Tonight, members of the Lawrence school board will consider approving lists of names for committees to consider new names for the Lawrence school district’s four junior high schools, set to become middle schools July 1.
The principals recommending nominees for the committees all say they would look forward to their committees’ recommendations — whether to seek new names for the schools, or rely on the existing names to describe the new middle schools.
A few observations, after talking with the principals:
• Only four or five of the 50 teachers surveyed at South Junior High School said they’d prefer to consider new names. Among the possibilities suggested: Southwind Middle School, which would combine the retained “South” name with “wind,” a reference to an American Indian tribe known as “people of the south wind.” South is located on land that used to be part of Haskell Indian Nations University.
• Other famous names would be considered, such as Naismith Middle School, in honor of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball and Kansas University’s first coach. He didn’t attend any of Lawrence’s four junior highs, of course.
• Among famous alums of West: Brian McClendon, a vice president of engineering at Google; and Robby Steinhardt, a rock violist and singer for the band Kansas.
• Among the well-known and influential from Central: Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company.
• From Southwest, which opened for the 1995-96 school year: “Our oldest alumni are just starting to make waves in their own careers,” Principal Trish Bransky said.
Members of the Lawrence school board are scheduled to appoint the committees during their meeting that starts at 7 tonight at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. Recommendations for school names would be expected to be returned to the board sometime around spring break.
The Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force still hasn’t made its final recommendations yet, but district leaders are laying the foundation for possible boundary changes if necessary.
Rick Doll, district superintendent, is sending a memo to board members that outlines his thoughts on potential boundary changes for the coming academic year. Such a memo is due by Feb. 1 of each year.
The task force’s recommendations originally had been due by then, too, but now are expected by the end of February.
Doll’s take, in his memo: “The superintendent recommends that the Board of Education receive the report from the Elementary Task Force in February and consider any boundary changes that are deemed necessary. If the task force recommends closing or consolidating schools, the staff will create boundary changes to implement them. These boundary changes may be necessary due to budget constraints and a possible new vision for the district’s elementary schools.”
The Lawrence school district’s draft calendar for the 2011-12 academic year calls for high school graduation May 20, a week after Kansas University’s commencement.
The high schools would have separate graduation ceremonies.
There had been talk of moving graduation to a weeknight or weeknights. But that was when members of the district’s calendar committee thought KU’s commencement had been set for May 20, which had been KU’s original plan.
But KU has switched its commencement to May 13, opening up room for Lawrence and Free State high schools on the district’s calendar.
Board members will consider approving the 2011-12 calendar during tonight's meeting.
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