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Charter school committee to reexamine naming recommendation

After opposition to a proposed new name for Albemarle County’s unified charter school, the school division’s community advisory committee will meet next Tuesday to reassess its recommendation.

The committee recommended Rose Hill Community School as the new name for Murray High School and Community Public Charter School, which merged into one school Wednesday.

However, local activists quickly noted that the Rose Hill moniker derives from the name of a plantation.

Portions of the land were later sold to formerly enslaved individuals who built homes in the area that became part of the Rose Hill neighborhood, the division said in a news release Wednesday.

Stephanie Passman, a teacher at the school and committee facilitator, said that in light of the criticism, the advisory committee will conduct additional research about the Rose Hill location and neighborhood.

“Our committee has said from the beginning that it is important to hear from as many different voices as possible,” she said in the release. “We believe it is important to reopen our deliberations for that purpose.”

Rose Hill was one of 10 options for the school’s new name. In a community survey in which respondents could pick their top three choices, it was the second-most popular. Murray Community School was the top pick. During the naming review, there were no concerns expressed to the advisory committee about the Rose Hill name, the division said in the release.

The charter school is located in the former home of Rose Hill Elementary School, which served only Black students before integration. The recommended name was chosen to honor those students and the building’s history, committee members said.

The charter high school opened in 1988 in Virginia L. Murray Elementary School, which was closed at the time. When the elementary school was needed again, the school moved to its current location and students asked to keep “Murray” in the school’s name.

According to a division news release, the committee noted that having two schools in the school division with the same name has at times been confusing.

Committee deliberations are closed to the public.

Following its research, the committee sent its conclusions to schools Superintendent Matt Haas, who will make a naming recommendation to the School Board.

“Our goal is to have a name for our new school in place by the time school reopens on Tuesday, September 8,” Passman said.


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