Members of the Jack Jouett Middle School community are being asked to share their views about the name of their school through an online survey that became active today. The survey, which will close on Thursday, May 27, asks participants if they favor the school’s current name or have suggestions for a new one.
The survey can be accessed at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/vqhoO7.
The survey is part of a school naming review being conducted by a 16-member community advisory committee in accordance with a division-wide policy. The policy requires a community review of all schools in the division that are named for an individual to ensure those school names reflect the division’s four values of excellence, young people, community, and respect.
The Jouett advisory committee will be sharing the results of the survey prior to a public meeting on Wednesday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. At that meeting, which will be conducted virtually over the Zoom video conferencing platform, community members will be able to offer comments on the names that were proposed through the survey.
“We’re very pleased with the strong interest we’ve seen in our community, even at this early stage in this process,” said Hannah Peters, a Jouett teacher who chairs the advisory committee. The committee includes parents from Jouett and from the four elementary schools that send students to Jouett; Jouett’s principal; faculty and staff; a student alumna; and members of the community who do not presently have children attending the school.
“The best decision we can make requires the engagement, enthusiasm and wisdom of as many families as possible,” Peters said. “We want our school’s name to represent our collective values, the strength of our diversity, and to be both meaningful for students, families and staff and inspirational in thinking about our future,” she said.
Four naming reviews have been completed by volunteer community advisory committees thus far, with the school board voting to change the name of three schools and to retain the name of another. Summaries of all completed reviews and those in progress are accessible from the school division’s School Names Under Review web page.
“Our school has been such an important part of the life of so many members of our community,” said the school’s principal, Ashby Johnson. “The opportunity now to bring everyone together to celebrate what we most value about our school and our future in the school name we recommend to the superintendent is one that most communities never have,” said Johnson.
Reflecting on her own experience as a middle school student at the school and later as a teacher who helped lead a program that earned the school worldwide recognition, Johnson said her goal is to encourage as many voices as possible to share their hopes for the school and its students. “Over the years, it’s been such an important part of my life, and that’s true for so many students, staff and families who have been and are in our school,” she added.
In fact, one of the members of the advisory committee is an Albemarle High School student who attended Jouett for three years. And, Johnson added, one of the best ideas to emerge in the committee’s initial work came from a student at the school who suggested using a QR code to improve access to the survey from cell phones.
Following the public meeting on June 2, the committee will narrow the list of suggested names to five semi-finalists, which again will be subject to community input. If the Jack Jouett name is among the semi-finalists, the committee will conduct research on Jouett, who was a captain in the Revolutionary War, credited with warning of a British plot to kidnap Thomas Jefferson. The school board’s naming review policy requires the advisory committee to seek to notify any family members of a school’s namesake as part of its process. Peters said the committee welcomes any information from the public regarding the Jouett family history or descendants.
In addition to the upcoming public meetings, Peters said the committee welcomes suggestions or questions about the review process at any time. All committee members can be emailed at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org. The same address can be used to register to speak at the public meeting on June 2.
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer