March 30, 2013 in Washington Voices

Alternative school seeks new name

CBE no longer reflects instructional model
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Contract Based Education, 115 S. University Road, could have a new name next fall.

Principal Julie Poage approached the West Valley School Board on Tuesday with three suggestions.

She said there were two main reasons to change the name. The first is that the nontraditional school’s instructional model has changed and very few of their programs are contract-based.

She said the school now has a combination of programs, including small-group instruction and online learning.

Poage then said Air Force and Navy recruiters generally don’t consider graduates of schools that aren’t “high schools.” If the school changed its name, the military would re-rate the school so its graduates could join one of those two branches. The Army doesn’t have a problem with the name of the school.

Superintendent Gene Sementi pointed out that a student attending CBE could take classes next door at Spokane Valley Tech, where they offer advanced aerospace manufacturing classes. If that student wanted to work in that field and join the Air Force, the name change could make that possible.

Poage said she has been collecting name ideas since the beginning of the school year and formed a committee. The committee looked at a list of 34 ideas, cut it to five, then asked the school’s students and staff their preferences.

Two, Dishman Hills High School and Crossroads High School, received a lot more votes than the third choice, Lilac City High School.

The dig against Lilac City? As CBE teacher Cheri Osmuss noted, it would be nicknamed LC.

Chelsea VanSchoonhoven, a student representative to the school board and a student at CBE, said the committee sees some problems with Crossroads.

“It still sounds super alternative,” VanSchoonhoven said, which is something they are trying to avoid with the name change.

It also has some other negative connotations.

“A lot of people think, ‘That’s where you meet to get drugs.’ ”

But student Melissa Peterson said she liked the name because students from districts across Spokane come to that building to learn. She also sees a crossroads as a place of decisions and change.

“They can change who they are to what they wanted to be when they were little,” Peterson said.

Both VanSchoonhoven and Peterson suggested Crossroads be used as the name of a program within the school.

“It should certainly be part of the philosophy of what the school’s about,” Sementi said.

School board member Jim Williams said of his 30-plus years on the board, he was most proud of the creation of CBE.

“I don’t take the name negatively,” he said. While he has no problem with the name change, he wanted to acknowledge the work the district and students have done at the school.

“We have a history here we need to be proud of,” Williams said.

Most of the members of the nine-person committee said they favored the Dishman Hills name. The board will vote on the name change in April.

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