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New names proposed for Farmington's new school

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news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

With details of the district’s new school continuing to fall into place, members of the Farmington School Board find themselves in a position familiar to any new parent: They need a name. Preferably something catchier than, “the district’s new school.”

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Board members got four options for that name at a Tuesday night meeting. All four were generated by the students and parents who are registered to be part of the school’s first class in the fall. The district started the process at a meeting for those families earlier this month, then provided them with a form to make suggestions and express their own preferences among submitted names.

Caleb Drexler-Booth, the district’s coordinator of teaching and learning, said the idea was to find a name that highlights the elements that make the school unique.

There were more than 20 suggestions, from the Latin (Agrosus School) to the geographic (Farmington Institute of Higher Learning) to the rhyming (Imagination Station).

“Lots of ideas were thrown out there, and we didn’t want to limit any of them,” Drexler-Booth told board members Tuesday.

Drexler-Booth presented four finalists to the board on Tuesday. They are: Gateway Academy of Farmington, Rambling River Academy, Farmington Sparks Academy and the dual suggestion of either Academy of Personalized Learning and Educational Excellence (APEX) or Academy of Personalized Education and Community Service (APECS).

In comments made during the selection process, participants said Gateway Academy “presents itself as opportunistic. The sky is the limit, it says run free.”

Rambling River Academy ties the school to the nearby Vermillion River, a common reference point in Farmington.

“I like the ring to it,” one commenter said. “I think that it gives a good idea of where we are located. It makes us sound very intelligent too.”

Farmington Sparks Academy ties back to the idea that Farmington schools want to find every student’s spark — the thing that gets him or her excited about learning.

“Students are coming to this school to learn in a ‘sparkly’ manner,” one commenter said.

The final options are acronyms spelled out with shorter letters on the ends and taller letters in the middle, as if forming a mountain peak.

“APEX is a strong name, represents the direction of the school, and includes the double-definition of Apex: to reach a high point, or the top/peak of something,” one participant wrote.

Plus, added another, it would “be cool on a t-shirt.”

The district has hired three teachers for its new school, which will debut in September with a focus on project-based learning and an approach that does away with traditional grade levels to allow students to progress at their own pace.

As of Tuesday, there were 75 students enrolled in the new school, but Laura Pierce, the district’s director of innovative programming, said administrators continue to meet with parents who have shown interest.

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