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Residents can choose new Farmington school’s name

The Farmington School Board has put responsibility for naming the district’s new school of choice into the hands of district residents.

Presented two weeks ago with a list of four finalists for the school’s name, board members decided Monday that a school that serves the community should have its name chosen by the community. The district will send an email to residents on its mailing list this week, and whichever of the four names receives the most votes will get the board’s support.

All four finalists were generated by a process that started at the first meeting of the school’s students and parents earlier this year. In addition to getting to know each other, parents, students and everyone else associated with developing the school had a chance to suggest a name for the school. The families later had a chance to vote on which of the names they preferred.

The four that got the most support were Gateway Academy, Farmington Sparks Academy, Rambling River Academy and the dual entry of either Academy of Personalized Learning and Educational Excellence (APEX) or Academy of Personalized Learning and Community Service (APECS).

Most of the names got support from at least one board member. Laura Beem backed either Gateway Academy or one of the APEX/APECS entries. In a message read at the meeting board member Melissa Sauser, who could not attend, also supported one of the acronyms.

Jake Cordes supported Rambling River Academy because “it fits our theme of naming buildings after local landmarks or natural features.”

Cordes also supported Gateway Academy.

Board member Brian Treakle said he wasn’t a big fan of any of the names, but preferred Gateway Academy over the other three.

The only name that didn’t get any support Monday was Farmington Sparks Academy. Board members worried that using sparks — the term the district has used for its efforts to find what students are passionate about — to name a single school might give the impression finding students’ spark is not important at other schools.

“The more I see (that name) the less I like it,” Treakle said.

Ultimately, though, board members decided a bigger group should choose the school’s name.

“I would feel better about a larger pool making a decision about a building in our district,” board member Julie Singewald said. “Even if we had 50 people respond, it would be a lot more than the people at this table.”

Board members expect to see the final name at their June 23 meeting.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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