Hopewell, Walden will be newest school names

History won the day at the Park Hill board of education meeting last week, when the board selected names for the district’s newest schools.

The board voted at its Thursday, Feb. 26 meeting to name the new elementary and middle schools Hopewell and Walden, respectively.

Members of two committees made up of staff, students and administrators sorted through 744 school name suggestions in recent weeks, narrowing the field to the finalists the board heard earlier this month. 

The fourth district middle school, under construction off Northwood Avenue, will be named Walden Middle School. Walden refers to the township wherein the middle school will be located, but district officials also point out it could remind people of the book Walden, by transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau.

The district’s 11th elementary school, which will be located off Northwest 68th Street at Waukomis Drive, will be named Hopewell Elementary School. Hopewell is the collective name of several Native American cultures living along rivers in the Midwest from 200 BC to 500 AD. A 2,200 year old Hopewell Indian site is located at the Line Creek Archeological Museum and historical site off Waukomis, just east of the future school site.

The district is also working on plans for the future reconfiguration of its middle schools.

During its recent long-range planning effort, the board voted to eliminate the district’s current sixth grade center at Plaza Middle School. With the opening of Walden Middle School in August 2019, all Park Hill middle schools will teach sixth through eighth grades.

Director of secondary education Dr. Jaime Dial outlined the district’s plan for the transition, which includes the hiring of some new teachers and reassignment of others, as well as some redistricting.

The district also recently announced the retirement of Dr. Tim Todd, principal at Congress Middle School. Todd will retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Todd arrived at Park Hill to open Congress as principal in 1998.

He started his education career in 1988 as a teacher in Massachusetts. He also taught in Kansas City, Kan., before coming to Park Hill.