Chicago Public Schools Board of Education Updates School Naming or Renaming Policy
28 June 2023
Three Schools to Undergo Name Changes as Outlined Under the New Policy
CHICAGO — The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Board of Education (BOE) Wednesday approved an updated “Naming or Renaming of a School, Mascot, Logo, Learning Environment, and Physical Marker” policy that better defines the process and expands the community engagement required to rename a school. Currently, 60 percent of CPS schools are named after white males while no CPS schools are named after Asian or Indigenous people. The updated school renaming process will center diversity and inclusion to ensure school name changes reflect the values and contributions of Chicago’s diverse communities. The Board also authorized the renaming of three District schools that piloted the new renaming process, including more robust community engagement, and will be implementing the new names during the 2023-24 school year.
The three schools will transition to their new names during the 2023-24 school year, following the Board’s vote Wednesday at the June monthly meeting. Caldwell Academy of Math & Science will become Daisy Bates Academy of Social Justice, George B. McClellan Elementary School will transition to Minnie Miñoso Academy, and Enrico Tonti Elementary will be Monarcas Academy.
“Our updated policy is more collaborative with not only our principals and LSC members, but our school communities, including and, most importantly, our students. Lifting up student voice is one of the most important actions we can take as educators,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Our students want their voices heard, and having a say in their school’s namesakes is the first step in being partners in a global society.”
The District engaged in a two and a half-year long policy review and community engagement process to update the “Naming or Renaming” policy, which was adopted in 2003. This included community engagement with 10 organizations and five internal CPS groups, as well as eight most-impacted schools, surveys, empathy interviews, and town halls representing about 2500 CPS stakeholders. Community recommendations centered on ensuring schools are not named after historically egregious figures and calling for the updated process to be aligned with the District’s Equity Plan and feature robust community engagement.
Under the updated “Naming or Renaming” policy, when a school community aims to change the school’s name, a school principal will work with their local school council (LSC) to complete a new, streamlined form that outlines the process and requirements for school renaming. This process includes:
- Submitting a Naming or Renaming request,
- Initiating a formal request by the LSC,
- Community engagement,
- Student voices,
- Drafting an Equity Plan,
- Voting on the school name,
- Network Chief approval, and
- Chicago Board of Education approval.
During its June meeting, the CPS Board also authorized the naming of the following new facilities:
- Lincoln Park Early Learning Center to Dr. Fisher Early Learning Center
- Northwest Early Childhood Center to Catalpa Early Childhood Center
In an effort to support communities seeking to name or rename their schools, the CPS Office of Equity has created a professional learning community (PLC) to provide space, thought partnership, and guidance to schools that are interested in undertaking the school renaming process. The inaugural PLC was attended by seven school leaders from the following schools: Enrico Tonti Elementary School, Charles P. Caldwell Elementary School, Fuller School of Excellence, James Monroe Elementary School, Christopher Columbus Elementary School, Northwest Middle School, and Daniel Webster Elementary School.
For additional information regarding equity and the promotion of diversity and representation within CPS learning environments, please visit the CPS Office of Equity’s website.