By Curt Yeomans
For the second time this year, Clayton County residents will have an opportunity to help name a school in the county - and help pick the school's mascot.
School officials are seeking community input on the name and mascot for the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that is being built across from the intersection of Panhandle Road and New Hope Road, near Lovejoy. The school's address is 11808 Panhandle Road, in Hampton.
Residents who want to submit potential names have until Sept. 11 to do so. "We'll take the top-three choices to the school board," said Cephus Jackson, the school system's chief operations officer. "Our top-three choices will be the suggestions which show up the most."
The Clayton County Board of Education could be presented with a slate of names to choose from as early as Sept. 14, when the school board hold its September business meeting, Jackson said. But, that is if the information is ready by that point. If it is not ready by that date, then it will be presented to the school board in October, he said.
Earlier this year, a call for suggested names for the county's new high school yielded more than 90 submissions. Board of Education members settled on Charles R. Drew High School, as the name of that facility.
The question officials will address at a later date, according to District Spokesman Charles White, is how the school will be labeled. Since it is a kindergarten-through eighth-grade school, it incorporates both an elementary and a middle school. Georgia Department of Education guidelines officially describe it as a "K-8 School," White said.
But, he added, that does not guarantee "K-8" will be included in the school's formal name. "It could be named Yeomans School, or it could be Charles White Panhandle School," he said. "Dr. Heatley will make that decision when he recommends a name to the school board."
Unlike the case with Drew High School, however, the community is also being asked to come up with possible ideas for a school mascot, as well. White said the school's administrators will chose from the suggested mascots.
An administrative team, including a principal, has not yet been selected for the school, however. Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley could not be reached for comment.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in August 2010, and is costing the district $25.9 million, according to the school system's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Construction Update report for last month.
During a recent trip to the construction site, Jackson said the two-story, 80-classroom facility will house elementary school students in two wings on the side facing Fayette County. The middle school students will be housed in two wings facing Lovejoy, he said.
The school is designed to relieve overcrowding at River's Edge Elementary School and Lovejoy Middle School. River's Edge currently has six modular classrooms. There are another 25 at Lovejoy Middle School.
"We will be able to get rid of all of the 'mods' at River's Edge and Lovejoy Middle School, once the K-8 school opens," Jackson said.
Suggestions for the school's name, and mascot can be submitted to the school system's Construction Department, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by telephone at (770) 473-2825; by fax at (678) 479-0186, or by mail, or hand delivery to Clayton County Public Schools c/o Denise Roper, 218 Stockbridge Road, Jonesboro, Ga. 30236, Attn: K-8 School.
Name and mascot suggestions must include a name and address for the person making the recommendation, as well as an explanation for the submission.
Board of Education policy FDC, which deals with the naming of schools, states several guidelines for naming a facility, including:
· Consideration is given to individuals who have gained local, state, or national prominence, or someone who has made "significant contributions of service" to the school system.
· The name of a living person cannot be used unless the school board's chairperson, or her designee, has contacted the individual to make sure that person does not object to having a school named after him, or herself.
· The name cannot partially, or fully, duplicate the name of another Clayton County school.
District officials are asking residents not to suggest mascots that are already used by any Clayton County elementary or middle school.