Baltimore County may name schools for people

Policy expanding options set in 1969 is approved by board


News from around the Baltimore region

March 09, 2005|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County public schools may be named after people, provided they are dead, under a policy approved last night by the board of education.

Schools may continue to be named after communities, subdivisions, streets, landmarks or other indicators of their geography. But now, in addition, they may be named after people who contributed significantly to the county, state or country.

Gymnasiums, stadiums and other parts of schools may now be named for businesses, foundations, community organizations and people who are dead. However, the board must reauthorize such names after 10 years.

The old policy, which did not allow naming schools after people, had not been revised since 1969. With two schools under construction and more likely on the way, administrators decided it was time to revisit the issue.

The new policy will apply to the new - tentatively named - Woodholme Elementary and Windsor Mill Middle schools, now being built. Officials have said they expect Woodholme to keep its name.

The newly approved process calls for a new school's principal to recommend a name to the area executive director, who then submits it to the school board.

Most county schools are named after their surrounding communities or streets. Exceptions include General John Stricker Middle School in eastern Baltimore County, named for a commander in the War of 1812's Battle of North Point, and Powhatan Elementary in the western part of the county, named after an Indian chief. Both were named before the 1969 policy went into effect, school officials said.

In other news, the school board was presented last night with proposed boundaries for Woodholme, scheduled to open this fall to relieve crowding at New Town Elementary School. Under the proposal, favored by the majority of community members who attended a public forum last month, Woodholme would draw children from New Town, Milbrook and Owings Mills elementary schools.

The board is scheduled to vote on the boundaries at its meeting April 12, after another public hearing at 7 p.m. March 23 at Pikesville High School, 7621 Labyrinth Road.

Also last night, teachers' union president Cheryl Bost expressed concern that schools are eliminating time spent on the arts to devote more time to preparing for tests in reading and math, the subjects being tested this month on the Maryland School Assessments.

The board reviewed reports on school performance data from last year. That information is being sent home to parents this month in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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