largest schools in the state, including Herndon and Chantilly High Schools. Both schools had enrollments of nearly 2,500 students at the time while Potomac Falls' enrollment in the 1998–1999 school year was at around 1,200. Potomac Falls played in the Concorde District nevertheless partly because Park View and Broad Run were also in the Northern Region but played in the Liberty District, and it was assumed that most AA sized high schools in Northern Virginia, like George C. Marshall High School, would play up in AAA.

Since Potomac Falls' move to AA in 1999, the athletic teams have enjoyed much success, particularly in their soccer programs. Potomac Falls has won seven AA state titles, two girls soccer titles in 2000 and 2004, one in boys soccer in 2006, one in boys golf in 2001, two in boys basketball in 2010 and 2011, and one in boys tennis in 2002.[citation needed] The cheerleaders of Potomac Falls received the regional and district title in 2006, and placed 3rd in the state.[citation needed] In 2008, the cheerleaders also took the district title. The Panther Dancers (Potomac Falls Dance Team) won a state title in their jazz routine in November 2006.[citation needed]

The Potomac Falls Boys Cross Country team has consecutively won the Dulles District AA title since the 2001–2002 Season to the present. As of the end of the 2010 season, it has won 10 Dulles District titles in a row.

The boys basketball team has been doing very well over the past few years. Greg Graves was named the Virginia High School Coaches Association Division 4 Player of the Year for the state of Virginia for the 2011-2012 season.[5]

Band[edit]

The Potomac Falls band has earned the title of Virginia Honor Band by the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) eight times since its opening in 1997 (1998–2005)(2012),[6] attaining overall "superior" ratings at both the State Marching Band Festival and the District Concert Band Festival each of those years. The marching band is a member of the USSBA circuit where it regularly earns awards and recognition for outstanding performances. The In 2008 the band sponsored a trip to Hawaii and in 2009 the band traveled to New York City. The Band program offers two concert bands, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Marching Band, Flute Choir, and numerous other ensembles based on student interest. The band program has also provided musicians for the annual musical since 2010.

In addition to the music performance ensembles, the Potomac Falls Band Program sponsors an award-winning Winter Guard that competes in the Atlantic Indoor Association circuit.

The Band Program is supported by a non-profit group: The Potomac Falls Band Boosters.

Guitar[edit]

Potomac Falls's current guitar program offers classes for Beginners, Intermediates and Advance guitar students. In 2006 and 2007 the Advance Ensemble had trips to New York City to receive master classes from prominent members of the music community. A trip to Chicago is planned for 2009. The three ensembles have performances during winter, spring, and a recently created "Solos Night", to showcase solos, duets and quartet performances. The Potomac Falls High School guitar quartet, whose members are chosen from among the students who audition for it, performs for the community. More recently, there has been the addition of the Artist level guitar class.

Debate[edit]

Potomac Falls has an active Debate Team. The school competes in Public Forum and Student Congress tournaments across the state. In 2012, the Debate Team won Districts and Regionals. In 2013, the team went on, winning Districts, Regionals, and States.[7]

Alumni[edit]

  • 2006 graduate Matt McLean has recently won a gold medal in swimming at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • 2009 Graduate Conor Shanosky plays Major League Soccer for DC United 2009–present.
  • 2005 Graduate Adrian Tracy played college at William & Mary and previously played for the New York Giants.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ America's Top Public High Schools – Newsweek America's Best High Schools,
  2. ^ "A Perfect Tribute to Griffith". Loudoun County Public Schools. January 25, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2006. 
  3. ^ "vs1". 
  4. ^ "vs2". 
  5. ^ http://www.vivaloudoun.blogspot.com/2012/03/boys-basketball-potomac-falls-graves.html
  6. ^ "Virginia Honor Bands Yearly History". Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Potomac Falls High School: Debate". Loudoun County Public Schools. 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2007.