Between naming its three newest Horizon West-area schools and receiving national recognition for its music program, Orange County Public Schools ended the month of March with a bang.
On Tuesday, March 12, Orange County School Board members approved the official names for each of the three new schools set to open to students in District 4 this fall.
Additionally, on March 28, OCPS announced it has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation.
THE NAME GAME
During the Orange County School Board meeting Tuesday, March 12, members voted unanimously to approve each of the school names District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould chose from the suggestions.
Previously known as Site 25-E-SW-4, the elementary school at 9131 Taborfield Ave., Orlando, is now called Castleview Elementary. It will relieve Bay Lake and Sand Lake elementary schools. The name Castleview, which pays homage to the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, won over suggestions Lake Mabel Elementary and Seven Seas Elementary.
“I, too, love the name Castleview, and I think it is just a wonderful way to really honor some of the heritage in West Orange County that we have, especially because you can see (Disney) right from that school site,” Gould said.
Site 49-E-W-4, located at 16000 Water Spring Blvd., Winter Garden, is now Water Spring Elementary. It is named for the street on which it is located and won over the other suggestions of Horizon West Elementary and Storey Grove Elementary.
“With this one, I was kind of torn between Storey Grove and Water Spring, but we don’t have any Water Spring (around), and I think that’s kind of a cool name, and we have a lot of water in West Orange County,” Gould said. “I think a lot can be done with that name, too, with the kids — I think it could be very fun for them.”
The new middle school, Site 37-M-SW-4, is now Horizon West Middle School. It is located at 8200 Tattant Blvd., Windermere, and relieves Bridgewater Middle. The name prevailed over the other suggestions of Windermere Middle and Lakeside Village Middle.
“Here’s the challenge that I have for those of you who aren’t as familiar with our area,” Gould told meeting attendees. “It is located in the ZIP code of Windermere; it’s not located in the town of Windermere. We have Windermere Preparatory School, Windermere High School, Windermere Elementary. … I think there’s going to be some name confusion out there with so many Windermere schools. I’d like to see this school have a unique identity.
“I think Horizon West (Middle) is probably the best choice for this school at this point,” Gould said. “I think it truly is the best name that came out of them. They’re all great names, but I don’t want any more confusion between all of our various Windermere schools.”
OCPS’ designation as one of the best communities for music education comes from The NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,400 members around the world.
The foundation advances active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public-service programs.
The Best Communities for Music Education designation, now in its 20th year, is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to students.
To qualify, OCPS officials had to answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music-class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for its music programs. These responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“Music education is incredibly supported within Orange County Public Schools and throughout our community,” OCPS Senior Director for Fine Arts Curriculum Scott Evans said. “Coming on the heels of our West Orange High choral director, Dr. Jeffery Redding, earning the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year award, earning a second year in a row as one of the best communities in the nation is just more verification that our commitment to music and the arts is top-notch.”
According to OCPS, this designation recognizes that the district is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act. The ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children, OCPS stated.