This webpage will be continually updated with information about the 2020 Jefferson Elementary School Renaming Process.
School Board Action to Discontinue the Name Jefferson
On July 1, 2020, the School Board voted to discontinue the name “Jefferson” for the elementary school. The Information item and board discussion and vote can be watched online beginning about minute 2:10:44 in the archived video. The presentation and documents are online as Board item 12.1.
The board action followed a commitment to change the names of Jefferson and Washington School as part of the Board Resolution In Support of Black Lives Matter, and builds upon a history of community efforts to rename Jefferson school. Linked here are records from 2003-2005, 2017-18 and 2020.
Timeline for Process and Board Decision
The process for renaming follows Board Policy 7310 for Facilities Naming and Renaming. An Advisory Committee was formed to work with the Superintendent and school community to solicit and review potential new names for the school. The Naming Advisory Committee also supports the education and engagement process for discussing top names with the school community, before the Superintendent’s recommendation of a name to the Board for their decision at a Board meeting (tentatively scheduled for December 2, 2020).
School community meetings include: a June 22 Town Hall to explain the renaming process, a webinar that will become available September 11 for additional details on the process, with options for feedback on naming criteria, and a meeting on September 17 at 7:00 pm as part of the launch of soliciting name suggestions, with an online submission form which will be available September 18 through September 28. Please return to this webpage for updated links as they become available.
Outreach and school community engagement will include the online form for name suggestions, school focus groups, surveys, classroom discussions, learning materials about the top list of names, and a school community meeting in early-mid November to discuss the top name candidates. By the end of November, the Advisory Committee will provide a summary of the community discussions and a recommendation for a top name or names to the Superintendent, who will then bring forward a recommendation for Board decision on December 2, 2020.
As work progresses, links will be provided below:
Webinars and Meeting Links
School Name Suggestions Form
- Form was open for submissions from Sept 17-27 2020 – there were 198 submissions during that time, reflecting a total of 69 unique name suggestions. See below.
List of All Name Suggestions and School Board Update
Slideshow Learning Materials for Top 7 Names (will be updated)
Week of October 19:
Week of October 26:
Week of November 2:
Recommendation to School Board
December 9 Board Documents
- Recommendation to the Board for the name Ruth Acty Elementary School
- Appendix A: Ruth Acty Biography
- Appendix B: Berkeley Historical Society Articles
- Appendix C: Learning About Top Seven Names
- Appendix D: Summary of Community Input
- Appendix E: Carrying the Learning Forward
- Appendix F: Name Change Implementation Steps
School Board Decision
On December 9, 2020, the School Board voted unanimously to approve the name “Ruth Acty Elementary School”. This inspiring educator, the first teacher of color in Berkeley Unified School District, dedicated nearly 50 years of her life to teaching students from Kindergarten through Adult School, and has been described as “a tenacious, committed, dedicated, caring and loving educator, trailblazer and history maker.”
December 9 School Board meeting