The Identity Project: Renaming Our Schools
Semi-Finalist Names Announced for the Renaming of T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School
Through a robust community engagement process and vetted by the school board clerk and superintendent, the semi-finalist names for each school have been announced. With thousands of entries from students, families, staff, and community members, we have revealed the top names that had support in the polls, met the ACPS Board policies and were deemed suitable for naming a school.
Now is the time for all community members to give their voice to the name they want to see as the final selection in this process. The second set of community polls will be open from Fri., Feb. 5, 2021, and close on Feb. 19, 2021.
Take the Poll for T.C. Williams High School
Take the Poll for Matthew Maury Elementary School
Timeline to Rename T.C. Williams High School
and Matthew Maury Elementary School
February 19, 2021: Second poll closes
March 4, 2021: Top three names for each school presented to the School Board for consideration and final selection.
March 18, 2021: Public Hearing on name recommendations
April 8, 2021: Action Item: School Board votes on new names
July 1, 2021: Implementation of the new names
The Process of Choosing a New Name
About The Identity Project
Many ACPS schools were named during a time in our city and our country when vastly different attitudes and beliefs guided our decisions. In 2020, a spotlight has shone on the many inequities in today's society, and a new determination to right the wrongs of history has swept the nation. To that end, the School Board answered a call to look again at the morality of naming our city's only high school after Thomas Chambliss Williams, a staunch segregationist whose views could not have been more inconsistent with the vibrant, diverse and inclusive place we know today. As that process began, questions were raised about the name of Matthew Maury Elementary School. Was it right to immortalize a commander of the Confederate Navy even though he was also a celebrated oceanographer and astronomer? And so began The Identity Project, a wide-reaching community conversation that allows all voices to be heard as we look toward a more equitable future in Alexandria.
Today, ACPS proudly embraces students from more than 145 countries speaking 132 different languages. Changing a school name is a symbolic step. However, the ultimate goal puts racial equity at the heart of every decision that is made, as seen in our division's 2025 Strategic Plan: Equity for All. School Board Student Representative Lorraine Johnson said, "We hope that this will be the start of further discussions around how we can change our systems from within." Cost estimates to implement the name change at T.C. Williams total about $325,000, while cost estimates for Matthew Maury are just over $5,000.