LONGMONT – Last month, the old Frederick High School was rechristened Thunder Valley, a K-8 school to ease overcrowding at Coal Ridge Middle School.
Now it’s Frederick Elementary’s turn for a new name.
The site of the decommissioned elementary will be the home this year for a new early childhood education facility, and the St. Vrain Valley school board voted Jan. 9 to name the new building Spark! Discovery Preschool.
The school board chose the name from a list of four presented by a committee that worked with 23 names submitted from the public. The three other finalists presented to the school board were Ignite! Early Learning, Early Explorers Discovery School, and Explore and Discover Early Learning School.
In its report to the school board, the committee made Spark! Discovery its top pick because the name suggests the moment curiosity, passion and interest are sparked for life-long learning.
“The committee submits this name as a reference to preschool as the first opportunity we have to expose preschoolers to formalized education,” the report read. “We like the exclamation point as an enunciation of importance.”
The preschool is part of the district-wide effort to promote the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Starting fall 2013, Centennial, Frederick, Legacy and Prairie Ridge Preschools will merge as Spark! Discovery.
The new STEM preschool will provide preschool students in Frederick, Firestone and
Dacono with what the district is describing as an “accelerated, rigorous, comprehensive early learning program,” enhanced by project-based learning with a STEM emphasis.
The committee charged with finding the name set up guidelines for the process including avoiding names that closely resemble other school names in the area including public, charter, private and national “chain” preschools.
Paige Gordon, St. Vrain Valley School District STEM coordinator, told the school board that new school became possible once the new high school was constructed, which ultimately freed up the Frederick Elementary site.
“We are going to enhance the traditional preschool programming using and infusing STEM techniques and practices into the classroom,” Gordon said. “We are also considering in the future, down the road, a Montessori strand, and have done an initial look at that and have decided to set that aside for a year so we can have better representation from our parents and input as to whether this is something they desire in terms of programming.”
Gordon said the application process for the new school has been underway for a week, and already there are more than 100 applicants.
School board member Mike Schiers was the sole vote against the name. He said he one of the other recommendations.
“One that really jumped out at me was Ignite! Early Learning, because it’s not only a name, it’s a statement,” Schiers said. “I thought that was a real neat way to put something out there. If you look at Ignite! Early Learning, am I saying a name or am I saying a statement?”
Schiers represents the area that includes the planned site for Spark! Discovery.
The committee submitted a suggestion of yellow, purple and black for school colors. And for a mascot, the committee made several suggestions including a light bulb, lightning bolt, robot, or a rocket ship. School board President John Creighton said he trusted the students and staff to finalize the mascot at a later date.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at
303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.