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Albemarle School Board signs off on school naming recommendations

Another Albemarle County school is getting a new name, following a unanimous decision by the School Board on Thursday night.

Starting July 1, the division’s charter school will be called Community Lab School, which was the name suggested by an advisory committee of teachers, parents and community members.

Murray High School and the Community Public Charter School merged in July, but the name review process for both started in May.

The division is planning to review all schools named after people. So far, four schools have gone through the process outlined in School Board policy.

Also on July 1, the new name for Sutherland Middle School — Lakeside — will go into effect. Last year, the board changed the name of Cale Elementary to Mountain View Elementary, which became official in July.

Jack Jouett Middle School will be the fifth school to have its name reviewed, schools Superintendent Matt Haas announced Thursday. Jack Jouett was a Revolutionary War soldier who is famous for riding 40 miles to warn members of the General Assembly who retreated to Charlottesville that British soldiers were coming.

The school opened in 1966 as a junior high school and became a middle school in 1977, according to a division news release. Hannah Peters, who has taught special education at Jouett for eight years, will chair the advisory committee.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board also agreed with the advisory committee of Virginia L. Murray Elementary School to retain the current name.

“It was clear to our committee that the Murray family was honored that the school was named for her and it would be meaningful to them to stay,” said Teller Stalfort, a parent at the school who chaired the advisory committee.

Murray Elementary is the only school so far that has kept its name following a review. Stalfort said the process involved a lot of student participation, giving them the chance to learn about Murray and their school’s history.

Haas applauded both naming committees for their inclusion of students in the process.

Virginia Murray was a longtime Black educator in the school system and served as a demonstration teacher until 1931. She then was promoted to supervisor of elementary education, the first Black supervisor ever appointed in Albemarle County. The school opened in 1960 for Black students in first through seventh grades and was desegregated five years later.

School Board Chairman Graham Paige said he was pleased the committee uncovered some of the positive things that Murray did during her career.

“And the fact that she really does align with the qualities and the characteristics that we hold in our system today … that’s something that’s really good,” Paige said. “It shows us that the process that we have for renaming really does work.”


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