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Committee recommends changing Jack Jouett Middle School name to Journey

A volunteer community advisory committee that has been conducting a naming review for Jack Jouett Middle School is recommending that the name of the school be changed to Journey Middle School.

The Albemarle County school’s current namesake was a captain in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War. The committee found that Jouett enslaved as many as 25 men, women and children to work on his farms in Virginia and Kentucky.

The committee, which began its work in May, included the school’s principal; school staff and faculty; parents of students at the school; parents of students at elementary schools that feed into Jack Jouett; members of the broader community; and an Albemarle High School student who attended the middle school. The 16-member panel conducted two online surveys and held two public meetings to gather input from the broader school community.

The committee’s recommendation is being reviewed by county schools Superintendent Matt Haas. Haas will consider the committee’s contributions before making his own recommendation to the School Board on Aug. 12. Board members will decide on the school’s name as early as their Aug. 26 meeting. Any changes to the school’s current name would take effect July 1, 2022.

Jouett is the fifth school in the division to conduct a naming review. In directing that all schools named for individuals in the division have their names reviewed, the School Board said the purpose should be to ensure that the names of all schools represent the division’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness.

Jack Jouett students were able to take part in the renaming recommendations through a project that involved more than 100 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. The students were asked to create mandalas to signify their aspirations for the school.

Journey, as a shared experience for all, was the name that best represented the consensus from the students, said committee Chairwoman Hannah Peters, a teacher at the school. Other finalists were Hope, Peace and Justice; Monacan; Katherine Johnson; and retaining the Jouett name.


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