The community is invited to two meetings later this month to help name elementary schools under construction in Rockford Public Schools. The district’s naming committee met last week; the group includes Rockford School Board members, principals, administrators and community members. The committee will host meetings, listen to community feedback and make a recommendation to Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. The School Board could vote on the names as early as December or January. Tentative timeline:
- Community meeting: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Flinn Middle School
- Community meeting: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Administration Building in the third floor board room, 501 7th St.
- Discussion will continue at the Operations Committee meeting Dec. 5.
- A recommendation could be made to the School Board in December, with a vote in December or January.
According to Board Policy, a petition with at least 50 signatures must accompany a recommended name. Recommendations may include names of people, historical landmarks and geographic locations. If a person’s name is submitted, that person must have been deceased for at least two years. Petitions must be submitted at the Board of Education Office at the Administration Building, 501 7th St., by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28, to be considered. Please direct them to Board Coordinator/Recording Secretary Laura Fromm.
"We want to make sure the community is involved in celebrating our new schools and ensure they’re just as much integrated in our community as the schools they’re replacing," said Todd Schmidt, RPS 205 Chief Operations Officer.
The district has already received petitions recommending two names for the new school in Cherry Valley:
- Cherry Valley School, named for the village of Cherry Valley
- Leonard B. Keller, a former Cherry Valley resident, Guilford High School graduate and U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War who received the Medal of Honor
One of the two schools will likely be named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., following the School Board’s approved facilities plan and recommendation to consider naming one school Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. King Elementary School closed after the 2016-17 school year, and students who attended King now attend Washington Elementary School.
The School Board approved a 10-year facilities plan in August 2014 to upgrade RPS 205 buildings and shrink the district's footprint. It includes closing eight schools, building 13 additions and two new schools. Construction is underway on both schools. The new K-5 school in Cherry Valley will open at the start of the 2018-19 school year and replace Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools. A second new school will replace Kishwaukee and Nelson elementary schools in the ORCHiD neighborhood. The K-5 school will be ready for students at the start of the 2019-20 school year.