[name of school]
January 4, 2012 § 10 Comments
Before our children were born, my wife and I spent lots of time on the Baby Name Wizard Voyager. If you are expecting, or want something to do for the next 5 – 100 minutes check it out here. It’s rad.
Unfortunately, it does not work on names for new charter schools. That’s a shame because I’m still struggling to find the right word, or name, for the school.
I have experimented with many different names, but none seems to stick. I want it to comunicate an integrated viewpoint: humanities & sciences, the past and the future, constructivism & accountability, newcomers and ‘born & raised New Orleanians” and a level of class integration that is rarely seen in public schools. I also want to be sure that it communicates that this is a new type of school – something different, something dynamic – like an iterative, innovative learning lab.
While I was at Wharton, I had one professor who said that he used to think that company/brand names were really important, but now he believes that they are essentially meaningless, and what really matters is the quality of product or service that people associate with that name. Think about it – it’s really unusual to have an awesome company name in a vacuum: Amazon, Apple, MicroSoft, Intel come to mind. But the names of most companies & organizations are either acronyms, made up/unknown words, or the last name(s) of the founder(s). None of those held any meaning prior to the establishment of the goods and/or services the organization provided.
Seriously, does “Ben & Jerry’s” scream delicious ice cream to you?
Still, I’m struggling to get the name right. If I were starting an electric company, I’d probably just call it Densen Electric like my brother-in-law’s family company. But that’s not done in education circles. I’d love to get some feedback on names I’ve been experimenting with. Please let me know what you think of any and all of these. I’d prefer in the comments section, but I’ll take your thoughts any way I can get them: email, twitter, facebook comments, whatever.
Here are the list of name’s I have already embraced and later abandoned:
Inventus is latin for ‘found’ or ‘discovered.’ I also really liked the opportunity to play with InventUs. But the name just doesn’t sound like I school where I would want to send my children to. That’s actually a great test – the playground test. Can you see parents on the playground using the potential school name. As my wife would say, “it’s got to sound good”
The longest running school name. It’s simple and inclusive, but altogether nondescript.
Ancient Greek for knowledge It was supposed to stand for Greater New Orleans School for Innovation Studies. Terrible name.
The Common School
Common Schools were really the first public schools. The term ‘common school’ was coined by Horace Mann, and refers to the fact that they were meant to serve individuals of all social classes and religions. Sounds great right? Let’s find out what we all have in common. Problem was that Common Schools were: 1) segregated by race, like everything else in those days, and 2) in some places were used to teach the King James Bible to Catholic Immigrants and Native Americans. That’s not great.
It started out as the name for this blog, but lots of folks loved it as the name for the school. I guess it’s okay, since it’s the chamber within which the foundation for bridges are laid, but it doesn’t change. It doesn’t improve over time, and it sure doesn’t sound like what’s coming next. Does it? Lot’s of people whom I respect like this name. I’m luke warm on it.
New names I’m exploring:
The Janus School
After the minor Roman God of doorways and transitions – Janus was always depicted looking into the past and the future simultaneously
Arete is an ancient greek word that has no direct translation into modern English. If ‘excellence/virtue/knowledge’ were one word, it would be Arete. Definition is awesome, right? There are two problems: 1) It’s difficult to say. It kind of sounds like ‘stop’ in French (not good for a Franco-file city), and 2) I want to get away from ‘Academy’. I would much rather use ‘school,’ and The Arete School doesn’t sound right.
I love this because it seems to capture the idea that this schol is a laboratory of sorts, always testing out new innovations. It also can be seen as a nice integration of classics & modernity (β as a Greek letter and to connote modern tech). Also, I think it could be cool to play with things like NOLAβ. I liked this one so much I, spent time creating a logo:
I don’t like it because I haven’t found a single mom who wants to send their child to ‘betaSchool’
City Community School
blah. generic. could be anywhere and mean just about anything.
Integ Schools (Integ Elementary, Integ Middle, Integ High)
I kind of like this one because Integ isn’t a word, but a root for many words connected to the mission of the school: integrity, integration, integers (math, science, stay with me), but I dislike it because it sounds like the company from Office Space. Heck – Integ sounds like the made up company name from just about every sitcom.
Humanities & Technology
dig it. simple and straightforward, yet contrasting.
Science & Letters
same as above.
The Faubourg School
Faubourg means ‘suburb’ in old French. Many of the neighborhoods in NOLA are called ‘faubourgs,’ meaning the name of this school would essentially be “The Neighborhood School.” It would immediately connote strong ties to New Orleans, but doesn’t quite get at the mission/vision I’m after.
As you can see, I still have a long way to go. I remember about a year and a half ago my friends Kate Mehok and Julie Lause were in this predicament and sent out an email to their contacts asking for suggestions. I suggested “Crescent City Schools” to them – I think a few others did, too. I wish I could have that one back.