By Cody Mello-Klein | firstname.lastname@example.org
The National School Boards Association awarded Alexandria City Public Schools a Silver Prize in its Magna Awards program for the campaign to rename two schools in the 2020-21 school year. Known as The Identity Project, ACPS’ campaign resulted in renaming T.C. Williams High School as Alexandria City High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School as Naomi Brooks Elementary School.
ACPS was one of five schools in its category to be recognized with a Silver Prize for school district innovation and creativity in helping to increase student achievement, according to a news release.
After a robust community discussion had already developed around renaming, ACPS launched the Identity Project as a way to engage students and the community in the renaming process with the intent of replacing the names of both schools, which were linked to Alexandria’s racist past, according to the release. T.C. Williams was named for former superintendent and noted segregationist Thomas Chambliss Williams, while Matthew Maury’s namesake fought for the Confederacy. On April 8, 2021, the School Board voted to rename the former in honor of the city and the latter after a resident and former ACPS teacher. The new names took effect on July 1, 2021.