School Board Votes to Change the Name of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School to Ivy Elementary School

School Board Votes to Change the Name of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School to Ivy Elementary School

Meriwether Lewis Elementary School (MLES) will become the fifth school in Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) to change its name after undergoing the school division’s name review process. The Albemarle County School Board voted to change the name at its meeting last evening, approving a recommendation from the division’s superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas. Haas selected Ivy Elementary School from among three names forwarded to him by the MLES Naming Review Advisory Committee. The name change will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

During the review process, the advisory committee solicited community input through two surveys, both of which included participation from fifth graders, and two public meetings. Four community members spoke at those meetings, and the committee received an additional 25 comments via email during the process. It also relied upon research from such local groups as the Virginia Tribal Education Consortium, Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, and the University of Virginia Corcoran Department of History. It held its second public meeting on November 29, when it discussed survey results and student involvement.

Survey results and other information related to the name review process can be found on the Meriwether Lewis Elementary School Naming Review web page.

The committee considered all of the information they acquired in determining whether Meriwether Lewis exemplified the ACPS values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness. Further deliberation included alignment with the ACPS Anti-Racism Policy.

Of the name change, Haas said, “In the first survey during this process, the committee asked which criteria were important to consider in naming a school, and more than eight out of every 10 respondents chose location. The school is located in the heart of Ivy, and the Ivy Elementary name honors the school’s strong connections and partnership with its local community.”

The three names submitted to Haas by the community advisory committee were Ivy Elementary, Owensville Elementary, and Meriwether Lewis Elementary.

School music teacher Cheryl Wetmore-Simpson chaired a diverse advisory committee of 12 volunteers consisting of three staff, four parents of students at the school, and five community members who do not have children who attend Meriwether Lewis. Karen Waters, ACPS Director of Community Education, served as the project manager for the review process.

In total, 14 schools in ACPS were named after individuals when, in October of 2018, the school board directed that all have their names evaluated by community advisory committees. The purpose of the reviews is to ensure that all schools have names that align with the school division’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness.

To date, including last night’s decision, the school board has changed the name of five schools and retained the name of three. Summaries of all school name reviews can be accessed from the school division’s School Names Under Review web page.

Community members with questions or suggestions about the name review process may consult the school division’s School Naming Review website or email the school division at

CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Deputy Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-249-8379