Out of 13 Waxahachie ISD schools, all but three are named after influential individuals in the community.
With the groundbreaking ceremony for the ninth elementary school in the district planned for May 10, the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees intends to vote on the name of the campus during a specially called meeting Tuesday.
A concrete policy for naming facilities does not currently exist in the district’s board policy. However, board president Dusty Autrey assured a set of guidelines and procedures would be voted on at a later date, sometime after the meeting Tuesday to name the newest WISD campus.
As for the currently referred to Northgrove elementary, Autrey stated he selected a committee of seven people from across the community that will recommend a single name to be voted on by the board.
The three WISD trustees on the naming committee include Autrey, Dr. Joe Langley and John Rogers. Autrey also selected Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength, Ron Appleton who served WISD for 51 years, Navarro College employee and former trustee, David Lewis, and Alfred Mims, who was one of the longest-serving trustees.
“The community was well represented on that committee,” Autrey emphasized.
WISD Director of Communications Jenny Bridges said when Coleman Junior High, along with the Waxahachie Global High and Wilemon STEAM Academy buildings were named, WISD board members on the “naming committee” selected individuals to assist with the process.
Autrey said the board is looking to establish particular guidelines in the board policy for naming schools, “because we don’t have one.” Autrey said the verbiage that will be voted on would be “similar” to the process utilized to name elementary school number nine.
“The policy that we came up with mirror policies that other districts use,” Autrey said. “A lot of the policies from other districts are very similar. We took some things that we liked from other ones and merged them together.”
Autrey said the reason for naming the school before voting on the written policy is, “We want to do it so it can be done before the groundbreaking.”
Waxahachie ISD interim superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain expressed her approval of the naming process, noting a variety of individuals were selected to be on the committee who know an array of people.
“In Waxahachie, there are so many good people that honoring them by naming a school would be easy because there are a lot of hard-working people who love their community," Cain said. "There is not a lack of names, but the difficulty is in narrowing them down."
“I don’t think we are being exclusive," Cain added.
Midlothian ISD is also in the process of naming a new campus — its third middle school — and is utilizing a naming committee of 18 people.
The community of Midlothian was granted the opportunity to submit school name recommendations online from Feb. 4 through April 12. The committee received 328 individual responses.
An MISD spokesperson explained the naming committee would review nominations from community members and will present five options to the board of trustees. The board will then take action on one of the five recommendations, and anticipates the names to go before the board in June.
MISD board policy requires the committee to include both staff and community members that reside in the district. MISD campus leaders nominate naming committee members, and board members are prohibited from serving on the naming committee since they review the five recommendations and vote on the final name.
When Cain compared the two different methods of naming a school, she expressed they are similar.
“When you get a group of community people, who are well in tuned with different people in the community, it’s the same thing,” Cain explained. “You’re still getting that same wide array. I don’t think it’s better; I don’t think it’s worse. I think it’s different and I think it accomplishes the same thing.”
Bridges added, “I think other districts have different processes and I don’t think a single one is right or wrong, but that’s the process that we’ve always had and getting on record, it’s good practice to have your policies and procedures written down."
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450