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MPS board approves name change for two district schools

Minneapolis' Sheridan and Jefferson schools say the new names — Las Estrellas and Ella Baker, respectively — better reflected their student populations and values.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Public School Board members approved name changes for two of the district's elementary schools, according to a district statement Tuesday night.

MPS says each school — Sheridan Dual Language Elementary and Jefferson Global Studies & Humanities — began their renaming processes in 2020. Task forces were assembled over the next two years, comprised of teachers, parents, administrators, staff and community members, who were tasked with finding new names that best reflected each school.

The district says after several meetings and surveys, "Las Estrellas" — meaning, "the stars" — was chosen to replace Northeast Minneapolis' Sheridan school. In the district's statement, principal of Sheridan School, Yajaira Guzman Carrero, said the students "strongly identify" with their current star mascot.

"We reach for the stars and encourage all members of our school community to see themselves in [a] supportive constellation filled with brilliance, passion, and vigor."

As for south Minneapolis' Jefferson school, it took a renaming team made of students and advisors to explore the reasoning and significance behind a potential switch, ultimately using ranked-choice voting to determine its new name, Ella Baker.

Principal Holly Kleppe said in the district statement that she was "grateful" the students were involved with the renaming process, and that Ella Baker — one of the most influential African American civil and human rights leaders and activists of the 20th century — represents "a large majority of our student population."

"For our students to be able to walk into a building named after someone who looks like them will help encourage them to be their whole selves and strive to be as influential as she was," Kleppe said.

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