DATE: January 24, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
School Board Makes It Official—Mountain View Elementary School; Next School Name to Be Reviewed Is Sutherland Middle School
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – At its meeting last evening, the Albemarle County School Board formally approved changing the name of Cale Elementary School to Mountain View Elementary School, effective July 1. The Board’s action supported the recommendations of the Cale Community Advisory Committee, Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas, and members of the Cale School Community.
At its meeting on January 9, the Board heard from Dennis Rooker, who chaired the advisory committee, and from Anna Balazs, an advisory committee member who also is the school’s media specialist. Both said that according to a school-wide survey, voting, and a suggestion box, Mountain View was the overwhelming choice of students, staff and parents.
The process to select a new name for the school dates back to the Board’s meeting on October 25, 2018, in which Haas was directed to review the policy on the naming of school buildings and facilities, adding school division values to the naming criteria. The Superintendent also was directed to review the names of all schools currently named for individuals to ensure they met the new criteria. Cale was the first school to have its name reviewed.
The school division has created a web page that provides current information on its school name reviews, including updates and progress in meeting the School Board’s direction. The School Naming Review web page can be accessed at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/default.aspx.
At last night’s meeting, Haas said Sutherland Middle School will be the next school to have its name reviewed by a community advisory committee.
“The School Board has approved significant improvements to our Policy FA, which governs the naming and renaming of our buildings and facilities,” Haas said. “These changes will expedite the review process going forward and avoid making an individual’s name the focus of that process,” he added.
Mortimer Sutherland was a teacher and principal in the school division, retiring in 1946. He later served on both the Albemarle County School Board and the Board of Supervisors. The middle school bearing his name was built in 1994.
Among the requirements of the division’s school name review policy is the appointment of a community advisory committee to include the school principal, three school staff members, three parents who have children in the school, and two community members who live within the school attendance boundary but do not have children currently enrolled in the school.
Advisory committee members will be responsible for developing a community-wide survey to solicit potential names for the school. Sutherland will be included among the list of names to be considered. The advisory committee also will conduct two public meetings, first to receive comments about potential names, and then, to hear opinions on a list of up to 10 names that the advisory committee will choose.
The policy stipulates that the advisory committee will narrow down the list of 10 names to three finalists. If Sutherland is among that group, the committee will determine if that name is consistent with the school division’s naming criteria, which includes reflecting the school division’s four values of excellence, young people, community, and respect.
The committee then will notify the Superintendent of their preferred name for the school and Superintendent Haas will make a final recommendation to the School Board.
“The involvement of the Cale school community in their renaming process, including the work of the community advisory committee, is an excellent model for what we seek to do at our school,” said Sutherland principal, Megan Wood. “I especially was impressed by the way students, staff and parents at Cale came together to think about what was important to them about their school and what mattered most to them in their relationships. We look forward to this new opportunity to all work together and to share ideas about our school and our future,” Wood said.
Members of the Sutherland community and attendance zone who are interested in serving on the community advisory committee are asked to send an email describing their relationship with the school, their interest in being part of the review process, and contact information. Emails should be sent by Friday, February 7, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The committee will hold its first meeting, an organizational meeting, later in February.