LOUDOUN COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL was voted, “Best Private PK-8th Grade School,” by I AM Modern readers for the second year in a row. LCDS, as the school is known, is a standout, parents say, because the independent nonprofit provides students with a ‘well rounded’ education.

From academics to the arts to developing good study habits to learning teamwork and even to basics like how to present in front of an audience, LCDS students are well prepared for their futures. One parent summed up his vote for LCDS as top private school by saying, “LCDS teaches our children not just the skills they need to be successful in school…but to be successful in life.”

Small class sizes (6:1 is the average student to teacher ratio) allow teachers at LCDS to become familiar with each student’s ability and learning style. Classroom materials can then be tailored to meet individual needs. Higher achieving students, for example, receive broader context for the material they are learning. “My son was at a “gifted” school before and all they did was give him extra math worksheets which he found quite boring,” recalls one mom. “Here at LCDS, they challenge him to explore how the math concepts relate to other areas like science and art. I can see that he is completely engaged in the work he is doing and he now loves going to school.”

Head of School Dr. Randy Hollister, past winner of the Washington Post’s ‘Distinguished Educator’ award, sets the tone for the school by establishing a welcoming and nurturing community environment more akin to a family setting than a formal institution.

Hollister greets children at the door in the morning and knows every student by name (and even some of their pets’ names). He also calls each student at home on their birthday and leads an allschool assembly each Monday morning to discuss current events and to hand out commendations. “Our school’s goal,” Hollister says, “is to encourage students not just to strive to achieve their best individually but to develop a commitment to serve others and to improve the world in which we live.” This may sound like a tall order for elementary and middle school age children but it’s a mission the nearly 300 students at the school are happy to embrace.

Set on 70 pristine acres in Southeast Leesburg, the LCDS campus is a state-of-the-art facility which was designed to maximize natural light and to blend in seamlessly with its natural surroundings. A 65-year old barn, which was part of the original property where the campus now sits, was kept intact as a visual reminder of the school’s “country day” philosophy of maximizing students’ time outdoors and harmonizing with nature. The school hosts a number of events throughout the year to establish a sense of community at the campus, such as a Fall Fun Fair hosted by the Parents’ Association each October.

Often parents say that it’s the teachers that make the greatest difference in the quality of a child’s education. There are great teachers at every school.

The difference at LCDS, parents say, is that at Loudoun Country Day School, every teacher is great. “Our teachers approach their work not as a job but as a calling,” says Susan Hower, a veteran LCDS teacher who was just named as the school’s new Director of Admissions. “Our teachers are motivated because they love what they do, and this, in turn, motivates our students.” The school has been in the national spotlight lately as faculty have been recognized by prestigious organizations including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which recognized LCDS physical education teacher Chip Ross last year with a Leadership Award. LCDS students win awards, too. Last year, three LCDS eighth graders qualified to compete in the National History Day final competition and several students placed in the top ranks of the Math Olympiad contest.

LCDS provides students with a solid, well-rounded education. Graduates go on to attend elite high schools including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, The Academy of Science, Phillips Academy, The Madeira School and many other top private and public high schools. Many LCDS alumni continue on to attend prestigious universities. Recent alumni include a Rhodes Scholar, several Division One athletes and a concert pianist who was accepted at Julliard and has played for distinguished audiences around the globe. When asked why she chose Loudoun Country Day School for her first grade son, one mom said, “LCDS offers children the opportunity to thrive academically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically. At the end of the day, what more could a parent want for their child?”

For more info about Loudoun Country Day School, please email AdmissionsTeam@lcds.org.

Crayons, check. Glue sticks, check. iPads. Wait…iPads? Yes, the Apple tablet devices are now a standard part of the Kindergarten curriculum at Loudoun Country Day School (LCDS), an independent nonprofit school voted by I AM Modern readers as “Best Kindergarten.”

With a full day of fun (the Kindergarten day runs from 8:15am – 3:15pm) and over 20 field trips scheduled throughout the year, the LCDS Kindergarten program offers students a unique opportunity to develop a solid educational foundation within a safe, nurturing environment. In addition to hands-on academic units, students rotate through specials such as music, art, technology, foreign language, physical education, library sciences and time with their fifth-grade “buddies.” The buddies help the younger students adjust to life at LCDS, which includes nearly 300 students in Pre-K through 8th grade.

So why do readers think LCDS Kindergarten is the best? According to Head of School, Dr. Randy Hollister, “I hear from parents that their kindergarteners love coming to school. From the moment their teachers greet them at the door in the morning until the moment they are picked up at the end of the day, these children are having fun while they learn. I believe this is one reason why our enrollment has skyrocketed these past few years.” Despite the growth in popularity of the program, LCDS is able to maintain a student to teacher ratio of 6:1 which allows teachers to connect on an individual basis with each student.

Angie Cross, lead LCDS Kindergarten teacher, loves teaching this age group, she says, because, “Kindergarten is an exciting and critical time in a child’s development and growth. Our school places great emphasis on nurturing the ‘whole child.’ This means in addition to the academics and specials, we spend considerable time teaching character education such as how to be kind to our friends, how to think critically, how to collaborate with others and even basic human relations like how to look someone in the eye when you are speaking to them.”

Because ability disparities are great at this age, LCDS offers a differentiated learning approach that allows students who are advanced to pursue more challenging assignments. A dedicated enrichment teacher offers pullout reading and math groups that are scheduled during in-class reading and math so children don’t miss out on recess, free play and the specials classes. One mom of an advanced learner who was asked why she chose LCDS rather than a ‘gifted’ school for her son responded, “We chose LCDS because it offers an advanced curriculum that allows our son to remain with his age group. We wanted him to have time to develop socially while receiving more advanced coursework.”

Cross adds, “Kindergarten should be a year where all children feel safe, loved and supported wherever they are in their development. Our goal is to make sure all of our students know that they are valuable members of the school community.” And those iPads? They are covered in foam cases to protect them from the inevitable “oops!” of little hands and are being used by the Kindergarten classes to do research for science, social studies and art history. “At LCDS,” says Hollister, “We use the latest technology as a tool to enrich our core curriculum which emphasizes critical and creative thinking.”

For more information about Loudoun Country Day School, please email AdmissionsTeam@lcds.org.


  • Address 20600 RED CEDAR DRIVE LEESBURG, VA 20175
  • Phone 703.777.3841
  • Websitewww.lcds.org
  • Category Kids
  • Location Leesburg, VA



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