- Helms Middle School
Board Committee To Meet For Second Time Wednesday to Discuss Name Change For Juan Crespi Middle School.
On Wednesday, May 19, the West Contra Costa Board of Education Trustees voted 5-0 to establish a committee to explore changing the name of Juan Crespi Middle School. The Board appointed Trustee Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy as the chair and Trustee Jamela Smith-Folds as the remaining member. The Committee first met at 7 p.m., Monday, June 7 via Zoom.
The Committee will host a second meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16 via Zoom.
The meeting information is https://wccusd.zoom.us/j/92254293213 or by phone 669-900-6833, ID 92254293213#. The Wednesday, June 16 agenda can be found here. The June 7 agenda can be found here. The recording for the June 7 meeting can be found here.
Here is background on how Crespi arrived at the name change:
Community members led by Juan Crespi’s students, staff, and leadership from its African American Parent Advisory Committee (AAPAC) and Parent Club have requested that the Board consider renaming Juan Crespi Middle School to a name more reflective of its community and era. Crespi’s naming committee has narrowed the focus to two names:
- Betty Reid Soskin, in honor of the Rosie Riveter Park Ranger, the oldest living park ranger at 99 and a social and political activist.
- Chochenyo Middle School, in honor of the Ohlone tribe whose land the District currently inhabits
Motivated by social justice movements sparked during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Crespi community began examining what is possible for its students, staff, and community as we emerge from the 14-month pandemic. As part of that reflection, the Crespi community began examining its namesake, history, and impact on the current community. Crespi’s history department designed a research project designed to investigate and research Juan Crespi, the California Missions, and the impact on the indigenous people. Students shared their findings with “What is in a Name” research projects.
Board Policy 7310 governs the process for renaming a WCCUSD facility or section of a facility. That policy states:
The Governing Board shall use the following criteria in naming buildings, parts of buildings, or athletic fields in honor of the contributions of students, staff members, and community members. The criteria shall include:
1. Individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to the WCCUSD or the educational community; or
2. Individuals, living or deceased, who have made contributions of state, national or worldwide significance.
3. Recognition of the geographic areas in which the school or building is located.
4. No school facility will be given the name of a commercial development unless the name existed in the area prior to the development.
5. The renaming of existing schools or major facilities shall occur only under extraordinary circumstances and after thorough study.
The process for renaming begins with the appointment of two members of a Board subcommittee who will consider the name change after reviewing community input.