Our new elementary school building is scheduled to open in September 2019 and will be located next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Our existing faculty and staff will move to the new school building. The current school building will then be occupied by the Montessori Program currently at Drew Model School.
APS has formed a Naming Committee to recommend a name for the new elementary school to be built at the Thomas Jefferson site. The committee will submit its naming recommendation for the new school in spring 2017. First, the Naming Committee will be collecting input from the community to help inform the naming process.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Who is on the Naming Committee?
- The naming committee includes the following representatives:
- From Patrick Henry:
- Andrea Turner, Principal
- Twila Glick, Staff Rep
- Michelle Gentry, Parent Rep
- From Thomas Jefferson:
- Christine Brittle, Parent Rep
- Catrina Tangchittsumran, Staff Rep
- From the Neighborhoods that comprise the Patrick Henry Community:
- Mahender Dudani, Arlington Heights CA
- Andrew Greenwood, Penrose CA
- Jennifer Everling, Douglas Park CA
- Sarah Kessler, Columbia Heights CA
- Community Member-at-Large/SAWG Rep: Monique O’Grady
- Staff Liaison (non-voting): Linda Erdos
- From Patrick Henry:
2. Will the name of the school definitely change when the staff and students move into the new building?
- Not necessarily. It is policy that each new school building go through a naming process. APS could decide to keep the name–transfer the name “Patrick Henry Elementary School” from the current school building to the new school building. (The Montessori community will go through its own naming process and is not required to keep the “Patrick Henry Elementary School” name when it moves into the building in 2019.)
3. If the name changes, what happens to the awards and recognitions, like National Blue Ribbon award?
- Patrick Henry Elementary School has received numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently, we were named a Title I Distinguished School for raising the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students and a National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education based on our overall academic excellence. These are not connected to the building and would transfer with us to the new location and name.
4. Will the boundaries change when the staff and students move to the new building in 2019?
- We don’t know. There will be a separate, independent process in 2018 that will look at boundaries and then decisions about boundary adjustments will be made. These are two separate issues and processes. The Patrick Henry PTA will continue to advocate for, and encourage our community to advocate for, APS keeping our entire school community together when we move to the new school building.
5. Who was Patrick Henry?
- Patrick Henry was Virginia’s first and sixth governor, a U.S. Founding Father who is remembered for his “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech. He was a plantation owner and a slave owner. Records indicate he purchased up to 78 slaves. More information can be found at:
6. What is the school’s history and why was it named Patrick Henry Elementary School?
- Patrick Henry Elementary School was established in 1925, replacing the Columbia School, Arlington’s first public school. In 1959, it became Arlington’s first integrated elementary school. We asked the Center for Local History at the Arlington Central Library this question and there does not seem to be any “Arlington related” reasoning for naming the school Patrick Henry beyond the fact that he was the 1st and 6th Governor of VA. They looked through several biographies and could not find any connection between Patrick Henry and Arlington.
7. What’s Patrick Henry Elementary School’s student population like?
- Patrick Henry Elementary School is a wonderfully diverse public elementary school, educating 629 students in PreK through 5th grades. Nearly 38 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced priced meals based on their parents’ income. Our students’ families represent more than 20 different nationalities and speak more than 30 different languages. One fourth of our students speak English as their second language. Approximately 16 percent of our students receive special education services.
8. Will the new school building have a design or theme, like Discovery Elementary?
- The new building is being designed to highlight the environmental diversity of our world, as a nod to the rich diversity of our student body. The ocean, land, air and even layers of earth below ground will be represented, as well as the animals that live in each biosphere.
9. What is the Community Input Form?
- The Community Input Form is a tool to collect information from our community that will help inform the direction of the Naming Committee in its job to make a name recommendation to APS. It will be available in English, Spanish, Mongolian, Amharic, and Arabic. Each Naming Committee member will distribute the Form and encourage his/her community to fill it out.
10. I have a great idea about a name. How do I submit it?
- Great! Please complete the Community Input Form and include your idea. Updated: The Community Input Form has closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!
11. I have opinions. How do I participate in this process?
- Please, please fill out the Community Input Form. Updated: The Community Input Form has closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!