Loudoun Academy of Science
|This article does not cite any sources. (April 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Loudoun County Academy of Science|
|21326 Augusta Drive
Sterling, Virginia 20164
|School district||Loudoun County Public Schools|
|Color(s)||Green and Black|
The Loudoun Academy of Science is a part-time alternative school program for high school students enrolled in Loudoun County Public Schools. Currently, the program is located at the campus of Dominion High School at 21326 Augusta Drive in Sterling, an area in unincorporated Loudoun County, Virginia, United States.
History and structure
The Academy was established in 2005 as a magnet program of science and technology for Loudoun County students. The purpose of the Academy is to provide advanced math and science courses for gifted students in science and technology. These courses include Advanced Placement courses, as well as classes devoted to scientific research. Science classes in the 9th and 10th grades integrate components of earth science, physics, and chemistry in preparation for AP level sciences in the 12th grade. The math curriculum integrates statistics and modeling in all of its courses, which range from Algebra to Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations. The Academy of Science differs from other similar magnet schools in the area such as TJHSST in that the class sizes are significantly smaller; all classes, excluding the junior year Biology class, have fewer than 20 students.
The admissions process is extremely competitive for 8th graders who wish to attend the Academy, based primarily on students' academic performance (grades) in middle school, a writing sample, as well as teacher recommendations. Starting in 2009, the PSAT is an application requirement for public, private, and home schooling students. As the AOS science, math, and research curriculum has gained popularity over the years, the number of applicants have soared. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the application process will be split into two parts, similar to that of other magnate schools like TJHSST. As of 2015, AOS has announced as an admissions exam, students will take the SAT, a much harder test than the PSAT, which is what previous students had been taking.. Currently, 68 students enroll in the rising freshman class each year.
Extracurricular activities and athletics
All students who attend the Academy go to classes located at Dominion High School every other school day where they take courses in math, science, and research. On alternating days, Academy students attend their home school, where they take courses in English, Social Studies, and other electives. The Loudoun County High Schools try to coordinate their schedules to allow Academy students to take extra curricular classes at the home school, but scheduling conflicts often arise. Students who attend the Loudoun Academy of Science are not considered to be students solely at the Academy, nor are they considered to be Dominion students. Unless an Academy student lives in the Dominion HS attendance zone, they are still considered students at their home schools, based on their residences.
Academy students who are on athletic teams play for their home schools and their respective conferences.
The clubs available at the Academy of Science are the school's robotics team, FIRST Robotics RoboLoco Team 5338, and the school's student body council, Student Advisory Group for the Academy of Science (SAGAS). In addition, a variety of field trips are taken throughout the four years students spend at the Academy of Science. During sophomore year, students take a week-long trip to the Bahamas to research marine biology, and in junior year, the students travel to Wallops Island, Virginia to learn about ecology.
Most of the Academy of Science is based on a junior/senior year research project. After a topic is chosen and approved, students work with a large spectrum of different lab devices and their mentor to further develop this research project. Students also are given the option to apply for a collaboration project with students of Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore. Participants in this program are then presented the opportunity to travel to Singapore for a research competition. In 2013, the school made arrangements with Daegu Science High School in South Korea to create a new collaborative research program.
In past years, students have developed numerous research projects that have been exceptionally successful—some of these had research papers were published, while others went on to place in many large science competitions such as the Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and the Intel ISEF competition.
Awards and recognitions
- 2010 - 1st in International Space Olympics
- 2012 - 1st in International Space Olympics
- 2013 - 2nd and 3rd in International Space Olympics
- 2012-2013 - One of two schools within the United States invited to participate in the International Science Youth Forum in Singapore.
The Loudoun County Public Schools system has expressed plans for an advanced STEM school which would combine the Academy of Science along with Monroe Technology Center and the Academy of Engineering and Technology. It is expected to be completed by 2018.