Archive for Friday, January 21, 2011

First Bell: Middle school naming advice: Avoid massacre-leading border ruffians; latest snow day won’t be made up; candidate filing deadline is noon Tuesday

January 21, 2011


All this talk of renaming the Lawrence school district’s junior high schools reminded me of a relatively recent naming case that offers something of a cautionary tale.

Let’s go back to 1995. The district is searching for names for its soon-to-be-built high school, the one approved by voters for a site northeast of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

School board members come up with own lists of suggested names, which then get compiled into a single list.

And one suggestions sticks out: Quantrill High School.

You know, Quantrill — as in William Clarke Quantrill, the guy who led a raid Aug. 21, 1863, that ended up burning down Lawrence and killing 150 residents.


The board had some better choices to consider. The winner: Free State High School.

We’ll see what comes up this time around. The naming committees are scheduled to be appointed Monday night, with their recommendations expected to be forwarded to the board sometime around spring break.

Here’s a prediction: Quantrill won’t make any of the lists.


The Lawrence school district’s decision to cancel school Thursday because of snow won’t force students into any extra time in class.

Call it daylong recess.

The district already had two days scheduled into its calendar for “inclement weather,” and both of those days already are spoken for. The district already had canceled classes twice for inclement weather.

Now, with Wednesday’s cancellation being the third such day of the year, the district gets a free pass. That’s because the Kansas State Department of Education gives the district two additional days to cancel classes without having to make them up.

Thus, the Lawrence district can cancel classes one more time this academic year and not have to make up the time in class. Anything beyond that, and the district would need to start adding time onto schedules — likely by adding a few minutes onto the end of each school day through the end of the year.

That, of course, would be the opposite of recess.


More candidates are filing to run for area school boards, but have no fear: There’s still time to get in the race.

The filing deadline is noon Tuesday at the Douglas County clerk’s office, 1100 Mass. The filing fee is $5.

Four seats are up for election on the Lawrence school board. Several other boards in the area also have spots up for grabs.

For more information, visit the clerk’s office website.

— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open:


Gene Wallace 7 years ago

On middle school naming; after my silly suggestions last week and more serious ones this week, I'm going with my favorite, "Amber Waves". Amber Waves is from the song, "America the Beautiful". Amber Waves of Grain.

Gene Wallace 7 years ago

Getting silly again. "The Amber Waves Middle School Harvest Reapers" or "Reapers" with mascot "Wheatie" carrying a Scythe to "Mow Down" the competition.

deec 7 years ago

Sounds kind of like corn huskers.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years ago

"Amber Waves" was the name of the porn star in the movie Boogie Nights, right?

Gary Anderson 7 years ago

Wednesday’s cancellation? Did I miss something?

wmathews 7 years ago

The decision was made on Wednesday, but it was Thursday classes that were canceled. I updated the story — thanks for bringing that to my attention!

Whitney Mathews Assistant Community Editor for Online

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

Why do the Jr. Highs' names need to be changed?It seems like we're spending more money we don't have.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

You should call Mr. Spendy at 1600 Penn Ave. and tell him that.

pace 7 years ago

I think changing the name of the jr highs would cost more than keeping the name and adding middle school to the standing name.

frank mcguinness 7 years ago

The names are changing since they are no longer jr high schools as 6th graders will be attending them in the future. Therefore they will be middle schools. (This is what I was told from someone)

Bob Forer 7 years ago

Why not just make a public proclamation that in Lawrence, Kansas, the definition of "Junior High" shall hereby be defined to encompass sixth through eighth grades.

Be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; --William Shakespeare

fanaddict 7 years ago

What about naming them after Kansas Symbols? Seeing how it is our 150th... What about:

Cottonwood Middle Meadowlark Middle Ad Astra Middle (although I'm more partial to the ale...) Barred Tiger Salamander Middle School....ok. maybe not that one.

mch 6 years, 12 months ago

I agree totally. I have a 5th grader that is moving up to "Middle School" next year. It seems like these kids are going to have plenty of changes on their plates. I like just changing the name to Middle least for the first year. Time would be better spent on worrying about the circulum and how we are going to transistion these kids from grade school to a middle school setting. They do not need more confusion or changes.

This gives the district a full year to replace letter head, name badges, school signage, school T-shirts etc etc while these kids are getting use to their new environment. Plus...we do not pay our teachers enough, cutting classes and etc...why would we spend money on things we really cannot afford.

tankernav 6 years, 12 months ago

In an economy where we are cutting funding, cutting teachers and cutting classes for our students the last thing we need is to be wasting money on changing school names. I have a fifth grade who is moving up and a 9th grader who is moving up. We need to spend the time, money and effort concentrating on the kids, and the ciriculum, not the name. "thebcman" is right on track. We all know they will now be a "middle school" so keep the name the same and minimize the cost.

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