At their meeting last evening, the Albemarle County School Board approved two school naming recommendations from community advisory committees and from Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas. In unanimous votes, the Board retained the name of Virginia L. Murray Elementary School and decided to name the division’s charter school Community Lab School, effective July 1, 2020.
“I want to express my appreciation to all of the volunteers who devoted so much time and passion to these reviews. The quality of the research and discussion as well as the breadth of community outreach was impressive and made it an easy decision for me to endorse the recommendations of both committees,” Haas said.
The Superintendent told the Board that just as previous name reviews have demonstrated, one of the most valuable benefits from the naming reviews was the engagement of students, who learned about the history of their schools and came together to reflect on their school’s mission and values. “It’s rare for students to have the opportunity to be part of a process that names their own school,” he said.
Haas said the next school to conduct a naming review will be Jack Jouett Middle School. The school, named for a Revolutionary War soldier, opened in 1966 as a junior high school and became a middle school in 1977. The school’s enrollment last year was 681 students.
Hannah Peters, who has taught special education at Jouett for eight years, has been named the chair of the community advisory committee that will review the school’s name and make a recommendation to Haas on whether the name should be retained or the school should have a new name.
The advisory committee will include Ashby Johnson, the school’s principal; at least three teachers and/or staff; at least three parents of Jouett students; and two residents of the school community who do not presently have children enrolled in the school. Also on the committee will be at least one parent of a student from each elementary school who will attend Jouett, encompassing Agnor-Hurt, Broadus Wood, Greer, and Woodbrook. Johnson also is planning to involve students in the review process.
Those interested in becoming members of the advisory committee are asked to email why they would like to serve, their affiliation with the school, and their contact information to SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21. Committee members will be announced on April 23 and the committee is expected to hold their organizational meeting the following week.
“As a former student of Albemarle County, I am humbled and honored to be a part of the Jouett naming review committee. It is my goal that this process will ensure that all community voices are heard, respected and represented. A school name should be reflective of the best experiences that both our students and families can have. It should be a point of pride. I will work toward that end,” Peters said.
As required by School Board policy, the Jouett advisory committee will conduct up to two online surveys to gather suggestions for the school’s name, including keeping the current name. Those surveys will be the subject of as many as two public forums, in which community members can discuss survey results. Following these public engagement sessions, the committee will make a recommendation to Haas.
Jouett will be the fifth school in the division to have its name reviewed. Both Mountain View Elementary School and Lakeside Middle School (effective July 1) were completed in the past two years. In all, there were 13 schools in the division named for individuals when the naming review policy went into effect in October of 2018. In that policy, the School Board directed that all 13 have their name evaluated by a community advisory committee to ensure that schools should only be named for individuals whose professional and community service record represents the school division’s values of excellence, young people, community, and respect. Information on the naming review policy, process, and all of the current and completed reviews can be found on the division’s School Naming Review website.
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer