Several Galveston public schools and one mascot could be slated for renaming in the next school year.
“With the reorganization of the middle schools, we were starting to refer to Weis at Central and then Scott at Weis, things like that,” Kelli Moulton, superintendent of Galveston Independent School District, said. “We started thinking, ‘what can we do with the names?’”
Trustees discussed how best to navigate school names with all of the district changes. Because the item was not on the regular agenda, no action was actually taken on which schools to change, but trustees said items likely would be added to future agendas.
Wednesday’s discussion comes shortly after trustees in February decided to close Coastal Village Middle School and to move Scott Collegiate Academy to the newly renovated Weis building beginning next school year.
Additionally, while Scott Collegiate Academy will be occupying the Weis building next year, a Central and Weis Middle School exist at the Central campus at 3014 Sealy Ave.
Trustees, however, began Wednesday’s discussion by suggesting that all of the prekindergarten programs at the San Jacinto campus should be called the Moody Early Childhood Center.
The programs are divided now into the Moody Early Childhood Center, which caters to children from birth to age 2, and the San Jacinto Early Childhood Center, which is a prekindergarten program organized by the district.
“You’ll see a trend here,” President Matthew Hay said. “When people attend a building and everyone goes to that building, this is my opinion, that when you ask a parent what school their kid attends, they should be able to name two different schools at the same address. I think it makes sense to have a building with one name representing the whole school.”
Trustees seemed to voice approval at Hay’s suggestion, which would also apply to the two middle schools currently residing at the Central campus, 3014 Sealy.
Moulton told trustees that staff had suggested referring to the two middle schools as the Media Arts Academies at Central Middle School or the Galveston Media Arts Academies.
Additionally, with Scott Collegiate Academy moving to the Weis building next school year, the Scott name should be kept with its original building and the school operating at the Weis campus might be called the Galveston Collegiate Academy, Moulton said.
Trustee Ken Jencks also recommended that Burnet-ECU Elementary be renamed simply Burnet Elementary.
While the name Scott Collegiate Academy could change moving to the Weis building, trustees also suggested that a culture had emerged around the school’s mascot, the Scottie dog, and that perhaps the mascot should be retained.
Vice President Jeff Temple suggested giving Austin Middle School a new mascot because its Indian mascot is racially insensitive.
“I’d like to put out there in the community for all of us to think about, Austin Indians is an offensive name,” Temple said. “I think in 2017, we should think about changing the mascot because we wouldn’t call them the Austin Asians or the Austin Whites or anything like that. I think it’s something to consider. I know I’m in the minority and I know some people might say I’m a snowflake.
“I think it’s the right thing to do and it’s incredible that we are going to debate it and not just change it.”
Hay suggested that Austin students should be asked to give input on the potential change, while Jencks said he liked the name, but thought the mascot should be made to look less warlike.
In the end, trustees agreed that specific name changes should be added to future agendas.