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Committee shares top 3 names for new Hanover elementary school

An architectural rendering of Elementary School 42. The school system's Naming/Renaming Committee recommended the Board of Education name the school Hanover Hills Elementary.
An architectural rendering of Elementary School 42. The school system's Naming/Renaming Committee recommended the Board of Education name the school Hanover Hills Elementary. (HCPSS photo)

Howard County’s School Naming/Renaming Committee Tuesday recommended its top three naming choices for Elementary School 42, leading with Hanover Hills Elementary.

The second and third choices on the list were Hanover Crossing Elementary and Oxford Square Elementary. The Board of Education is expected to approve a name on Jan. 11.

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Elementary School 42 is scheduled to open in Hanover next to Thomas Viaduct Middle for the 2018-19 school year. When a public hearing was held Dec. 19 to discuss potential names, no one testified.

Per board policy, the 14-member committee met twice in October after gathering suggestions from the public. Committee members included parents, teachers, principals, assistant principals and one student, as well as co-chairmens David Larner and Theo Cramer. Larner is the school system’s performance, equity and community response officer, and Cramer is the community superintendent for the area.

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According to board policy, school names are determined by geographic terms related to the surrounding area. Elementary School 42 is located within the Oxford Square planned community. A historian and geographer were also on the committee to provide information about the Hanover area to help in choosing a school name.

Larner, Cramer, the historian and the geographer did not vote for a name as part of board policy. More than 150 names were submitted, according to board documents, but suggestions were narrowed down to 47 names because some did not fulfill policy requirements.

The Howard County School Board decided to significantly scale back redistricting at the elementary and middle school levels and halt high school redistricting.

“We don’t name schools after people,” Larner said.

Veterans Elementary in Ellicott City, which opened in 2007, is the county’s only school not named for its geographic location, Larner said. The land where the school is built was donated by the Ellicott City VFW and named in honor of local veterans.

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In September, the African American Community Roundtable of Howard County released a letter asking for support in its efforts to have the school named after local scholar Silas Craft. The letter was signed by founder Candace Dodson-Reed, president Larry Walker and NAACP president Willie Flowers.

Craft, who died in 1995, led the opening of the county’s first senior high school for African Americans, Harriet Tubman High, and was later the principal of Cooksville High. Howard Community College recognizes Craft’s work through the Silas Craft Collegians Program to help students transfer to four-year colleges.

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