Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MPS continue to ponder big changes

We mentioned last month that Mesa Public Schools was considering creative ideas for using their existing facilities and diversifying the education options. We are starting to hear even more of these big changes that are being pondered.

First, as reported last week, MPS is considering closing Powell Jr. High which is among the 8 proposals to be considered by the School Board. The others include returning freshman back to the High School campuses, closing Guererro and Alma elementaries or turn them into alternative types of schools, merging Hendrix and Frost into an K-8 advanced academy, and several other options.

One of the options, turning Alma Elementary into a Franklin Traditional school, received more detailed treatment in the Tribune. We understand that the curriculum is structured in a specific way, but still don't quite see how this differs from a regular school.

We have mentioned the challenge that this might provide to parents who simply want to send their kids to the schools closest to their homes, just as it has been done in the past. However, there another question to ponder that we wonder if it has been even asked. While trivial, what would be the new naming convention for these new school? Many of the schools are named after former Superintendents, public officials and other town leaders. Look at the history.

Guerrero is named after Pedro Guerrero, early pioneer and businessman. Pomeroy is named after Francis M. Pomeroy, Mesa Pioneer - there are still a lot of Pomeroy's in town. Alma School hasn't been on Alma School road in many years, but the namesake school always existed. Based on the naming of the other Franklin schools would it lose it's identity? Same goes for Hendrix and Smith which are both named after former Superintendents?

Maybe it is not that big of a deal, but it is something to keep in mind in a community steeped in history. The school system does need to make changes, but sometimes the little things like names may cause some of the biggest problems.

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