High School Name Change


QUESTIONS
Carrie Ardito
Director of Communications
651-403-7008 | carrie.ardito@isd197.org


 

School Board Approves High School Name Change at June 21 Meeting

At its June 21, 2021, meeting, the School District 197 School Board approved the change of Henry Sibley High School to Two Rivers High School. During the meeting, Daymond Dean, a community member and member of the High School Name Change Committee, provided the following information about the name Two Rivers HIgh School, which includes information provided by the committee:

The name Two Rivers is representative of the actual union of two rivers in the area. The archetype of the river is rebirth and renewal. The name reflects the submissions that referenced the confluence and had strong support from community feedback. Symbolic significance: suggests the theme of unity, and the merging of past and future ideas about our identity as a district community. It is because of the confluence of these two rivers and their navigability that this area was inhabited—first by the Dakota, and later by the traders, farmers and military that settled here.

The duality of our narratives and unification... The name Two Rivers High School reminds us that we must find a way to move with the current instead of fighting to stand still. There is no shame in renaming our school. There is pride in learning to gracefully move with the river of time as it flows ever onward.

The district has started the process of changing the high school name to Two Rivers High School.

 

Name Change Background

At its November 2, 2020 meeting, the School District 197 School Board approved the process for determining whether the name of Henry Sibley High School should be changed. The board applied the criteria established for selecting a new name as laid out in the quoted portion of policy 801.1.

Facilities names may reflect geographic locations, topographical character, or prominent persons of regional, state or national repute. When considering persons of regional, state or national repute, the following criteria will be considered: 1. Demonstrates good character 2. Has made significant contributions or achievements.

At the November 16, 2020, meeting, board members heard from Kevin Maijala and Dr. Kate Beane from the Minnesota Historical Society, and from the district’s American Indian Liaison Allicia Waukau Butler on the perspectives she gathered from School District 197's American Indian families and students.

The board asked that the topic be brought back to the December 7 meeting for a vote after the board had the opportunity to review and consider the information presented against the criteria quoted above (specifically whether Henry Sibley's actions relative to the Dakota people demonstrated good character).

On December 7, 2020, following a discussion where the board agreed that current name failed to meet the criteria established in Policy 801.1, the board unanimously voted that the high school name would be changed. The board directed the administration to develop a process for creating new high school name options for the board to consider.

Beginning in January and ending at the March 1 school board meeting, the school board discussed and approved the details of the process for considering new name options. It included the creation of a High School Name Committee, which would review ideas submitted from the community, present a winnowed list to the community for broad feedback, and use that feedback to bring 2-3 options to the board for final consideration. Through the Guiding Change Document (linked on the left side of this page), the board provided parameters for the name options. Some examples include the name options cannot violate district policy, cannot include the current school name, and cannot be the name of an individual. Furthermore, name options must be compatible with the current mascot and must avoid cultural appropriation.


 

High School Name Change Timeline

  • June 15, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
     
  • August 9, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
     
  • September 21, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
     
  • October 5, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Discussion Regarding Community Feedback and Request Regarding High School Name
     
  • October 19, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
     
  • November 2, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Proposed Process for the Consideration of a Name Change
     
  • November 16, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
    Board Agenda Item: Consideration of High School Name Change - Presentation by Minnesota Historical Society and American Indian Cultural Liaison
     
  • December 7, 2020 School Board Meeting
    Public Comment: Member(s) of the public addresses a name change for Henry Sibley High School
    Board Agenda Item: Approval of Resolution to Move Forward with the High School Name Change Process
     
  • January 19, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Discuss Proposed Name Change Process
     
  • February 1, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Proposed Guiding Change Document for Name Change Process
     
  • March 1, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Action Item - Approval of Guiding Change Document for Name Change Process
     
  • March 4, 2021 "District Seeks High School Name Committee Participants"
    District Update newsletter outlines committee participation and links to online application with April 2, 2021 application deadline. The deadline was extended to April 9, 2021. Applicants who were selected were notified April 15.
     
  • April 19, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Name Change Update
     
  • April 22, 2021: Meeting #1 of the High School Name Committee
     
  • May 13, 2021: Meeting #2 of the High School Name Committee
     
  • May 17, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Board Agenda Item: Name Change Committee Update
     
  • May 20, 2021: Meeting #3 of the High School Name Committee
     
  • May 25, 2021 High School Name Survey Postcard and Communication
    A postcard is mailed to all households in the school district, which outlines four ways in which community members can provide feedback on the names being considered by the High School Name Change Committee.
     
  • June 17, 2021: Meeting #4 of the High School Name Committee
     
  • June 21, 2021 School Board Meeting
    Name committee members to present name options to school board for consideration.

High School Name Change Resources