‘TRAILS Outdoor School’ and ‘Ashland Outdoor School’ were shortlisted by the committee and fully supported by the faculty, staff and students of John Muir Outdoor School
After months of deliberation and evaluating community suggestions, a committee responsible for recommending new names for the John Muir Outdoor School was due to speak with the Ashland School Board on Wednesday evening about their decisions. , pointing out at least one suggestion supported by the K-8 school.
“TRAILS Outdoor School” is JMOS’ “first choice,” its director, Jennifer Parks, said in a report released by the committee ahead of the 7 p.m. board meeting on Wednesday. “Ashland Outdoor School” is the second choice, but Parks said TRAILS, which stands for Trust, Respect, Awareness, Interdependence, Leadership, Stewardship, is the one his school passed on to the board.
“We are proud of the process to make this impactful decision and are excited to adopt our new name once the Board has made its decision whether this is our first or second choice,” said Parks said in the report.
Along with Ashland Outdoor School, TRAILS was one of four recommendations determined by the JMOS name change committee, along with Southern Oregon Outdoor School and River Crossing Outdoor School.
“We set out to not only find someone else in history to honor, but to identify a name that would honor the school’s past, present and future students, with its nature-based identity, and a name that would stand the tests and wear of time,” the committee wrote in its report.
It’s unclear if Wednesday’s board meeting would vote on a name, but at the very least the report needed to be discussed.
The school board voted last year to rename JMOS after another committee reviewed all building names in the district and recommended that Ashland K-8 School be renamed.
The committee found in its 2021 report that Muir — the co-founder of the Sierra Club and the person credited with creating the national park system — had “negative attitudes toward Native Americans and people of color.”
After the school board voted last year to rename JMOS, the district superintendent sent a letter asking families in the district for suggestions for new names. The name change committee, which worked from February to April, eliminated some of them from further consideration because they were deemed irrelevant to district or school values.
The committee used a rubric to score the batch of names under consideration and narrowed it down to the four aforementioned finalists before forwarding them to the JMOS community for review.
JMOS faculty, staff and students liked Ashland Outdoor School and TRAILS the most, ultimately feeling that TRAILS “resonates with and without the acronym”. Although the only pitfall noted by JMOS voters is that the name “could be perceived” as an “outdoor adventure school (similar to NOLS, formerly known as the National Outdoor Leadership School, or Outward Bound) “.
Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.