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Charter School Community Advisory Committee Narrows List of School Names Under Consideration to Ten

DATE: June 15, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Charter School Community Advisory Committee Narrows List of School Names Under Consideration to Ten

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The school division’s Charter School Community Advisory Committee has narrowed the list of names for its new school to 10, following a community meeting last week. More than 100 names were suggested by the public in an online survey in late May.

The new school was established in February when the School Board approved the merger of the division’s charter middle school, the Community Public Charter School, and its charter high school, Murray.

Community members now have the opportunity to comment on the list of 10 names beginning tomorrow when an online survey becomes operational. The survey, which can be accessed at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/6rIjGY, will remain open until 5 p.m. on Friday, June 19.

The list of 10 names is dominated by two of the charter school’s distinguishing characteristics—community and innovation. Among these names are Murray Community School; Community Collaborative School; and Albemarle Collaborator School. Four suggestions use laboratory to emphasize the school’s innovative approach to learning: Community Laboratory School of Albemarle; Forest Street Laboratory School; Laboratory School of Albemarle; and Murray Public Laboratory School. Also included are Dogwood Secondary School, Dragon School, and Rose Hill School.

The results of the survey will be shared with the community prior to a second community meeting to comment on those results. This will be a virtual meeting on Monday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be live-streamed and those wishing to comment can do so by emailing 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.

The same link can be used to contact the advisory committee with any questions about the naming process itself.

Following the June 22 meeting, the advisory committee will select three names as finalists, recommending one of those names to Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division superintendent.

The School Board policy on the naming of new schools provides that if any of the three names selected by the community advisory committee is that of an individual, the advisory committee will research that person’s role in the community in view of the school division’s four values of excellence, young people, community, and respect. If the committee is unable to agree on a single name, Dr. Haas will review the three names selected as finalists. Dr. Haas’ recommendation will go to the School Board, which will make the ultimate decision.

“The names selected by our community advisory committee reflect what we most value about our school,” said Head Teacher Stephanie Passman, who is the advisory committee’s facilitator. “The sense of teamwork, inclusion, and personal connections among students and staff always has made learning experiences here so rewarding. At the same time, our small size is conducive to experimentation and creativity. We are able to be flexible and strategic in the way in which we design learning opportunities to match student interests,” she said.

One example of this approach, says Principal Chad Ratliff, is the school’s adoption of an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School curriculum next year. Students will be able to take IB courses and earn an IB Diploma. “We’re enthusiastic about this expansion of opportunities for students. The IB focus, on student-centered and experienced-based learning, is an ideal practical application of the founding philosophy of our charter schools,” he said.

Information about the School Board’s policy on the naming or renaming of schools and of the status of all reviews can be accessed at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/default.aspx.

The new school was created earlier this year when the Albemarle County School Board approved the merger of the division’s middle and high charter schools.

“Selecting a new name for our school is a highly meaningful way for all of us to come together, think deeply about the values and strengths and future of our school community, and to suggest a name that best reflects these qualities and our aspirations. I am impressed by and grateful for those who volunteered to serve on our naming advisory committee and urge all members of our community to participate in this process through the online survey that goes live tomorrow,” Ratliff said.

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