LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Loudoun County Public Schools is making last-minute preparations for the first day of classes on Thursday.
That includes Elaine Thompson Elementary. It's the newest building to open in Loudoun County. Principal Tim Sparbanie brought our cameras on a tour of the new construction that makes this school different from any other in the county.
"I'm a parent just like you. I have kids in Loudoun County Public Schools. I'm bringing my own son here for elementary school for his last year," Sparbanie said.
He told us there are a lot of things that make the school different.
"When you walk through the building, you notice little things, there are lots of windows, light, natural light that comes in, we have solar tubes that funnel light from outside. And the entire roof is covered in solar panels," the principal said.
With solar panels built into its design, nearly 40% of the building's total energy usage comes from the sun. According to Sparbanie, it's one of four schools recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its environmentally friendly design.
"This is a great opportunity to really showcase what we can do in education today," Sparbanie said.
School administrators say it's also a great opportunity to bring real-world lessons into the classroom.
"So the energy part, the environmental part, the tax saving part these are all things that we can teach to our students about how real life works," Sarbanie explained. "We are all about the real world. We want our students to grow, everything we do here is measured on student growth."
With the first day of school approaching, school leaders are ready to welcome nearly 900 students back to class.
"We are going to do everything that we can to ensure that they have a happy successful growth filled year."