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Cale Advisory Committee Set to Receive Public Input on School Name Change

DATE: October 29, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Cale Advisory Committee Set to Receive Public Input on School Name Change

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Cale Community Advisory Committee will be holding three meetings, including two to receive input from the public, prior to recommending a new school name to the Albemarle County School Board in January.

Following a decision by the School Board on October 10 to change the name of the school, the advisory committee is reconvening and, by policy, will be recommending a new school name to the School Board no later than January 10. Committee Chair Dennis Rooker said one decision already has been reached by committee members: No names of individuals will be recommended to the School Board.

“There are many people who have made outstanding contributions to our community. They should be appropriately recognized and honored. Given our research over the past several months and experiences locally and across our nation, however, the naming of buildings for individuals is not our preference. The focus should be on the learning that takes place in our schools and the hopes and aspirations of those inside, not on people whose names are on the outside of the building,” Rooker said.

Rooker visited Cale Elementary School on Monday to talk about the unusual opportunity parents, staff and students have to participate in the naming of their school. Beginning this week, students in grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to complete a survey on the renaming of the school, and the school will have a suggestion box where students and staff can submit ideas for a new name.

An online survey at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/V1OzDY also is soliciting suggested names for the school, and proposed names also can be emailed to the committee at RenameCaleSchool@k12albemarle.org. In order to prepare for the advisory committee’s first public meeting, all names submitted for the committee’s consideration must be provided no later than noon on Friday, November 15.

The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20, in the county office building on McIntire Road. Those who attend will be able to offer their choices for the school’s new name. Committee members will narrow the list of prospective names to five finalists. Those five names will be the subject of the committee’s next meeting, tentatively set for Tuesday, December 10, at the school. At this meeting, members of the community will have the opportunity to comment on the five names under consideration.

The committee’s final meeting will be on Wednesday, January 8, when it will finalize its recommendation to the School Board. At least nine of the 11 voting members of the committee must agree on a recommendation. If fewer than nine support the choice, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas, will make a recommendation to the Board.

The 11 voting members of the committee include nine with a direct link to the school or school community, including two school administrators, two teachers, three parents of Cale students, and two people who live in the school’s attendance zone but do not have children currently attending the school.

One change has been made to the committee’s membership: The school’s principal, Cyndi Wells, has replaced former principal Lisa Jones. Jones was the principal when the committee was first appointed in May. Wells succeeded her in July.

Rooker noted two requirements in the School Board’s renaming policy that will influence the committee’s work. “The name of the school should reflect the school division’s values of excellence, young people, community, and respect,” he said, adding that the School Board’s clearly stated intent is “to involve students, teachers, and interested citizens that reflect the diversity of the Albemarle County Public Schools community in the process of naming or renaming schools.”

“The Superintendent said in his recommendation to the School Board 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,” Rooker emphasized. “We are looking forward to working with the school community to select a name that will be widely celebrated as promoting these ambitions,” he said.

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