Background and Overview
As a result of listening closely to a wide variety of perspectives, the School Committee and Superintendent Bott have developed a Naming Process that will put Coolidge Corner students and graduates of Devotion School who now attend Brookline High School at the center of the nomination process, allow for adults to provide proper support and guidance to these students, and ensure that all perspectives are heard and valued.
From October through November 2018, the Coolidge Corner School invited Coolidge Corner students in grades 3-8 and Brookline High School students who graduated from the Devotion School to apply to be leaders on the renaming process for the Coolidge Corner School. Students selected to be on the Nominations Committee would review all nominations for the new school name and decide which 10 names should be recommended to the School Committee. The students would embody the follow qualities:
- Work well with others
- Listen well and encourage others to participate
- Like to learn and are curious
- Represent the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of the Coolidge Corner School community
- Recognize when something is wrong and act to make it right
- Demonstrate an interest in social justice issues
On November 30, a group of PSB staff ran a double blind lottery to selected 14 Coolidge Corner students and 4 Brookline High School students to be on the Nominations Committee. With adult support, these students will review the nominations for the new school name be responsible for selecting up to 10 names to be considered further by the School Committee. More information on the application process can be found here.
Nominations Committee Training Sessions
Over the course of five sessions, students on the Nominations Committee will participate in trainings designed to support them in their work. These sessions are tentatively scheduled to take place on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:00, pending the schedules of BHS students selected to be on the committee. The tentative outline of these trainings is as follows (pending outreach to presenters listed and confirmation of their availability):
- December 5, 2018: Presentation by the Petitioners
In this presentation, the Petitioners, Deborah Brown and Anne Greenwald, will share with students the impetus behind the renaming, explaining why this is important for the Town of Brookline. They will describe how the process has unfolded, and discuss their vision moving forward.
- December 12, 2018: Hidden Brookline Walking Tour
With the insights and knowledge gained by meeting with the Petitioners on December 5, Nominations Committee members need an opportunity to understand the history of slavery in Brookline by participating in a Hidden Brookline walking tour. The students must hold the real history of slavery as they work to select the list of finalists to send to the School Committee.
- December 19, 2018: Team Building and Group Decision Making Processes
Given the importance of this work, the students will spend time building a team. This session will teach students how to best function as a collaborative and democratic group where all voices are heard. Jen Buller and Saeed Ola will lead this meeting.
- January 9, 2019: Difficult Conversations
Our Senior Director for Educational Equity, Dr. Kalise Wornum, and a group of BHS Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Scholars will lead the Nominations Committee in a workshop on how to have difficult conversations. Students will be given tools and strategies to use while talking about racism. This might include role-playing to prepare for how to respond to questions or comments they receive from students on the committee and from members of the public.
- January 16, 2019: Launch
The Nominations Committee’s work is powerful and deeply important. Before students begin reviewing nominations, they will have the opportunity to hear from a respected community leader about the importance of the task ahead of them.
School Name Selection Process
The Nominations Committee will tentatively meet weekly on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:00, starting on January 23, 2019, through March 3, 2019. During this selection process, the Nominations Committee will select the names of 10-15 semi-finalists to bring forward for community presentation. Starting the week of March 13, 2019, through March 27, 2019, all students who applied to be a part of the Nominations Committee will reconvene with the committee. Small groups of students will be assigned to each of the semi-finalist names and will prepare a presentation about that name.
Working with community members, posters for each semi-finalist name will be produced in collaboration with community partners so that these semi-finalist names can be presented throughout the community. On Thursday, April 11, a community forum will be held at the Coolidge Corner School during which students will present the semi-finalist names in a gallery walk format. The entire Town of Brookline will be invited to attend. They will provide feedback and rank their choices for the name of the school, with those votes then tallied for the Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee will review the feedback and votes, and provide the School Committee with a list of 3 finalists, ranked in order of their preference, on April 26, 2019.
- January 21 - March 11: Selection of semi-finalist names
- The student nominations group will discuss the name submissions and choose 10-15 names by consensus.
- Once the 10-15 semi-finalist names are determined, they will be researched for viability by several members of the Public Schools of Brookline leadership staff.
- Students on the Student committee will work in pairs to research and create formal “one-pagers” and presentations for each of the 10-15 semi-finalists.
- March 11 - April 1: Semi-finalist Phase
- All students who applied in the Fall to be part of the renaming process will be re-engaged and invited to participate in this part of the process.
- The student nominations committee will present their “one-pagers” to this larger group of students and share their process for deciding on the 10-15 semi-finalist names.
- Led by 1-2 members of the student nominations committee, teams of 4-5 students will research and develop presentations for each semi-finalist.
- The teams will develop printed media for each semi-finalist name and display them at the Renaming Nights. The Public Schools of Brookline will post media and information about each of the semi-finalists on their website.
- April 3 and April 11: Renaming Nights
- In April, our school will host two celebrations of our naming journey:
- April 3 in the multipurpose room at the Coolidge Corner School
- April 11 in Hunneman Hall of the main branch Brookline Public Library
- Both Renaming Nights will take place from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
- The Renaming Nights will be open to the public, and the Brookline community at large are invited to both events. Families and community members will be able to interact with the student teams, learning more about each of the semi-finalist names, viewing the printed media created about each semi-finalist, and providing feedback about their preferred name(s).
- Feedback from attendees of the event will be collected to be used by the student committee for further narrowing of names.
- In April, our school will host two celebrations of our naming journey:
- April 24: Finalist Selection Phase
- The student nominations committee will reconvene, process feedback from the April 3 and April 11 Renaming Nights, and come to a consensus on 3-5 names to send to the School Committee.
Public Hearing Process
The School Committee will hold two public hearings in May, one in the School Committee Room at Town Hall and the other at the Coolidge Corner School. The School Committee will also provide a digital format for collecting feedback on the finalist names. Using the feedback and input gathered from the public hearings, the School Committee will select one name to forward to the Town of Brookline Naming Committee before the end of June.