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Ducketts School Naming Committee Concerns Board of Education Member

Board member noted nobody from Elkridge Elementary School was on 13-member committee, but now the PTA president is involved.

Before the elementary school on Ducketts Lane opens in fall 2013, it needs a name, and the deadline for the Board of Education to approve one is Dec. 4.

At a school board meeting last week, board member Brian Meshkin said he was "surprised" that nobody from Elkridge Elementary School stepped forward to help with the naming of the school. The committee includes 13 members.

"This new school is really providing relief to the students and the families in Elkridge and will have a big influence on Elkridge Elementary School, yet there is nobody from Elkridge Elementary or the PTA ... or even GECA [Greater Elkridge Community Association] represented," said Meshkin. "I was surprised not to see any names" on the committee from Elkridge.

Because of this, Meshkin added the school naming committee's report to the Board of Education's agenda for its Sept. 20 meeting. "I asked that it be pulled from the Consent Agenda (which means it gets approved without discussion) because I was concerned that there was no representation from Elkridge Elementary," said Meshkin in an email to Elkridge Patch on Sept. 28.

"Have we as a school system done outreach, and they're just not interested?" asked Meshkin at the school board meeting. "They tend to be a very active, responsible group of parents; we hear from them a lot on issues."

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) solicited volunteers to help name the Ducketts Lane school over the summer, said committee chair Arlene Harrison, who is an HCPSS elementary school administrator.

"I actually reached out to the Howard County PTA Council myself for the four schools we anticipate ... will be attending [the Ducketts Lane elementary school]," said Harrison.

Tentatively, Bellows Spring, Deep Run, Elkridge and Rockburn would shuffle students to fill the 600-seat school on Ducketts Lane in 2013, contingent on a redistricting plan the school board must approve by Nov. 15.

"As Elkridge Elementary School will be the largest contributor of students to this new school ... it is my hope that at least one person will volunteer to participate" in the naming of it, wrote Meshkin on his blog after the school board meeting.

"I can certainly reach out again," said Harrison at the meeting. She will return before the board Oct. 2 with the committee's proposal for a school name.

After the Sept. 20 school board meeting, Jennifer Lefever, president of the Elkridge Elementary School PTA, told Patch that Harrison contacted her and asked her to vote on the names the committee proposed.

Lefever told Patch she had signed up to be on the committee after Dr. Diane Mumford, principal at Elkridge Elementary, asked if Lefever would participate; but Lefever said she never heard anything after she signed up so assumed the committee hadn't convened yet.

Meshkin found out after the Sept. 20 meeting about Lefever's situation and alerted Harrison.

Committee chair Harrison "didn't know what the mixup was," said Lefever, who was given an apology last week and an opportunity to review the ideas and vote on which name to propose to the Board of Education.

"It was a good list—geographical areas, some names were [related to] the Patapsco Park and that area," said Lefever. "I couldn’t think of any other names; I didn’t have a name in mind that was super wonderful. I think they did a great job."

HCPSS currently calls the Ducketts Lane project "elementary school #41" because it is the 41st elementary school in Howard County.

Members of the naming committee for elementary school #41 include the following:

  • Administrators from Bellows Spring, Deep Run and Rockburn
  • PTA members from Bellows Spring, Gorman Crossing and Waterloo
  • Staff from Bushy Park Elementary School
  • Head Start Community Action Council's policy president
  • Three central office staff for Howard County public schools
  • Historian from the Howard County Historical Society

"I'm pleased that after bringing this 'gaping hole' up to staff and the board, we were able to get at least one representative," wrote Meshkin in a Sept. 28 email to Patch. "I also suggested a representative from GECA."

Students may be involved too.

"I've assumed from past committees that there's a polling of students who might be feeding into [the new school]," said Board of Education member Sandra French at the Sept. 20 school board meeting. "There will be very strong student participation, and that's part of the objective, to provide opportunities to the students."

Harrison was not immediately available for comment about student participation.

The committee's proposal for naming the Ducketts Lane elementary school will go before the board Oct. 2. A public hearing on the school's name will take place Nov. 1, and the board will vote on a name by Dec. 3, with approval by Dec. 4.

