HS 1327 admin considers tournament-style elimination to choose a school name


Fiona Swan

The many challenging steps necessary in the name change process

The name change process has been a substantial and controversial topic in the High School 1327 (HS 1327) community. The Drake Leadership Council (DLC) finalized the name change and is continuing with the process, but now what are the next steps?

The DLC has been working to create an inclusive and productive name change process that will include ideas from many perspectives.

“What [the DLC] decided on is that we’re going to finalize any name submissions… we are going to ask that people finish up any name submissions by January 14 because that is our next DLC meeting,” HS 1327 Principal Liz Seabury said.

When the name change conversation started in July 2020, the DLC created a way for students to submit possible new name ideas. The DLC established a Jan. 14 deadline for the submissions so they can continue narrowing down the names in their next meeting and come up with a list of criteria for the new name.

“We also have a committee right now working on going through the 300 and some odd names and vetting them a little bit,” Seabury said.

Since the submissions have been open for around six months, the DLC has received hundreds of name ideas. These submissions will be narrowed down based on the board policy stating that the name must reflect a person who has made a contribution to education or a local geographic landmark.

The idea I have proposed, and the committee generally likes but will be modifying before it’s official, is to have online votes that include students, staff, parents, and community to choose the best of the hundreds of submissions, then have a multi week vote-off tournament of the eight most popular names, wherein we include student advocates discussing each week’s vote, connected to projects within the 8 SLCs [Small Learning Communities] that research the names,” DLC staff representative Jasper Thelin said.

Once the DLC has narrowed down the submissions to around 100 names, they’ll be sent to an undecided group for a vote. Deciding who should be involved in the vote is among the next steps. The DLC will then finalize the top eight names and begin a single-elimination tournament style process.

Once the process concludes, the final name will be determined. HS 1327 will then recommend the name to the superintendent, who takes the name to the board. The board will then officially change the name of HS 1327 .

The identity for students at HS 1327 will not come automatically with the new name. The process will continue even after the name is officially changed. Students will find their representation in the new name and decide how they identify with it.

HS 1327 staff has discussed the options for the class of 2021’s graduation regarding the name of the school. The students can choose to either graduate with “Sir Francis Drake High School” or the school’s new name on their diploma. This gives the student a choice in how they want to identify with the school.

What is most important to me…is that I hope it will help engage the student population in doing something real for their school. Being involved in naming your own school is exciting and momentous,” Thelin said.

The name change process gives the HS 1327 community an opportunity to choose a school title that they feel represents their values. Including the opinions from all people who want to be represented ensures that everyone will have a voice they feel is being heard.