Coolidge Corner Naming Process

  • This year, Brookline and the Coolidge Corner School Community will work together to choose a new name for the Coolidge Corner School.  This is an exciting opportunity for Brookline and the school community. We welcome everyone's participation!


    October 2019 Second Update: Town Naming Committee, School Committee supports Finalist Name

    The Town Naming Committee and the School Committee has voted to recommend Warrant Article 26 - to name the Coolidge Corner School the Florida Ruffin Ridley School - to Town Meeting Members at their Fall 2019 Meeting.

    Each committee held a public hearing (on Wednesday, October 16 and Thursday, October 17 respectively) to solicit feedback from community members prior to taking their vote. PSB students, staff, parents, and alumni were in attendance for both meetings to support naming the school after Mrs. Ridley, a long-time resident of our community and the first African-American homeowner in Brookline. Interim Superintendent Ben Lummis, School Committee members Suzanne Federspiel, Barbara Scotto, and David Pearlman, CCS principal Jennifer Buller, CCS students from the nomination committee, and the original petitioners to rename the school - Deborah Brown and Anne Greenwald - were also present to highlight Mrs. Ridley’s accomplishments and the work PSB has done to identify a new school name.

    In total, over thirty people commented during these meetings. Many commented on the transparency and thoroughness of this process, as well as the leadership and educational opportunities provided to students through the nominations committee.

    The Town’s by-laws state that the new name of a school building must be recommended by the School Committee to the Town’s Naming Committee. If approved by the Naming Committee, the proposed name is submitted to Town Meeting as a Warrant Article and is voted on by Town Meeting. As of October 18, 2019, the naming process has reached its final step:

    1. Outreach and Submission of Nominations (Completed in February 2019)

    2. Student Nominations Committee considers all nominations and identifies "semi-finalists" (Completed in April 2019)

    3. After receiving public input, the Student Nominations Committee recommends finalist names to the full School Committee (Completed in May 2019)

    4. School Committee selects one name and recommends it to the Town Naming Committee to be the permanent name of the school (Completed in June 2019)

    5. Town Naming Committee considers the recommended name. If it approves the name, the committee submits it to Town Meeting as a Warrant Article (Completed in October 2019)

    6. Town Meeting considers Warrant Article and votes on a recommended name. (Pending November 2019)

    The final decision to name the Coolidge Corner School the Florida Ruffin Ridley School (as filed under 2019 Fall Town Meeting Warrant Article 26) will ultimately be decided by Town Meeting Members in the Fall 2019 meeting. To learn more about the town meeting process, please visit this link: (

    To access previous updates on the Naming Process, please follow this link.

    Overview & Background

    In developing a comprehensive and inclusive naming process, the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) supported an approach that placed students at the center of the nomination process. As a result, the Nominations Committee was formed, consisting of Coolidge Corner Students from 3rd through 8th grade and high school students who had graduated from the Devotion School. 

    The Nominations Committee was formed in December 2018. Over the next few weeks, the students met with PSB staff and community members to learn about the impetus behind the name change and to prepare for their work in reviewing the submitted names. As a result of these workshops, the Nominations Committee renamed themselves the “Bee-lievers in Change - Students Making a Difference” in January 2019 and developed a rubric to review all 119 nominated names. This rubric, used to review and vet each name submitted by the community, was built from the following guidelines:

    In keeping with the spirit of the original warrant article, the students decided that the school’s new name should serve to lift up those who have been forgotten or highlight those whose contributions have been overlooked. 

    Working in small groups, the Bee-lievers in Change researched and reviewed all 119 submitted names. Each nomination was discussed individually by the students and assessed for how well it fit their guidelines. In March 2019, they selected fifteen semi-finalist names by consensus. Each group proceeded to more fully research and developed a summary/presentation on each of the semi-finalist names, to be presented to their classmates, teachers, families, and the community-at-large. In April 2019, the Bee-lievers in Change hosted three Renaming Nights to showcase their semi-finalist names to the general public. Feedback received from these sessions were used by the Bee-lievers in Change to develop a shortlist of four finalist names that were sent to the School Committee for review.

    A complete summary of the process, as approved by the School Committee in their September 13, 2018 meeting, can be accessed here. Renaming the Coolidge Corner School was first discussed by the School Committee in May 31, 2018 (link) following the May 2018 Town Meeting. Subsequent discussions regarding the process were also discussed by the School Committee on their June 7, 2018 (link), June 19, 2018 (link), July 9, 2018 (link), and August 22, 2018 (link) meetings before its final approval on September 13, 2018 as outlined above.

    Click here to learn more about the naming process. You may also submit questions via this online form