A member of the public could be the brains behind the name of the new east county elementary school.
On Monday, Frederick County Public Schools released a survey for suggestions on naming the school. Participants are asked to provide a suggested name and rationale.
School naming is guided by a Frederick County Board of Education policy stating that schools should be named after historical events or local geography. While the school system has four schools named after people — Gov. Thomas Johnson Middle and High School, Lincoln Elementary School and, technically, Frederick High School — new schools are not allowed to be named after people.
The policy on avoiding naming a new building was adopted in 2003. The practice helps avoid controversy, said board President Brad Young.
“We’ve stayed away from naming schools after people, which has its pitfalls,” Young said. “In today’s world ... with all the things that are going on in the world, naming things after somebody is risky.”
The board has asked for public input on previous school developments, such as Butterfly Ridge Elementary School and Sugarloaf Elementary School, Young said. The best suggestions include references to what make the site or the area unique, he said.
FCPS created a School Name Recommendation Committee to help with the process. The group will present three name recommendations to the Board of Education later this year. Susan Verdi, Tuscarora Elementary School literacy specialist, chairs the committee along with local community members and parents. The committee will narrow the suggestions to five to 10 names. Verdi could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The east county elementary school project is in response to the growing crowding problem in eastern Frederick County. The school, to be built on a 15-acre lot on Gas House Pike in the Hamptons West neighborhood of Lake Linganore, was planned in response to crowding at several area elementary schools, including Deer Crossing Elementary. The elementary school in New Market is at 134 percent capacity.
In February, the board reviewed designs for the new school. The two-story design is partially set into a hill on the lot and features three playgrounds and a playing field. Construction for the east county school is scheduled to begin in February 2020 with students entering the building by September 2021.
FCPS will put out a second survey from May 6 to 16 for public feedback on the narrowed five to 10 names the committee has selected.