After pandemic-induced delays, two Tulsa Public Schools sites may be changing their names soon.
In accordance with school board policy, an ad hoc committee for each facility is responsible for gathering community input on a potential name change and presenting up to three options. Final approval rests with the school board. If any changes are approved, they would not take effect until the 2021-2022 school year.
Irma Sandoval is the principal of Dual Language Academy, a magnet program that serves about 250 elementary students at its campus on North Yorktown Place.
With the school starting to get correspondence meant for the district’s other dual language programs, she said the idea of a potential name change was originally brought up among the building’s leadership team about a year ago but efforts temporarily stalled out when the pandemic hit.
“We were overwhelmed with everything else,” she said. “We told the teachers we wanted to get it done, but acknowledged that the school board and superintendent also had bigger problems to worry about.”
Now a first grade parent at Dual Language Academy, Stephanie Duran previously taught at the school when it shared a space with Monroe Demonstration Academy. With the number of dual language sites increasing around the district, she had to call a former colleague to make sure she was enrolling her daughter at the right school.
She sees the potential name change as a positive step to help distinguish the school’s community.
“I’m glad that the school is finally getting an identity,” she said. “The name sounds so generic.”
Previously located at Promenade Mall, Tulsa Learning Academy relocated to the former campus of Alcott Elementary and the McLain 7th Grade Center at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
As part of the alternative school’s redesign efforts, the students were asked in fall 2019 for input. Among the items specifically brought up was the name and after group research projects, the students kept coming back to one name in particular.
“We had different groups, but the students really liked the name North Star Academy,” Principal Dixie Speer said. “That captured the hope and direction that we’re trying to create for students similar to what Frederick Douglass’ newspaper did.
However, as was the case with Dual Language Academy, the campaign for a new name had to wait once the pandemic hit. With last year’s students asking if their research efforts will come to fruition, the alternative school is moving forward with the name change request.
“Our building is one of the furthest north schools in Tulsa Public Schools,” Speer said. “That name would really capture what our school is about.”
Nominations are also being accepted through 5 p.m. on Feb. 15 for a new name for the auditorium at Nathan Hale High School. Suggestions can be submitted through the school’s website.
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