DATE: October 11, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Albemarle County School Board Votes to Change the Name of Cale Elementary School, Consistent With Superintendent and Community Advisory Committee Recommendations
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Albemarle County School Board voted at their meeting last evening to change the name of Cale Elementary School. The vote followed recommendations by both a Cale community advisory committee and Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas that the name should be changed.
The advisory committee will now reconvene and have up to 90 days to recommend a new name to the School Board. In accordance with the Board’s revised policy on the renaming of facilities, the advisory committee will be required to hold two community meetings. The first meeting will solicit potential names from the community, and the second meeting will receive community feedback on new names under consideration by the committee.
At their meeting on October 25, 2018, the Board directed the Superintendent to undertake a review all schools named for an individual, taking into account how faithful those names are to the division’s four values of excellence, young people, community, and respect.
As part of his recommendation to change the name of Cale Elementary School during the Board’s September 26 work session, Haas suggested four improvements to the current naming policy including:
- Convening more than one community advisory committee at a time;
- Allowing future advisory committees, when considering whether to change the name of a school, to also select a new name, if needed, as part of the same process;
- When considering a new name, giving preference to geographic location; and
- Establishing a review cycle for all school names to ensure they remain relevant to the school division’s mission and values.
If approved by the Board, these changes, Haas said, would make the review process more efficient, less costly, and less stressful for the community, future advisory committees, and the family and friends of the person or persons for whom a school is named. The Board is expected to vote on the proposed policy changes during their work session in two weeks.
In his recommendation to the Board last month, Haas said that, “Schools are meant to be a force for good, a force for progress, a place to bring people together toward a common purpose and a commitment to accomplishment as a community. Let us take a negative time in our county and school division’s past and make it a positive time for our future. Let us remain true to our values.”
“Let this begin by inviting our current Cale students, staff and families to be part of the naming of the elementary school they attend,” he said.
The community advisory committee includes three parents of current Cale students and two members of the Cale community who do not have children now attending the school. Also serving on the committee are two teachers from the school, the school’s associate principal, and its former principal. The committee is chaired by former Albemarle County Supervisor, Dennis Rooker, and also includes the school division’s Assistant Superintendent for School Community Empowerment, Dr. Bernard Hairston.
The committee began meeting in May and reviewed records, documents and interviews with members of the Cale family and with educators and students who worked in or attended Albemarle County Public Schools during the years when Paul Cale was Superintendent. Members also held a meeting to gain input from the public.