‘Westside Elementary’ – new school’s starting name

       Little by little, plans are taking shape for the new District 11 Westside school configuration starting this August. Still being determined are names for the three schools that have been created or relocated as a result
       Of these, only the new elementary inside the current West Middle School has a name - “Westside Elementary.” However, that's certain only in 2010-11, according to its principal, Terry Martinez, duringwhich time school and District 11 leaders will decide what to do next. The school could stay the same in 2010-11, with two separate schools within the building, or they could refine it into a formal preschool-to-eighth grade school, depending on educational factors and how well the younger children are treated by the older ones, Board of Education discussion has indicated.
       The school will combine all or some of the students from three current Westside elementaries that will close after this school year - Buena Vista, Washington and Whittier. Because of that, Martinez said the “Westside” name seemed to be appropriate, at least for the first year.
       Meanwhile, naming decisions have not yet been made for the new, Montessori magnet elementary and for the alternative high school, which will be moving to the Washington and Whittier sites, respectively.
       David Brilliant, the current Buena Vista principal who will become the Montessori principal, said that early discussions have been leaning toward celebrating the historical ties between Washington and Buena Vista (where Montessori started five years ago and is currently taught there in a “dual-track” manner with traditional classes). Not only are those school sites fairly close together (Washington on Pikes Avenue between Limit and Eighth streets and Buena Vista on Bijou between 16th and 17th streets), but they also have a building in common. The Lincoln Annex cottage was moved to the Washington grounds from the Buena Vista property in 1911, Brilliant pointed out. Could the new name be “Lincoln Annex”? Stay tuned.
       For Bijou, which has endured a substandard facility for years (it's part of the original, unrenovated 1891 Bristol School, along with several portables), the 1901 Whittier site represents a definite step up. The site has received several recent improvements - including new doors, windows and carpets and heating system upgrades - as a result of the 2005 bond issue.
       Bijou Principal Wayne Hutchison said he and staff are brainstorming ideas for a suitable new name, with the goal of somehow retaining both the Bijou and Whittier monickers.
       Addressing two reutilization-mode eastside schools that are getting new names , District 11 has asked for public input, noting in a press release that “schools may be named for presidents, statesmen, heroes of local or national fame, governors, national and local educators, community and civic leaders, historical people, places, events, geographical locations, nearby subdivisions or adjacent streets.”
       As for the three Westside schools, a recent unsigned letter to the Westside Pioneer suggests a citizen vote on names from a list of “historical figures or events that are of particular significance to the Westside.”

Westside Pioneer article