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Cale Advisory Committee Narrows List of New Names to Six Suggested by Members of the Community

DATE: November 21, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Cale Advisory Committee Narrows List of New Names to Six Suggested by Members of the Community

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Cale Community Advisory Committee, in its first meeting since the School Board voted to change the name of Cale Elementary School, has narrowed the list of potential new names for the school to six. Last evening, based on nearly 550 suggestions, committee members agreed that the school’s new name should be selected from the following community suggestions: Avon, Avon Ridge, Biscuit Run, Mill Creek, Mountain View, and Southside.

The committee will meet again on Tuesday, December 10, in the cafeteria at Cale to hear public comment on which of the six names should be selected. A final meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8, when the committee is expected to agree on a final recommendation to the School Board.

“I want to express the appreciation of our entire committee for the robust responses we received over the past several weeks to our call for suggested names,” said Dennis Rooker, chair of the advisory committee and past chair and member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Rooker said that suggestions were received through a community online survey, email, a suggestion box at the school, and last evening’s meeting. Nearly two out of every three respondents to the survey said they were well-informed about the renaming process as it unfolded over the past six months.

Asked in the survey whether the school’s new name should reflect its location, its values, or general themes, almost six in ten respondents opted for location, which was reflected in the names that were proposed.

Last month, the committee said they would not consider any suggestions that the school be named for a person, given the length of time needed to research a person’s history and role in the community. In accordance with the School Board’s policy, the committee is required to make their recommendation within 90 days of the Board’s decision to change the school’s name, or by January 10.

One of the names on the finalist list, Southside Elementary, actually was the original name proposed for the school, and early architectural drawings included that name. The school was renamed for Paul Cale in time for its opening in 1990. Cale served as superintendent of schools from 1947 until 1969. A plaque to be displayed in the school will note this fact.

Rooker said the committee especially was impressed with the thought that went into the names that were offered. “A perfect example,“ Rooker said, “was what he heard from a fourth-grade teacher at the school. She talked about how she used the renaming opportunity in her class as a history lesson about the school’s location and the surrounding neighborhood communities.”

He also noted that the committee is taking several steps to broaden the accessibility of the December 10 meeting to as many people in the school community as possible. At that meeting, the committee will hear from parents, school staff, and members of the larger community about their preferences concerning the six names under consideration.

The meeting, which will be held in the school’s cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m., will include real-time Spanish language interpretation and will be available via live video stream at http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/player.htm?xml/mohsevents.xml.

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 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.

Two members of the advisory committee made their debut last evening. The school principal, Cyndi Wells, replaced former principal Lisa Jones, and the school’s library media specialist, Anna Balazs, replaced Sue Harris, a teacher at the school.

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. The committee held three public meetings leading up to the decision of the School Board last month to change the name of the school.

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