DATE: May 29, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
More Than 100 Names Suggested for New Charter School; Zoom Public Meeting to Review Names on June 8
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – More than 100 names have been submitted by students, parents, employees, and community members to the advisory committee that will make a recommendation on a name for the school division’s new charter school.
The new school is a merger of Murray High School and the Community Public Charter School, a middle school, that was approved earlier this year. The advisory committee is hoping to complete their work and recommend a finalist list of three names to Dr. Matthew Haas, the Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, by the end of next month.
The first step in the naming process concluded this week with the completion of a community survey. More than 150 people offered their opinions on the naming process, with most saying the new school’s name should represent the culture and history of the two previous schools or the values of the school division. Those values include excellence, young people, community, and respect.
The next step for the advisory committee will be a virtual public meeting on Monday, June 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/player.htm?xml/publicmeeting.xml.
The list of potential names and complete survey results, along with information on the advisory committee and its progress, is available on the school division’s School Naming Review website at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/Murray-High.aspx.
Those who plan on attending the meeting and wish to comment on the proposed names or survey results or offer their own suggestions are asked to email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org prior to the meeting. They will be provided with a link that will allow them to address committee members and the meeting audience.
Following the meeting on June 8, the advisory committee will narrow the list of names under consideration to no more than 10 and conduct a second public meeting, seeking input on those names. Based upon that input and their own deliberations, the committee will submit a list of three name finalists to Dr. Haas. In turn, he will make a recommendation to the School Board for their approval.
“On behalf of our committee and our charter school community, I’d like to thank those who have joined us in this important opportunity to select a name for our new school,” said Stephanie Passman, the new school’s head teacher and committee facilitator. “Some wonderfully thoughtful names have been provided to us. These names and the comments from those who took the survey demonstrate just how valued and meaningful the experiences our school offers are to students and families,” she said.
A great example, Passman noted, was one response that said, in part, “I hope to see a name with characteristics of a school where students excel and love learning … Characteristics such as positive education and a welcoming name [are] important to me.”
Another preferred a name that illustrates the school’s “strong commitment to strengthening individual students’ abilities, desire for self-confidence and what each student has within [themselves] to succeed in life.”
Suggestions incorporating a sense of community or innovation were common, as were the curriculum’s emphasis on mastery learning, the arts, and collaboration. Several suggestions favored keeping the Murray name in some form.
The school’s principal, Chad Ratliff, said that prior to the current closure of schools in response to public health measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19, students, staff and parents had expressed their enthusiasm for being part of naming their school.
“I saw it every day in our hallways and classrooms,” he said. “It has led to a good many discussions about what we value in our school, what we want to celebrate in our relationships with one another, our mission, and how we will define success for our graduates. The comments we saw in this community survey track very closely with those sentiments. This process is perfect for taking the next step in offering students and families collaborative educational experiences on the cutting edge of innovation and excellence,” he added.