Chantilly family grows bigger than ever


Growing numbers of students are attending Chantilly High School.

Sudharshana Krishnan, Editor In Chief

The beginning of the year brings many changes to a school: new classes, teachers and students. This school year has been especially unique, as FCPSon has brought significant changes. Along with the new initiatives, the school has experienced a rise in student population.

“We were projected to be around 2,740 students and we’re about right on,” Principal Teresa Johnson said. “We have enrolled 2,743 students. So, [the county] was pretty close in their projections, when in the past they have been very low.”

Fairfax County uses a formula to determine what each school’s population will look like five years in advance to make sure all necessary accommodations are made in time.This year, almost 38 new teachers were hired.

“The county provides us with the number of teachers we can hire in the spring, so that’s what we have to start the school year off with,” Johnson said.

When the county’s projections are off, it creates challenges because there can be extra teachers or students.

“They have an actual formula that they use on the county level and sometimes they are right and sometimes they are not right. In the past, they have been very low,” Johnson said.

Some think that the FCPSon program in the Chantilly pyramid has attracted families to the area.

“I don’t know if it has anything to do with the FCPSon program. I don’t know if that’s why more people are moving into the area,” Johnson said. “[My theory is that] there is a new neighborhood that’s come in [that caused the increase in population].”

This year has also broken the record for the highest number of pupil placement requests. Pupil placement is a program that allows students who are zoned to other schools to a different school of their choosing. In order to successfully pupil place, the student must have a valid reason for wanting to attend a different school. Common reasons include transportation, sibling attendance and course offerings.

“My base high school was South Lakes High School,” senior Sejal Patrikar said. “I pupil placed all four years because I wanted to take AP classes as opposed to the IB classes offered there.”

The school also has a high number of transfer student requests. For example, between Sept. 8 and 13 nine new transfer students were registered.

“Some students have left, but we seem to be getting more students [rather than losing students],” Johnson said.

The large population has also increased the number of students per classroom. This year many classes are capped at the maximum of 30-31 students, making course changes difficult.

“Our classes are very full and there is a teacher shortage,” Johnson said. “We have about 12 teachers who have taken on contracts to teach an extra period. A good part of that is because we can’t find teachers to fill the position.”

The rising population has also affected students who commute to and from school.

“The buses are really crowded this year, and it takes forever to get on and off the buses because there are so many people,” sophomore Jason Clark said. “There are sometimes three people per seat.”

Some students enjoy the larger school environment because it provides them with more opportunities.

“I prefer larger populations because it allows for people to get involved more,” junior Warda Butt said. “I feel like they are more spirited.”

However, smaller school environments feature positive aspects as well.

“In smaller schools everyone knows each other, so you feel more comfortable,” sophomore Maryam Naghedi said. “There is also less traffic in the hallways.”

Many faculty and students believe that Chantilly’s growth speaks to the strength of the school and the many opportunities available to students.

“I think [the population is growing] because we tend to be more progressive than other locations,” Johnson said, “We have a reputation for challenging students academically, and being a very caring community.”