By Curt Peterson
“Windsor Central Unified Union School District” is confusing (and it’s a mouthful) even for those who’ve written it hundreds of times. That’s only one reason the district’s configuration and enrollment growth working group (CEGW) is trying to find a new district name as part of their rebranding efforts.
Why change the WCUUSD name? Superintendent Sherry Sousa said that when attending state-wide meetings she and other district representatives are often confused with those from Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union.
More importantly, the CEGW believes finding a new name somehow honoring all seven towns in the district will be important to creating a sense of community among parents, students and taxpayers — and inspire support.
They believe a new name and logo, produced collaboratively among all stakeholders, could describe a more cohesive academic organism that can more efficiently educate the district’s pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 student population from seven sending towns.
The board disseminated a survey asking respondents about their relationships with the district, their opinions of changing the district name, what sort of name might be appropriate, and how to choose a new name. The survey was distributed via the district website, area listservs, and a local newspaper article.
“The process was entirely digital,” Sousa told the Mountain Times.
Responders didn’t have to answer every question. The first two questions earned 262 responses, but the largest number, 345 people, provided information about their personal relationship to the district, e.g. student, parent, employee, taxpayer, alumni, community member.
Working group and board member Todd Ulman (Woodstock) presented a detailed review of the survey results, a link to which is provided on the district website: wcsu.net/home.
Some highlights among the data regarding respondents:
- 63% feel they are actively engaged in the district.
- 58% feel they are very aware of goings-on at the district.
- 53% consider themselves well-informed about district operations.
- 61% know whom to contact at the district with a question or concern.
- 56% have a positive perception of the district.
Of those who responded to the survey, 75 were students, 88 were parents, 50 were alumni, 52 were employees and 91 were community members.
Only 25% feel the current name reflects the district culture and values. But roughly the same number favor changing and keeping the current name.
A few questions solicited interesting comments from responders, particularly the suggestions for a new name. Geographic, geologic, topographic, historic names and names including “Woodstock” were popular. Other noteworthy entries:
- “Calvin Coolidge Unified School District”
- “Our Beloved Trout School District”
- “Something representing the Abenaki culture, maybe in the Abenaki language”
- “Vermont Green Mountains Coolidge School District”
- “The Working Class Will Rise Up and Overthrow the Oppressive Capitalist Pigs School District”
Student involvement will be important, CEGWG chair Keri Bristow said. Each pre-K through grade 6 school in the district will run a contest asking for naming suggestions, and its principal will submit one or two from their school to be considered by the CEGWG, who will choose up to three of what they feel are the best entries, and submit them to the board for their consideration. The winning name will earn the student one day as principal of his/her school.
Middle/High School principal Garon Smail told the Mountain Times he still has some questions about how to run the contest in his domain, but probably won’t duplicate the others’ process.