Important clarifications about high school name changes

The following is an excerpt from my district blog.

Editor:

The following is an excerpt from my district blog.

Not surprisingly, there has been much talk in the Williams Lake community this week about the campus names of Lake City Secondary being changed at the last board of education meeting.

The Western Campus became the Columneetza Campus, and the Carson Campus became the Williams Lake Campus.

It’s important that I make two clarifications:

The new amalgamated secondary school in Williams Lake (Grades 7-12) is still called Lake City Secondary.

While the campus names changed last week, the school name has not.

In this regard, the school is still going ahead with new team uniforms, new letterhead, etc.

There are not large costs associated with the campus name change.

While costs are never insignificant, new campus signs and some changes to the district’s transportation software will cost a few thousand dollars in a $50 million dollar annual budget.

When the board discussed the possible name change last spring, the debate centred on maintaining history versus creating a new culture.

Both Columneetza and Williams Lake secondary schools had their own stories, and there were many reasons for the board to consider keeping both school names.  Columneetza due to both its uniqueness and its First Nations history seems to bring about stronger feelings within the larger Williams Lake community, but Williams Lake Secondary, while obviously more generic, had its own history for both staff and students.

If the new school were to be given the name of either Columneetza or Williams Lake Secondary, one entity would have been swallowed up by another entity.

By giving the new school a new name, it was hoped that both staff and students would come together to create a fresh new identity.

Regardless of the school or campus names, a new culture is indeed being created at the new school.

I would venture to say that the majority of our students care less about school names and more about the new friends they are making, the old friends they have met up with again, and the new teachers from whom they are learning.

Ultimately, the quality of teaching and learning that is happening in the school is of the utmost importance as we move forward.

You can read the full blog post at http://bigrocksfirstblog.wordpress.com/.

Mark Thiessen

Superintendent of Schools

School District No. 27

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