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March 18, 2003 Meeting Notes

School Naming Task Force
Moorhead Area Public Schools
7:30 p.m. March 18, 2003

Members Present:

Maggie Rousseau,
Jeff Offutt,
Brad Holschuh,
Bryce Haugen,
Jeanne Aske,
Roger Erickson,
Denise Paulson,
Matt Naugle,
Sandee Rasmussen,
Carol Ladwig,
Lyn Dwyer,
Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks,
Mark Meister.

Members Absent:

Steve Scheel

District Representative:

Dr. Larry Nybladh

Call to Order

Haugen called the meeting to order.


Task force members reviewed the minutes from the March 11 meeting. Hearing no additions or corrections the minutes stand as written.


Comments were made regarding the names that the media chose to list as possibilities for the schools.

Review of List of Name Nominations for Purpose of Clarification

An alphabetical list of names was distributed to task force members. After reviewing the original criteria for names, the task force decided to eliminate some of the names right away. Names of anyone still living and mascot names were all eliminated.

Discussion of Decision-Making Process Approaches

Dr. Nybladh discussed with the task force the need to decide and prioritize criteria, avoid groupthink and groupshift, and come to consensus through collaboration.

The task force suggested ideas for naming the buildings such as using themes, dividing the list of names by place/person and going from there, attaching a motto to the name of a building, and the possibility of using some suggested names for theaters or auditoriums.

The question was raised as to whether or not all of the buildings need new names and if so would selecting all new names cause a change or elimination of a theme. Task force members discussed whether or not the high school should be removed from the list of buildings to be named. Several variations of names for the high school were suggested including William G. Moorhead High School, Moorhead Senior High, Moorhead Senior High School and Moorhead High School. It was decided to note the discussion in the minutes and leave it for another meeting.

The task force also discussed possibilities to consider when naming the schools such as themes related to heritage and prominent people and the growing diversity of Moorhead.

Dr. Nybladh suggested an exercise to help the group reach consensus for determining the criteria of the elementary schools. Each member chose the criteria for a name that he or she thought was best (person, place, symbolic metaphor or a combination) and then paired up with one other person to discuss each person's selection and reach consensus between the two. Next, the group of two met with another group and consensus was reached between the four. Finally, the small group picked a representative to present their selection and reasoning to the entire task force and the task force had to come to consensus. After completing this exercise, the task force reached a consensus on criteria for naming the elementary schools. The decision was to use a person/symbolic metaphor combination with the metaphor possibly in the motto.

Group discussion after the exercise included using names from a closer time period, possibly the '50s, '60s or '70s, that would be more recognizable to kids of today. It was decided that names for consideration would be limited to local historic figures.

The task force used the same exercise to select the criteria for naming the middle school. A consensus was reached by the task force to use a symbolic metaphor. One question that was raised was about who should develop the motto for the building — the task force or the community surrounding the school. A suggestion was also made to let the students and faculty of a building name their small learning communities within the school.

Next Steps

A small subcommittee was formed to research a few names for the next meeting. Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks will research Nellie Hopkins, Jeanne Aske will research Loren Hagen, and Bryce Haugen will research James Sharp.

Any other ideas are to be researched and brought to the next meeting.

An additional meeting was scheduled for Thursday, April 10.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. April 3 in the Townsite Centre Board Room.