(May 19, 2021) – After a multiple month effort led by Framingham Public School (FPS) students in partnership with community partners, the Framingham School Committee voted unanimously to rename Woodrow Wilson Elementary School as Harmony Grove Elementary School - A Global Academy. The new name will be celebrated at the end of this school year, with the new name to take effect at the start of the fall 2021 school year. Click here to read more about our school's new name on this newsletter.
WHY IS WOODROW WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHANGING ITS NAME THIS YEAR?
In 1928, the town of Framingham decided to name Woodrow Wilson Elementary School to honor the 28th President of the United States. For many years, there have been conversations and concerns within the Framingham community about why the school is named after President Woodrow Wilson. Although Woodrow Wilson was an important person in our country’s history, he is also well-known to have supported racist policies and segregation.
Several other schools around the country named Woodrow Wilson School have taken action to change their name, and this summer over 1,500 signatures were collected on a student-led, online petition to change the name of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Framingham. On October 1, 2020, the Framingham School Committee voted that this year we will change the name of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
ABOUT WOODROW WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School has been an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) World School since June 2015. It is one of four IB PYP schools in Massachusetts and part of a network of about 2,000 IB PYP schools in over 110 countries. IB PYP schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education. Learning experiences focus on the development of the whole child as an inquirer and a life-long learner. We value international-mindedness and students strive to demonstrate the IB Learner Profile every day. We offer 3 strands of general education and language development in Portuguese and English through Dual Language Education, Transitional Bilingual Education, and English Immersion with Portuguese as a World Language.
The Timeline to Rename the School
The Framingham School Committee will vote to approve the final name by the end of this school year, and it is important that the perspectives of students, staff, families, alumni, and members of the Framingham community are all considered in determining the best new name for Woodrow Wilson Elementary School- an IB World School.
Here is an overview of the timeline to rename the school this year:January
- Introduce the renaming initiative to Wilson staff and students.
- Provide students with history around President Woodrow Wilson, including his ties to racism.
- Raise awareness about the importance of supporting social justice and anti-racism.
- Students in grades K-2 explore biographies and stories connected to themes of social justice.
- Students in grades 3-5 begin brainstorming and researching possible school name ideas.
- Students in grades 3-5 continue researching and present their school name proposals to the school community.
- Students in grades K-2 create and present 3D school models decorated with pictures and words in English and Portuguese to describe their school and their name ideas.
- March 23rd AT 7PM: The Framingham Public Library, Framingham Public Schools, Framingham History Center, and Framingham State University will host a virtual presentation about the renaming of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. (See link below to RSVP for this event!)
- Name suggestions are collected from students, staff, families, alumni, and members of the Framingham community through a Google Form.
- Subcommittee of parents, students, and staff narrow down the final name choices for consideration based on the criteria.
- April 28th: School Committee Meeting (Chair Announcement on the Intent to Hold a Public Hearing on the Renaming of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School on May 5 (per Policy FF))
- May 5th: Public Hearing and Presentation of final name options at the School Committee Meeting (7pm)
- May 19th: The School Committee votes on the new school name (7pm)
- Celebration of the name change!
Criteria for Choosing a New Name
The school’s name SHOULD:
- Be a name that reflects essential beliefs of social justice
- Be a name that would lend prestige and status to the school
- Be a name that represents the school’s mission and values
- Inclusive practices & equitable access to education
- Core values of being safe, respectful, and responsible
- International Baccalaureate (IB) mission & philosophy of global awareness, international mindedness, student agency, transdisciplinary learning, multiculturalism and multilingualism
The school’s name CAN:
- Be a name with educational significance or inspiration
- Be named after a person who has made significant contribution to society
- Be named after a physical location or geographical area
- Be named after a distinguished local, state, national, or international leader
- Be named after a significant or pertinent historical event
- Be named after a significant or pertinent organization
The school’s name WON’T:
- Be named after any person currently employed by the City of Framingham
- Be named after any person or organization that has supported slavery, racism, or oppression of human rights
A Special Event - Looking Back, Moving Forward: Renaming the Woodrow Wilson School
On Tuesday, March 23rd from 7pm - 8:30pm, representatives from the Framingham Public Library, Framingham Public Schools, the Framingham History Center, and Framingham State University gathered for a collaborative presentation on the process. It's ok if you missed it - you can watch it here:
The presentation featured remarks from the following speakers:
- Superintendent of Framingham Public Schools, Dr. Robert Tremblay
- School Committee Member Liaisons to the Renaming Planning Committee
- School Leaders and Students from Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
- Lara Vilahomat, Head of Community and Outreach Experience at the Framingham Public Library
- Dr. Lori Gemeiner Bihler, Associate Professor of History at Framingham State University
- Laura Rankin, Assistant Director at the Framingham History Center
The live Zoom Webinar offered live interpretation in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as American Sign Language (ASL).