Grand Erie is launching the renaming process for Ryerson Heights Elementary School and is reaching out to the local school community and across the district for submissions for a new name.
“We’re committed to building a culture of learning, well-being, and belonging,” said JoAnna Roberto, Director of Education for Grand Erie. “As part of our vision and journey together to reconciliation, this is a teachable moment. We have the opportunity to understand history, recognize the importance of culture, and engage school and community voice in the process of renaming to create a safe and welcoming learning environment.”
Doug Ouellette, Principal at Ryerson Heights, added, “We’ve been finding ways to both make this a learning experience for our students, and also to build excitement about new beginnings for our school,” said Ouellette. “We’re looking forward to receiving lots of great ideas for a new name to make the final selection a difficult one.”
The board is asking for submissions through a form on its website up until January 17, 2022. The form asks for not just a new name suggestion, but also the reason why it’s a great choice for the school.
The committee responsible for the name change, chaired by Ouellette, will engage staff, students and the school community to help with selecting a new name from the submissions. Members of other relevant communities, including the Indigenous community, will also be consulted. The plan is to bring a recommendation to the Board in the spring of 2022, with an anticipated goal of having new signage and documentation in place for the start of the new school year in September 2022.
Ryerson Heights Elementary School was named after Egerton Ryerson, and first opened in the west Brantford area in 2006. It currently hosts 800 students and about 70 staff. Egerton Ryerson lived from 1803 to 1882 and was an influential historical figure and educator. His legacy, with respect to the establishment of the residential school system, is seen to be reprehensible through the devastating impact it has had on Indigenous people across Canada and in the communities Grand Erie serves.