Loudoun has the privileged position as the wealthiest, healthiest and happiest county in Virginia and the nation. In many Loudoun County communities, however, the picture is starkly different.
Teens who live in Loudoun’s pockets of poverty have a high school dropout rate nearly 10 times higher than the countywide average. Many must work to help support their families, often along with their parents in high-risk, low-income jobs.
Others simply don’t have the parental support they need to position
themselves for post-secondary education or meaningful career exploration. Still others struggle to adapt to traditional classroom environments, because of learning disabilities, physical or cognitive challenges or mental health issues. And for a growing number of youth, the path to college is out of reach financially. For these teens in Loudoun County, their dreams for the future are not matched by opportunity—and they are falling through the cracks.
We could give these bright, motivated students an opportunity to learn and explore on their own terms and on their own schedules—with individualized curricula and collaborative experiences with students and instructors from around the world.
We Can! We’re growing opportunities!
According to the Loudoun County Advisory Commission on Youth, while Loudoun students continue to be as healthy and successful as their peers in neighboring counties, some troubling trends that are causing increases in absenteeism, bullying, drop-out rates and disconnection.
The Commission’s latest annual State of the Youth of Loudoun County report examined demographics, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, truancy, school behavior, and juvenile justice involvement. The report found that fewer students are graduating on time and more students are falling into chronic school absenteeism—with increased incidents of substance abuse, bullying and offenses against others. How we respond today will have lifetime repercussions for these students.
In the 2019-20 school year, LCPS was
White 46% (down from 61% 2010-11)
Black 7% (no change);
Hispanic 18% (up from 14% 2010-11)
Asian 23% (up from 15% 2010-11)
Multi-racial 6% (up from 5% in 2010-11).
Loudoun’s population is becoming more diverse racially and ethnically. Traditional education models do not always address the new and changing needs of students and their families. For example, research overwhelmingly shows family-oriented educational delivery modes, rather than child-only modes, are more culturally appropriate among Latino, Asian and Islamic communities. Adapting schedules, curricular and delivery platforms can be very effective for these students.
The INMED School is designed to work individually with students and their families to develop the right learning environment for their needs.
Chronic absenteeism among Loudoun students is on the rise. An alarming 6,860 of LCPS students did not show up for 10% or more of the 2018-19 school year. This problem is most prevalent among youth living in disadvantaged communities of Loudoun, who must work to help support their families or become caretakers of their younger siblings. A student who is chronically absent in any year between grades 8 -12 is 7X more likely to drop out.
A school environment with flexible schedules and a variety of personalized learning platforms would allow these youth to meet both their family obligations and educational needs. The INMED School does that.
Higher Drop-Out Rates
Drop-out rates are alarmingly high among vulnerable populations. While Hispanic students. for example, make up just under 20% of the school population, they represent 80% of students dropping out.
For these students, limited education, social exclusion, lack of work experience and fewer opportunities to develop mentors can have long-term consequences that snowball across the lifetime—influencing everything from earnings and self-sufficiency to physical and mental health and marital prospects. (Source: 2020 State of the Youth in Loudoun County)
We can do better for our youth—and The INMED School WILL.
The INMED School
INMED Partnerships for Children and INMED USA are partnering with The Paxton Trust to build The INMED School, a nonprofit private learning environment on Paxton Campus in Leesburg, VA. This pioneering school will provide a hands-on learning experience with a focus on career exploration and preparation for students in grades 6-12. It will be the first of its kind in Loudoun County.
Students will work with local and world leaders in their fields to chart their own curriculum. They will participate in collaborative projects designed to solve community and global challenges. They will get real on-the-job experience with public and private community partners that they choose to work with. Our students will become NEXTGEN global thought leaders, problem solvers and authors of the futures they envision for themselves.
Why Paxton Campus?
Rachel Paxton left a legacy of serving children in need in Loudoun County. The INMED School would not only fulfill the mission of The Paxton Trust, but also would return the campus to its agrarian roots, incorporating modern adaptive agriculture practices while honoring the farming traditions that built Loudoun County. The campus also would be a hub of sustainable development, with walking trails, food forests, permaculture landscapes and outdoor learning spaces.
Located in the heart of Leesburg, Virginia, the Paxton campus is within walking distance of a majority of the families INMED USA serves. It already houses a school for children and youth with special needs. The INMED School would be a natural progression for providing opportunities for people of all abilities to explore careers and achieve independence.
How we’ll pay for it
- Corporate, foundation and individual champions.
- Sliding-scale tuition, based on financial need. No student will be turned away for inability to pay tuition.
- Student-led fundraisers.
- Sale of INMED Aquaponics® produce and fish to local restaurants, upscale grocery stores and farmers’ markets to provide sustainable support programs and scholarships.
Why support The INMED School?
Watch this video to learn why this business leader supports The INMED School.
Who is an INMED parent?
Who is an INMED student?
Who is an INMED champion?
Source: LCPS Statistics are from Loudoun County Advisory Commission on Youth, 2020 Message on the Mental State of our Youth