The new elementary school opening this August in Cherry Valley will be called Cherry Valley Elementary School. The Rockford School Board agreed tonight to name the school for the village. Located at 6754 Armer Drive, the $15.7M, 86,000 square-foot school will open at the start of the 2018-19 school year. RPS 205 held a groundbreaking in June 2017, marking the first new school construction in RPS 205 since 1998.
The School Board and Administration asked for community feedback to name two elementary schools under construction. The first K-5 school, now officially named Cherry Valley Elementary School, will serve students who now attend Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools. Those three schools will close in June. The current Cherry Valley Elementary School will be demolished and become property of the Village of Cherry Valley through an intergovernmental agreement. White Swan and Thompson elementary schools will be demolished and become the property of the Rockford Park District through an intergovernmental agreement.
A second new K-5 school will replace the existing Kishwaukee and Nelson elementary schools, which will close after the 2018-19 school year; the new building will open for the 2019-2020 school year.
The School Board has not yet approved a name for the second school. District leaders have approximately six months before a name must be selected. Initial community feedback has favored of the name Constance Lane, the first black teacher hired in RPS 205 who served as an educator and administrator for more than three decades. The School Board agreed tonight to delay its naming decision to ensure there is plenty of time for the community to provide feedback.
According to Board Policy, a petition with at least 50 signatures must accompany a recommended name for a new facility. Six petitions were submitted with five recommendations:
- Constance Renick Lane, "The first black teacher hired by the Rockford School District served students of the public school system as an educator and administrator for more than three decades. She retired as assistant superintendent for elementary education in 1985."
- Jane Addams; Jane Addams Elementary School, Nobel Peace Prize winner, considered the mother of social work, Rockford University (Rockford Female Seminary) graduate, peace advocate.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, civil rights leader and social activist.
- Cherry Valley School, named for the Village of Cherry Valley.
- Leonard B. Keller Elementary, a former Cherry Valley resident, Guilford High School graduate and U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War who received the Medal of Honor.
The district's naming committee – made up of principals, administrators, community members and School Board members – met multiple times and heard community feedback at two public meetings before making a recommendation.