What's in a name? Howard County's 42nd elementary school becomes Hanover Hills Elementary

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

The county's newest elementary school now has a name: Hanover Hills.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of the name, which was the leader among three contenders announced at a meeting last week. The other names under consideration were Hanover Crossing Elementary and Oxford Square Elementary.

Running Brook Elementary School’s principal, Troy Todd, was also named the first principal for Hanover Hills. Anthony Esposito, an assistant principal at Fulton Elementary, was named as Todd’s replacement.

The $45 million school, designed for 788 students, is set to open in the fall.

“The exciting part about being able to open the new school is being able to hopefully set and build a culture in which students will thrive,” Todd said. “It’s going to be a whirlwind, a lot of work leading up to it, but once the students come in the doors that’s going to be the best part.”

A 14-member committee, including parents, teachers, principals, assistant principals and one student from Thomas Viaduct Middle School, which will be the feeder middle school for Hanover Hills, met twice in October to discuss school name possibilities, after gathering input from the public. The committee was co-chaired by performance, equity and community response officer David Larner and community superintendent for the area Theo Cramer.

Larner said committee members felt strongly about including “Hanover” in the name of the school, as the school is near Hanover; members were also in favor of the sound of the Hanover Hills name. Larner said the area has a few rolling hills, which were part of the inspiration behind the name.

“They wanted that sense of the Hanover community to be part of the name of the school,” he said.

School names are chosen based on the geography of the surrounding area and will be made using culturally proficient language of the current time; schools are not named after people.

Larner said students who have been redistricted to Hanover Hills next year will vote this spring on a mascot and school colors.

After voting in favor of Hanover Hills, school board member Kirsten Coombs asked Cramer and Larner when the new school’s start times would be announced. The school board voted in December not to push back school start times in 2018, to the dismay of many parents. Elementary schools currently start between 8:35 and 9:25 a.m. and dismiss between 3:05 and 3:55 p.m.

Todd said he had no preference on what time school started in the morning. Cramer said during the meeting that Hanover Hills’ start time would be announced in conjunction with the rest of the start times later this spring.

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