School Naming Task Force
Moorhead Area Public Schools
7:30 p.m. February 27, 2003
Roger Erickson and Maggie Rousseau.
Dr. Bob Loeffler, Comstock House site manager.
Pam Gibb, communications coordinator.
Call to Order
Haugen called the meeting to order.
Task force members reviewed the minutes. Hearing no additions or corrections the minutes stand as written.
Dr. Bob Loeffler, Comstock House site manager
Bob Loeffler from the Comstock House presented the task force members with information about Ada Comstock. Loeffler shared that Comstock was raised in Moorhead, she attended Moorhead's first public school, and she devoted her life to education.
Ada Comstock was born Dec. 11, 1876, the oldest child of Solomon and Sarah Comstock. She graduated from high school at age 15 and attended the University of Minnesota in 1892. She later transferred to Smith College. In 1897-1898 she attended the Moorhead Normal School, which her father established in 1885, where she was exposed to teacher training courses.
After leaving Smith, Comstock taught Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota and in 1907 established the first Dean of Women's Office. In 1921 she helped found and was the first president of the American Association of University Women. During this time, she never forgot Moorhead and spent many holidays with family in Moorhead. She gave up the AAUW position when she became the first president of Radcliffe College. Comstock retired in 1943, and died in 1973 at age 97.
Loeffler told the task force members that like her father, Ada proclaimed love of country, honesty, the high ideals of education, and sense of responsibility. Loeffler also shared brief information about other members of the Comstock family.
Sandee Rasmussen, second-grade teacher, Probstfield Elementary School
Sandee Rasmussen presented information to the task force about Randolph Probstfield. The current Probstfield Elementary School is named after Mr. Probstfield. Rasmussen provided information about the curriculum that was prepared for students at Probstfield and about the service-learning projects connected to the curriculum. For instance, last spring the second-graders planted a tree at the Probstfield farm.
Randolph Probstfield was born in 1832 in Germany. He came to the United States in 1852. In 1859 he came to the Red River Valley. Probstfield was one of the earliest settlers in the area. In 1861 Probstfield married Catherine Goodman in Indiana. They returned in a covered wagon to Georgetown where he served as postmaster, hotel manager and agent for the Hudson Bay Company.
One spring during flooding, Probstfield traveled down the river and discovered land that had not been flooded. It was there he built his home, called Oakport, in 1868. Probstfield had 11 children. He began a school in the upstairs of his home, and his five oldest children were his students. In 1881 he helped build the District 23 school house. Probstfield died in 1911 and is buried in Moorhead. Rasmussen also provided task force members with the articles she has written about Randolph Probstfield for the Probstfield school newsletter.
Discussion of Meetings
Pam Gibb shared that Dr. Paul Dovre, architect Ted Rozeboom, and Dr. Nybladh are all able to present March 11 at a meeting in the board room. This meeting was not one of the task force's scheduled meeting days, but it was a day that the architect was available. The task force members discussed whether to meet March 13 (the previously scheduled meeting) to receive the school name suggestions that had been submitted or to wait and discuss those at the March 20 meeting. One idea was to get the list of suggested names prior to the March 20 meeting for review. Task force members discussed meeting March 18 instead of March 20 as a number of people would be gone March 20. It was decided that meetings will be March 11 and March 18.
It was asked when the testing of the names would be done and whether students will have an opportunity to be involved in the process. There was discussion that the recommendations would be shared with students, PTAC members (at the April PTAC meetings), and Student Council members at the high school. One thought is to discuss certain schools at certain meetings (i.e. discuss names for middle school, high school and education center at one meeting and names for elementary schools at another meeting). It was decided this could be further discussed at either the March 11 or March 18 meeting. Task force members will also be assigned PTAC meetings to attend in April.
Pam Gibb provided the task force with an update regarding the suggestion forms. About 70 suggestions have already been submitted. All district employees were informed via e-mail that the suggestion form was available online. A news release was sent to the newspaper and four television stations, paper copies of the form were sent to each school, and forms were included in all of the copies of KidSource to go to K-6 students. Brad Holschuh and Bryce Haugen said that an announcement had been put in the high school newspaper.
Task force members were all given copies of the form. There was further discussion of how to let people know that suggestions are being taken. It was mentioned that a mailing may be sent to the district's key communicators. There was discussion of having information put on signs such as those by the fire departments and the schools. Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks will follow up on the fire department signs, and Matt Naugle said he would contact the principals about the school signs. There was discussion about having forms available at the library, having forms at Moorhead open houses on Sunday, providing the information to the colleges, including a reminder in the high school announcements, and reaching church groups.