DATE: July 8, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Charter School Advisory Committee Asks to Put its Name Recommendation on Hold; Will Conduct More Research and Community Outreach, Sees Learning Role for Students
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – At their meeting yesterday, the Charter School Community Advisory Committee decided to put its recommendation for a name for its new school on hold. Last month, the committee recommended to Schools Superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas, that the new school be named Rose Hill Community School.
Following that announcement, there were reports on social media that Rose Hill once was the name of a plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson and sold in 1800 to another landowner. The property eventually became the site of private homes and businesses owned by generations of members of the Black community after the Civil War.
The present-day building housing the charter school dates back to 1959 when it opened as Rose Hill Elementary School. It served only Black students prior to integration. Sixteen of its students later integrated Albemarle County public schools and its faculty included several prominent teachers, including Asalie Preston, for whom Preston Avenue is named.
“Our decision in originally recommending that our school be named Rose Hill Community School was based upon the important historical legacy of the Rose Hill neighborhood and school. It stood alone in providing inclusive opportunities for Black men and women and their families to own their homes, build successful business and jobs and achieve high levels of educational excellence,” said Stephanie Passman, the charter school’s Head Teacher and the advisory committee facilitator.
The committee said yesterday’s meeting was devoted to a discussion of the research it has been able to do so far on the Rose Hill name, including conversations with historians, members of the community, parents, and staff.
In an email to Dr. Haas, the committee said by putting their recommendation on hold, they will be able to “dig even deeper into local history, to learn more, and to continue to engage all voices. We specifically want to hear more from the residents of our neighborhood about perhaps the most prominent and historic building in their community and we want to hear more from our own students.”
Passman said it also will enable the committee, school faculty and staff to more “thoughtfully gather more input and complete additional research, both as a committee and side-by-side with our students. By extending this process into the new school year, we believe it will be beneficial to incorporate our work into the curriculum so students can be a part of this authentic research and analysis. Our teachers are enthusiastic about sharing this opportunity with our learners,” she said.
Passman said that the committee’s additional research and community outreach would extend into the new school year and the committee was hoping to conclude its work within the next six months. It next will meet in August.
The committee’s recommendation followed two community public opinion surveys and two public meetings to consider more than 100 suggested names. Eventually, the committee narrowed its choices down to three before deciding upon Rose Hill Community School. There were no concerns expressed to the advisory committee about the Rose Hill Community School name during this process.
The community advisory committee included parents of students in the school, school staff, students, parents from feeder schools and members of the community who do not have children enrolled in the school. Information on the committee’s meetings and resources can be found at: https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/Murray-High.aspx.