- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A committee of St. Mary’s public school administrators and parents will narrow down a list of suggested names for a new elementary school set to open in 2015 in Leonardtown.
The school board, which has the final say on new school names, solicited ideas from the public; name suggestions were due Dec. 5 to the school system.
A naming committee was formed this fall to examine suggested names and come up with a short list of recommendations. The committee members will vote on their favorites, and forward a name to the school board, which will vote on a new name for a school after a public hearing scheduled for February.
Brad Clements, deputy superintendent of schools and operations, said last week that he would not release the suggested names, which numbered about four dozen, until after they were presented to the naming committee. He did say that some names are people who served in the military, while others are geographical locations and other things.
The committee was scheduled to have at least two meetings in December to review the submitted names, but those meetings have been postponed. Its first meeting is now scheduled for sometime in January, Clements said.
Trish Post, president of the St. Mary’s County Council of PTAs, serves on the committee along with parent representatives from four elementary schools around Leonardtown. She said some members thought the school would automatically be named after the Hayden family, which sold the property to the county four years ago.
Post said the process for naming a new school was updated and ironed out after Evergreen Elementary opened three years ago.
“When naming facilities, the name should reflect the unique instructional aspects or the history of the facility or site,” according to the school board’s policy. “In addition, consideration may also be given to historic locations, historical figures, or persons who have made outstanding educational contributions to the facility or school system.”
A provision in the deeds that transferred the property from the Hayden family to the St. Mary’s board of commissioners states that any school built on the property should be named Woodbury, providing that the school board has no objection and that there is proof that a school named Woodbury previously existed on the property.
Writing of the 19th century in his book “A Most Convenient Place,” Aleck Loker said, “During this period, formal education took place in private schools run at people’s homes.
“In 1830, the Lee family held school at Woodbury (an estate near the old St. Aloysius Chapel north of Leonardtown),” according to Loker. That chapel was on Cemetery Road, which runs along one edge of the Hayden property.
Loker’s book also makes reference to a Woodbury farm, but does not cite any specific location.
Some of the public schools that once served students in the Leonardtown area included Glebe, Maryland Springs, Gavel Hill, Statia Run, Compton, Medley’s Neck, Oak Grove, Red Gate, Seventeen, Sunnyside, Friendship and Hickory Hills.
Clements said that school staff is researching whether a school named Woodbury existed specifically on the new school property. He said it is possible the Woodbury school was situated on adjacent land.
Planners are using the design of Evergreen Elementary for the new school, adding some technology upgrades and fixing problems or inconveniences identified by teachers and staff at Evergreen. The school board has already approved several iterations of design for the new school.
In addition to the naming committee, the school board will soon start a redistricting committee that will help decide what areas the new school will draw from. That process could start as early as next month.
Staff writer Jason Babcock contributed to this report.