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School Leaders Eye Shift of Hovatter’s Kindergarten Classes

Hovatter Elementary School

Anticipated enrollment growth in the Aldie area has Loudoun school administrators proposing an unusual student shuffle to make room for everyone next fall.

The School Board on Tuesday was briefed on a plan to shift incoming kindergarteners at Hovatter Elementary School to attend classes two miles away at Pinebrook Elementary during the next three years.

Deputy Superintendent Ashley F. Ellis said that under current projections, Hovatter will be over capacity by 226 students next fall, with the overflow growing to more than 400 by 2024. In 2025, a new elementary school is expected to open, providing adequate capacity for families in the area.

The staff plan is to move Hovatter’s kindergarteners to Pinebrook, which is operating under capacity, until the new school opens. The students would return to Hovatter for first grade. The moves would free up six classrooms in the school for students in grades 1-5.

“This solution is not ideal,” Ellis said, describing it as the “least bad option we have been able to come up with.”

She said the Hovatter property can’t accommodate the installation of modular classrooms, especially with the ongoing construction next door. Moving fifth graders to nearby Lightridge High School was considered and rejected. And the staff sought to avoid options to split grades between multiple schools. It’s hoped the kindergarten shift will provide the most stability for Hovatter families during the crunch period.

So far, 160 kindergarteners are registered to begin school at Hovatter next fall, and Ellis said that number is expected to growth through the summer as more parents get their children signed up. 

No School Board action is required to implement the plan. 

The next steps will be community outreach by the principals at Hovatter and Pinebrook and the development of a transportation plan.