What’s in a name: Danville board preparing for big decisions regarding naming of buildings, colors, and mascots

Published 9:39 pm Sunday, January 29, 2017

LANCASTER — The Danville Board of Education discussed some of the big decisions that will be coming up in the next few months regarding the transition from three elementary schools to two elementary centers, the decision that will bring students together from kindergarten on.

“From the day students enter the Danville Schools until the day they exit, they will move together,” said Superintendent Keith Look.

But first, the buildings — Toliver, which will be a 2-5 grade center; and Hogsett, which will be a preschool through first grade center — need names.

Those aren’t the only decisions to be made, Superintendent Keith Look told board members. Others will include what colors the schools will be; what mascots the schools will have; and whether or not students will have uniforms. Currently, Toliver students wear uniforms while the students at the other two elementary schools do not.

Past attempts to implement uniforms at any of the district’s other schools have failed.

Decisions will also have to be made regarding the emphases found at the respective schools — Jennie Rogers has a community engagement emphasis, Hogsett an arts literacy engagement and Toliver has a program called Leader in Me.

Initially, these decisions will fall on the board. Some will be subject to change once a site-based decision-making council is established at the school.

“We have to do what we believe is most fair,” Look said.

These and a long list of other topics in the district were covered by board members on Saturday, at the mid-year retreat, held at the Cliffview Center outside of Lancaster, although they weren’t decided on.

Board member Steve Becker said some of the decisions definitely won’t be easy ones, even if they might be only for a year or two.

In the next few months, Look said, board members also must decide on an architect to head up the Hogsett renovation project, to transform it into the district’s early elementary center.

The board also talked about the Toliver playground, which has had to be relocated because of the construction, and will be again before it lands in its new home. Board members discussed the plan to hopefully build a bigger playground.

Look said there was a desire among members of the current site-based councils and himself to have a collaborative fundraising effort to be able to purchase a larger playground for the Toliver grounds, which will be needed with the expanded student numbers after the renovation.

“I think there are some people that you could reach out to,” said Board member Lori Thompson Finke. “There are some people.”

Look called the playground the “outside emblem” of the students, talking about how a playground can shape the perception of the school.

“You pull up to a school and you see a happy playground, it changes your attitude,” he said.

“Everyday, there’s more and more articles about kids needing to be outside … I think that’s responding to what everybody’s saying,” Finke said.

It’ll be another year and a half before the playground is ready to be finally placed, Look said, so there is some time to fundraise.

Board members also discussed how to restructure the agenda, how to communicate in and out of meetings and more. Discussion surrounding the public comment policy was included in the meeting.

“I think we’ve got to have (a public comments section),” said Board chair Paige Matthews.

Board members settled on a plan to have those who wish to speak sign up before the meeting begins, and to remind individuals when they sign up that board members can’t answer questions during public comments. The comments section will be moved to the end of the meeting, in case the topic is discussed during the meeting.

“It makes sense at the end,” she said.

The board will have a reading on the policy at the February work session, at 6 p.m. on Feb. 13, at Hogsett Elementary, so that it can go in effect in time for the February regular meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20, at Danville High School.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.