Students at Contract Based Education in the West Valley School District will have to wait to learn what their school will be called in the future as the school board didn’t like the three choices before it.
Administration and students from the nontraditional school approached the board in March about a name change. District policy states the school must give the board three options to select from, and the board is free to pick one or deny the request.
The school proposed Dishman Hills High School, Crossroads High School or Lilac City High School.
“We really do want to change the name for you,” said board Chairwoman Pam McLeod at the meeting Wednesday.
The problem is board members didn’t care for any of those names. They had talked about changing the name in the past, and liked one suggestion: Opportunity High School. The name reflects both the geographic location of the school and tells students this will give them an opportunity to shine.
But Central Valley School District already has an Opportunity Elementary School and has asked West Valley not to use that name.
Chelsea VanSchoonhoven, a CBE student and representative to the board, said the decision was highly anticipated by her fellow students. She was under strict instruction to send out text messages as soon as the board made their selection.
The school formed a committee to come up with suggestions and the students voted on their top three. The board requested the list of all 34 possible names to see if there was something they like better. The board will look at the list and discuss the options during the May 22 meeting. If members don’t come to a decision at that meeting, they will discuss it again at a retreat June 8.
There are two main reasons for the change. First, the current name doesn’t accurately reflect the instructional model of the school. Principal Julie Poage said there are no students who solely get their education with a contract, and there is only one contract class offered. Students check in with that class once a week to get assignments and work on their own.
Brad Liberg, dean of students, said there are programs within the district that offer contract-based classes for students who need that type of model in order to stay engaged in school.
The second reason is military recruiters often view nontraditional schools such as CBE as a Tier II school. In the past two weeks, two students were denied early entry into the Army, as well as denied the opportunity to take the ASVAB, the aptitude test given to students by the military.
This is a new development for the school, which has had trouble getting its students into the Air Force, but the Army had always been receptive.
For some students in the past, this meant leaving CBE for the last few months of high school and graduating from traditional high schools.
Liberg said they hope to change the name of the school, then invite the military to re-evaluate it.
“It’s important that we remove the road blocks from kids to pick the path that they want to,” he said.
School board member Jim Williams said that when the board was first approached about the name change he felt the students didn’t have a lot of pride in the school.
“Any student body has to be proud,” he said. “That bothered me.”
Poage said she has delayed ordering T-shirts, pens, letterhead and other items within the school with the CBE name on them since there are plans in the works to change the name. She said there is a sense of ownership with the students about a new name and there is a lot of excitement building.
The board is on board, as well.
“My mind’s made up,” Williams said. “We need to change the name.”