Charlottesville City Schools will pause the school renaming process for Burnley-Moran and Johnson elementary schools.
The school board voted 5 to 1 to change the names of the two elementary schools in a meeting Thursday evening, but said they weren’t satisfied with the new names presented. They have asked community members to email additional suggestions. Community members can do this by emailing schoolnames [AT] charlottesvilleschools [DOT] org.
The renaming committee plans to seek help from Insight Education Group (the firm assisting the school system with its upcoming strategic plan), horticulturists and other experts to develop more potential names. Once they have new options, they will vote again.
Previously, the Naming of School Facilities Committee presented the board with two names: Blue Mountain for Burnley-Moran and Cherry Avenue for Johnson. The names came from Burnley-Moran and Johnson students, staff and community members.
Board members want to find more aspirational names — Venable Elementary, for example, will become Trailblazer and Clark will become Summit later this year. They would also like to consider names that speak to the school’s history or geographic location, the school system said in a recent update.
It might be difficult to find names that encompass all the values the schools want to promote, but taking the extra time is needed, the update said.
Most of the members supported waiting to vote on the names until there are more options.
“A pause is required to commit to anything,” said Jennifer McKeever, a board member. “And the first thing that we need to commit to is a process that we can all, as a school board, stand behind.”
Another board member, LaShundra Bryson Morsberger, said she didn’t see why the pause was necessary.
“There’s always going to be a reason to not do these things,” said Bryson Morsberger. “If you have a problem with the process, what problems do you have? What do you want to see?”
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More about renaming local schools
City Schools naming committee recommends Johnson Elementary School become Cherry Avenue and Burnley-Moran become Blue Mountain
The schools were named for people who were leaders during the Jim Crow era of legal racial segregation.
Albemarle School Board votes to rename Meriwether Lewis Elementary to divest itself from racist past
Students and community members, however, voted to remain named after half of the infamous Lewis and Clark duo.
After bitter disagreement, Venable and Clark elementary schools will now be Trailblazers and Summit
“I think the name Trailblazers is kind of dumb,” said School Board member Jennifer McKeever.
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