February 27, 2015

Aspen Community School decides against name change

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The Aspen Community School will keep its name of 40-plus years, school officials announced Wednesday.

The governing board of Compass, the nonprofit that runs the Aspen Community School, the Carbondale Community School and the Early Childhood Center preschool in Woody Creek, has decided to keep its focus on educational priorities for now.

In a letter to parents, staff and the school community Wednesday, Compass Executive Director Skye Skinner wrote that the notion of removing the word “Aspen” from the school’s name might leave the wrong impression.

“The Compass Board is proud of the association and relationship with the Aspen School District,” Skinner wrote. “Our affiliation has been long and strong, and we do not want to send any message to the contrary.”

The idea of changing the school’s name came up in the context of the school’s ongoing $13.1 million renovation, which will result in a new main classroom building and gymnasium on the mesa-top campus in Woody Creek. Those new buildings will open to the school’s 127 students in fall 2015, and some thought it might be time for a more geographically accurate label, such as “The Community School at Woody Creek.”

Names also were on board members’ minds because the Early Childhood Center, a Compass-operated preschool located down the hill from the Community School, has long been confused with the Early Learning Center in Aspen. That name change remains on the table, although no new preschool name has been chosen yet.

The new Community School main building and gym are up and out of the ground at this stage, but fundraising for a new campus continues in order to add a music and performing arts building, teacher housing and other campus elements.

Aspen Journalism’s education desk is collaborating with The Aspen Times on schools coverage. The Times published this story on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.

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