Cabin Branch Elementary in Clarksburg is MCPS' 211th school, providing relief to school overcrowding. Credit: Elia Griffin

On Monday–the first day of school for many students in the county–Cabin Branch Elementary School students danced to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” in the gymnasium and explored the grounds of their new school with excitement.

Cabin Branch Elementary is Clarksburg’s newest school and features greenspaces, athletic fields, an interior courtyard and classrooms that are designed to support collaboration. 

The opening of Cabin Branch Elementary–Montgomery County Public Schools’ 211th school–has been in the works since 2014 when the site was first selected, said Seth Adams, MCPS associate superintendent for facilities management. According to Adams, MCPS pursued the project to provide relief from overcrowding at Clarksburg Elementary School.

Cabin Branch Elementary has a capacity for 740 students and MCPS projects there will be about 721 students enrolled for the 2023-2024 school year. The new building is two stories and is approximately 95,327 square feet in size. According to MCPS, the project cost $40.8 million.

This year, Cabin Branch principal Stephanie Dinga told MoCo360 she is looking forward to seeing students interact with the green spaces around the campus.

“Instead of just seeing cement where students walk by, they can see greenscapes [with] plants. So, it’s ecofriendly, of course, because sustainability is important and that’s different from a lot of places,” said Dinga, who was formerly the principal at Goshen Elementary School in Gaithersburg.


Other sustainability efforts in the building include LED lighting and high-efficiency mechanical systems across campus, according to MCPS.

Dinga added that she is also excited for Cabin Branch students to have the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, activities in the school’s media center and makerspace. A makerspace is a workspace inside of a school that is dedicated to student creativity and hands-on learning, according to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The new elementary school is located on Dunlin Street in Clarksburg situated between residential neighborhoods. It is near the Clarkmont Local Park, Clarksburg Premium Outlets, Dominique Dawes Gymnastics and Ninja Academy and Clarksburg High School.


Cabin Branch Elementary is also the newest addition to MCPS’ Seneca Valley school cluster.

Some of the schools included in the cluster are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Roberto W. Clemente Middle School, Neelsville Middle School, S. Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, Waters Landing Elementary School and Dr. Sally K. Ride Elementary School.

The overcrowding of schools in the Clarksburg area has been a point of focus for parents and school staff for many years, both Adams and principal Dinga said. In 2021, parents in the area sent letters to MCPS officials and the Board of Education urging the school district to install two more portable classrooms and a portable bathroom at Clarksburg Elementary School, WUSA9 reported.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Clarksburg’s population was 13,766 in 2010 while it increased to 29,051 people in 2020.

Many Clarksburg community members were active in the planning for the school and provided input at community meetings to help MCPS officials understand what the community needed, Adams said.

“So, it’s been a long, long journey for this entire area, but I think we’re finally towards the end of that and now we have enough room and enough teaching spaces for all the students and staff,” Adams said.