School Naming Task Force
Moorhead Area Public Schools
7:30 p.m. April 3, 2003
Pam Gibb, communications coordinator.
Call to Order
Aske called the meeting to order.
Task force members reviewed the minutes from the March 18 meeting. Hearing no additions or corrections the minutes stand as written.
Additions to the Agenda
Aske announced that Roger Erickson, if he was in attendance, would provide a report on Eleanor Rushfeldt, the first female county official.
Revised school name suggestion lists were provided to the task force members. The updated lists had mascot names and names of people still living removed. Pam Gibb explained that additional school name suggestions had been received. She compiled those names omitting duplicates from the original list. The additional names were available if the task force members wanted to review those names as well. Members decided to review the additional list of names so those were distributed.
Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks reported on Nellie Hopkins. Hopkins attended Moorhead Schools, graduating from Moorhead High School in 1896. Her teaching career in Moorhead began in 1908. In 1910 she was principal and first grade teacher at the First Ward School. Hopkins was concerned for her students and approached businesses for contributions when needed. Winterfeldt-Shanks shared a story about how Hopkins drove her students in her own vehicle to performances at the high school. Hopkins retired in 1938 and the school was named after her at that time. She died in 1950.
Jeanne Aske reported on Loren Douglas Hagen. Hagen attended South Junior High through ninth grade. He would have been in the class of 1964. He is, as far as it is known, the only person to attend Moorhead Schools who has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Aske read the citation that Hagen's family received and shared copies of the citation with the task force. Hagen died in 1971 while serving in the U.S Army.
Bryce Haugen reported on James Sharp, who moved to Moorhead in 1871 where he opened a tent store. Sharp carried the mail, helped establish the first school, and was a member of the first Fire Department. He served on the Moorhead School Board for 33 years. Sharp also guaranteed bonds for the construction of the original Moorhead High School and donated money for the school library. Sharp Elementary School was named for him.
It was suggested that all of the past schools could be honored by having pictures of the schools at a central location.
Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks provided an overview of the district education center that will be located in the current Probstfield building. Winterfeldt-Shanks reminded the task force that the building will hold numerous educational programs as well as the district offices. Included in the center will be Adult Basic Education classrooms where adults will study for their GED or take English as a Second Language classes. Other programs at the center will include family literacy, Early Childhood Family Education, HeadStart and Early Intervention Services.
Winterfeldt-Shanks also shared information about S.G. Reinertsen, who was superintendent from 1927-1955. Reinertsen helped start the district's school lunch program and was responsible for six new school buildings opening in Moorhead during his tenure. It was suggested that rooms at the district education center could be named after superintendents.
Consensus Decision Process
Task force members used the consensus decision-making process to determine the criteria and rationale for naming the district education center. Each member determined the criteria for a name and rationale that he or she thought was best, and then paired up with one other person to discuss each person's selection and reach consensus between the two. The group of two met with another group and consensus was reached between the four. Finally, the small group chose a representative to present their selection and reasoning to the entire task force and the task force had to come to consensus. It was decided that the criteria would be the name of a person combined with a description of the building function (i.e., education center, lifelong learning center).
After completing this exercise, there was discussion of keeping the name Probstfield or naming the building after S.G. Reinertsen. Retaining the name Probstfield would avoid confusion for people and would continue to honor the Probstfield name on a school district facility. It was discussed whether the history of Probstfield and the connection to the Probstfield Farm would be lost if the name was not on an elementary school. One suggestion was that the report from the task force could recommend that curriculum be developed for the elementary schools so all the students will learn about Probstfield and the other people the buildings are named after.
It was decided to table the discussion on the name of the district education center until the next meeting so task force members could consider it further.
The task force used the same exercise to select the criteria for naming the high school. It was decided the criteria was location. The task force decided to recommend that the school be named Moorhead High School.
Task force members decided to leave discussion of elementary school names until the next meeting and instead discuss names for the middle school. At the March 18 meeting, the task force determined that the criteria for the middle school name would be metaphor. Task force members reviewed metaphor names on the school name suggestion list and determined their name suggestion and rationale individually. The consensus decision-making process was then followed. Each of the three groups presented their name idea and rationale to the larger group.
One suggestion was Horizon Middle School because the students of diverse backgrounds would be coming together at the school and because architect Ted Rozeboom spoke about the horizon influencing the design of the building. Another suggestion was Freedom Middle School, which could be expanded to include Liberty Drive and names like Washington auditorium and Lincoln gymnasium. It was felt that this was a timeless name and there is nothing like it in community. Other ideas that were briefly mentioned were Explore, Liberty, Excel or something similar. There was further group discussion of what freedom means, that Doug Hagen could be honored in connection with Freedom Middle School, and whether there are other words that would incorporate the concepts being discussed.
It was decided to table the decision until the next meeting so task force members could further consider the discussion and research additional metaphor names.