School History: 1988-2008

Dranesville Elementary School opened its doors to students for the first time on September 6, 1988. Our first principal was Gioia Caiola Forman. Approximately 600 students walked through the doors of Dranesville on opening day, and enrollment was projected to increase to 900 within three years.

Life at Dranesville, during the first year, was exciting. Our principal said we needed to think carefully about what we did because everything about that first year was establishing the culture, setting the standards that would make us who we are.
~ Susie McCallum, Dranesville Teacher and Principal

Take a moment to explore some photographs taken during the construction of Dranesville Elementary School and during the 1988-89 school year.


During the 1992-93 school year, students participated in the National Engineers Week TECHNO-EXPO. The purpose of the project was to provide students, teachers, and parents with hands-on problem-solving activities that combined technology education and principles of engineering with the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Program of Studies.

Photograph of the gymnasium at Dranesville during the Techno-Expo. An entire city, constructed by students out of cardboard boxes and other household materials, fills every inch of floor space.

The following year, the decision was made to construct an entire city from LEGO building materials in honor of National Engineers Week. LEGO Systems, Inc. graciously donated 50 LEGO “hospital” packs. The LEGO building materials arrived in May 1994, and the sorting began. Two weeks later, after 30 of the 50 boxes had been sorted, the Zoning Committee used a grid map to lay out the town and decide how it would be organized.

Photograph of a portion of the student-built Technotown. The homes, businesses, and community buildings have been constructed out of LEGOs.
The 50 hospital packs weighed approximately 1.25 tons, and included roughly 750,000 pieces of LEGOs.
Each grade was responsible for a certain part of the town’s infrastructure. First grade was assigned public safety; second grade was assigned recreation; third grade, commercial and manufacturing; fourth grade, communications; fifth grade, transportation; and sixth grade, power. The students consulted experts at the school’s business partners, CH2M-Hill and Virginia Power to learn things like how a dam is constructed, how many ambulances a town needs, and where an airport should be located. The designs were then approved by a zoning committee made up of third through sixth graders.
~ The Times Community Newspaper, June 1994

After much deliberation, the city was named TECHNOTOWN. In June, the pressure was on to paint each lot, assign lot numbers, name the river and streets, finish construction, and organize tours and assign tour guides.

Photograph of a portion of the student-built Technotown. The homes, businesses, and community buildings have been constructed out of LEGOs.
The completed TECHNOTOWN debuted on June 9, 1994.

A History of Service

Since 2012, all Dranesville students have participated in recycling and food rescue which ensures that local food banks receive donations on a weekly basis. Providing much-needed food security in our community has been of particular interest to Dranesville’s students since the founding of our school.

Photograph of students organizing donated food from the 1994 food drive.
In 1994, Dranesville’s SCA held a two-week long food drive. The food was donated to LINK, a Herndon area non-profit charity.


: Photograph of the exterior of Dranesville Elementary from the 1996 to 1997 yearbook. Several school buses are parked in front of the building and there is a blanket of snow on the ground.
Dranesville Elementary School, 1997.

Medieval Times

The Medieval Festival, an annual tradition at Dranesville for many years, was the culmination of a fifth-grade lesson about the medieval period. The students donned costumes and participated in dances, games, and practiced their hand at crafts such as calligraphy, mosaic art, and soap carving. The cafeteria was transformed into an elaborate banquet hall, and the students, dressed as princess, knights, artisans and clergy, dined over a meal of fried chicken, carrots, cheese, strawberries, and cake.

Photograph of students dressed in costumes for the Medieval Feast.
5th Grade Medieval Feast, April 10, 2000. Pictured at center are King Kyle Kasulis and Queen Alison Long.

Moments in Our History

Photograph of the covers of three Dranesville Elementary School yearbooks.
Dranesville Elementary School yearbook covers: 1991-92 (left), 1995-96 (center), and 1996-97.