School Names

Like many communities, universities, and K-12 schools across the country, Charlottesville City Schools is aware that our schools’ names send a message to our students, staff, and community and should therefore reflect our values.

School Names Committee

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the superintendent will convene a committee to review our schools’ names. Updates from the committee will be posted to this page. 

Public Forum on Clark and Venable: Monday, May 3 at 5pm

The Superintendent Committee on School Names invited the community to discuss the names of Clark and Venable elementary schools. These are the oldest schools in Charlottesville and the first to be reviewed.  The meeting opened with a brief joint session to discuss the process and gave an overview of the schools’ namesakes (find information on the schools’ namesakes, posted on this page below). Then participants broke into two Zoom rooms for focused conversation.

  • The consensus of the group that gathered on May 3 was that they were in favor of changing both schools names — and they were also in favor of gathering additional community feedback. Look for a survey soon.

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Press Release about Community Conversation on Monday, May 3

Charlottesville City Schools to Host Community Discussion on Naming of Clark, Venable
The two elementary schools are the oldest in City and first for review

On Monday, May 3 at 5 p.m., the Charlottesville City Schools Superintendent Committee on Facilities Names will host its first public meeting to gather input in the naming of schools. The meeting will focus on Clark and Venable, the two oldest schools in the division and the first to be considered for review.

The Committee on Facilities Names was created by Dr. Rosa Atkins in the fall of 2020 to create a process for review and to guide the community through discussion and decision-making. The schools’ websites notes,  “Like many communities, universities, and K-12 schools across the country, Charlottesville City Schools is aware that our schools’ names send a message to our students, staff, and community and should therefore reflect our values.”

Monday’s Zoom meeting will open with a brief joint session to discuss the process and give an overview of the schools’ namesakes, and then participants will break into two Zoom rooms for focused conversation. The two groups will come back together at the end for reporting and next steps.

Extensive research on the schools’ namesakes was conducted by committee member Phil Varner, and the schools have also invited other community members to share resources to guide the discussion.

Dr. Beth Baptist has been the facilitator of the committee for Charlottesville City Schools. She notes, “The school staff appreciates the community-led spirit of this group. From the thorough research conducted by Mr. Varner to the strong response of community members, staff, and parents to participate, we know this is of interest to the community. And the committee members have been very clear that they would like to hear from others — partner organizations, members of the school community, and more. If you are interested in this topic, please plan to attend or contact the committee.”

Interested members of the community can find information and ways to share their perspective at charlottesvilleschools.org/school-names. This includes finding information about the schools’ namesakes, using a Zoom link to register for Monday’s meeting, or signing up for email updates about the work of the committee. In addition, community members are invited to suggest other resources or share comments with the committee by emailing schoolnames@charlottesvilleschools.org.

Reporting/Media Coverage

City schools to review names of Clark, Venable elementaries first (Daily Progress, April 29, 2021)

Resources for the Committee

Community member Phil Varner has compiled historical resources and information on our schools’ namesakes and the original process for naming our schools. You can find a brief introduction to the namesakes and a 56-page research compilation.

If you have additional materials that you believe are relevant and helpful, please email schoolnames@charlottesvilleschools.org so that this process can be as informed and complete as possible.

Notes from Committee Meetings