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The process has begun for the two magnet schools in the Evanston/Skokie District 65 network of elementary and middle schools to be renamed as a result of their new focus and mission.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Experimental Laboratory School, at 2424 Lake St., would become the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School.

And the Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School, at 3701 Davis St., would be renamed the Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies.

The name change requests that the principals of the two schools presented to the District 65 board Monday night came about as the result of a special magnet schools study during the 2009-2010 school year that restructured the basic missions of the two schools.

The mission of King Lab became “ to provide all students, including those with special needs, a challenging educational program that focuses on the fine arts and emphasizes literature and writing.”

The Bessie Rhodes mission became “to educate and prepare all students to achieve todayand tomorrow in a global economy.”

Following its report and approval of its new missions, each school created a committee of community, staff, and students to recommend names that reflected the new missions of the two schools.

Board President Katie Bailey said the Board would take the next step in the process on April 8 by selecting committees at the two schools to consider other nominations and to make its final recommendations to the board.

In its discussion Monday night, Board member Jerome Summers said that while he was in favor of the name changes, he had some concerns about what would happen if the focus and mission of the schools were to change in later decades.

“Sometimes you become what you say you are,” was the response from Superintendent Hardy Murphy.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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