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Community Asked for Their Views on the Selection of a New Name for the Division’s Charter School

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

Community Asked for Their Views on the Selection of a New Name for the Division’s Charter School; Opinion Survey Open Until May 28

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The process to decide upon a name for the school division’s new charter school took another step forward today with the publication of an online community survey. The survey, which can be accessed at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/WHKjUz, will be open until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.

This past February, the School Board approved the merger of Murray High School (a charter school) and the Community Public Charter School, a middle school, to create a new school serving students in grades 6-12.

The principal of the new school, Chad Ratliff, said the opportunity for students, parents, staff, and other members of the Albemarle County Public Schools community to participate in choosing a name for the new charter school offers several benefits. “It encourages all of us to think deeply about what we value in our school, what we want to celebrate in our relationships with one another, our mission, and how we will define success for our graduates,” he said.

Survey participants will be asked whether the school’s new name should primarily reflect its location, the school division’s core values, or a theme that describes the school’s culture and history. They also will be invited to submit names for consideration by a school community advisory committee that had its first meeting this week.

The committee will publish the survey results on the school division’s School Naming Review website at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/Murray-High.aspx. The site also includes information about the division’s policy on the naming or renaming of schools and information on all such reviews that have been completed, are in progress, or are planned.

The charter school community advisory committee also will schedule a public meeting to hear comments about the names proposed in the survey. Following this meeting, the committee will select up to 10 names that will be the subject of a second community survey and public meeting.

Ultimately, the committee will finalize a list of three names for review by Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas, who will recommend one name to the School Board for their approval. The school’s new name will become effective for the 2020-21 school year.

Consistent with School Board policy, if one of the committee’s three finalists is the name of a person, the committee will research that person’s role in the community to ensure it is consistent with the school division’s four core values of excellence, young people, community, and respect.

Throughout this process, members of the public can email any questions or comments they have to the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.

The head teacher for the high school and middle school, Stephanie Passman, is the committee facilitator. Other staff members on the committee include Ratliff, Lucy Akers Allen, Josh Flaherty, and Julie Stavitski. Also serving on the committee are three parents of current students, Alhena Cleveland, Daphne Latham, and Brian Veerhoff, and two parents from feeder schools, Shelley Blakey and Megan Kopley. The committee further includes three students, Gwen Cox, Seth Raffinan, and Chloe Root, and two community representatives who do not have children in a school, Shereen el Mallah and Freddy Jackson. Since any student in Albemarle County is eligible to attend the charter school, all schools in the division are considered to be feeder schools.

“The best decisions are those that are the most collaborative,” Ratliff said. “It’s helpful in this survey and at our public meetings to hear as many views and opinions as possible from as wide a perspective as possible in order to select a new name for our school. This is the perfect way for all of us to come together to continue offering students and families unique educational experiences that are on the cutting edge of innovation and excellence,” he added.

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