Related Articles:

  • Elkridge School Construction Spurs Redistricting
  • School Redistricting Prompts Questions About Fracturing Communities

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Val McGuire September 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I think a representative from GECA is a GREAT idea. Who has been contacted? GECA has a school committee. Perhaps a person on the committee: Howard Johnson, Jill Bateman, Brian Moroney or Leslie Kornreich????
Jack September 28, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Meshkin has a point but •Administrators from Bellows Spring, Deep Run and Rockburn •PTA members from Bellows Spring, Gorman Crossing and Waterloo •Staff from Bushy Park Elementary School •Head Start Community Action Council's policy president •Three central office staff for Howard County public schools •Historian from the Howard County Historical Society Reflects how the whole community in the east has been left out of the process for years. These people are absolutely pissed off at how Howard county and the hcpss has treated them and their children. I bet if you asked them to write letters telling the hcpss to screw off you would get some response.
djp952 September 29, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I find it hard to believe than anyone in Elkridge cares what it's called, let alone the need for an entire committee on the topic. To be honest, I think the children that will be the first attendees should be given the opportuity to name it and choose the mascot, etc. All the adults I know around here (myself included) are still so bitter about it and hate the BOE so much that we really couldn't give a hoot what it's called. Why not have a contest at the other Elem. Schools to "name your new school"?
JBateman September 29, 2012 at 02:45 AM
The irony never stops. Input is wanted to help name a school. In relative terms, does a name really matter? The GECA School Committee asked over and over to have input on the actual site the school would be placed on. But, no, we just get to help name it. Think carefully about who you vote for in November for the BOE.
Dave A. September 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Whining Elementary
Elle September 29, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Whats the big deal? Just name it Ducketts Lane Elementary and be done with it! lol
edb September 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM
That would just be too easy!! They have to form a committee and waste countless hours of time and money trying to appease everyone involved, all the while knowing what the name will be. That's they way the BOE and HCPSS works. Using our tax dollars in a fiscally responsible way!!
djp952 September 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Don't worry Dave, we'll all be very supportive of you when the county comes through your neighborhood with its backhoes and wrecking balls :-) If you're really really lucky you'll get new water mains, they're doing a bang up job with that! But they only do that after they repave your road so you may have to wait a while :-)
S.S. in Elkridge October 01, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I live adjacent to the site and asked to be on the committee. I was told there were already a lot of people on the committee and by the time I got a response, I wasn't able to make the first meeting the next night. I asked to be put on the committee anyway and to be notified of all meetings. Needless to say, I haven't heard a thing. The building of this school is taking a HUGE toll on the surrounding neighborhood with most of us being against its construction. Doesn't it make sense to add someone to the committee that is greatly impacted by this school? I think so. I continue to be disheartened by Howard County's BOE. They do what they want.
BK October 01, 2012 at 01:18 PM
What does the name matter? BOE and HCPSS will do what they want. Remember - this school got shoved into a 10 acre plot that according to BOE specs should be a minimum of 16. They didn't care what the community had to say at that time. They probably won't like the names the community would come with anyway!
DawnP October 01, 2012 at 05:38 PM
My thoughts exactly.
Elizabeth Janney (Editor) October 01, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Here are names the community came up with when we asked over the summer. http://elkridge.patch.com/articles/results-from-readers-naming-new-elementary-school Have others? Add them in the comments!
djp952 October 02, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Elizabeth, have you had an opportunity to come by Ducketts/Bauman in recent months? I would love to see a non-biased opinion of what they've done here with the ongoing 14 month long water main project, the school construction, and coming this month the firehouse. So many people think we are whining but our neighborhood has been ruined beyond repair to many of us. We waited 15+ years to get repaved and its all destroyed. Some form of water, I still believe the drinking kind, is coming from Hydrants. I am biased and angry maybe a fresh set of eyes would be good for us all
BK October 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM
djp952 - very well put. Our neighborhood is no longer quiet. We have to put up with all the construction traffic along with the crews firing up their equipment at 6am. YES PEOPLE - 6AM, including Saturdays. I can't even be sick in my own home and get any sleep because of having to listen to the constant noise and beeping. We are bitter and mad that this was forced on us. They've been working on this water main for about 18 months. They do a couple weeks of work and then disappear for a couple months. Now they want to waste money naming the school when the name is very obvious! I plan on voting everyone I can out of office. If you're an incumbant - you can be assured you WILL NOT get my vote.
Concerned Elkridgean October 03, 2012 at 06:37 AM
What about asking members of our own historical society? That is Elkridge Heritage Society. They could help.

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