By Kailey Fisicaro
Bend-La Pine Schools has named the two small high schools that will open in fall 2018.
Realms High School will be the new expeditionary learning-focused high school and use a nontraditional approach that emphasizes projects and real-world learning.
Skyline High School, dubbed a design thinking school, will cater to individual student interests and focus on interdisciplinary learning, internships and advanced credit options. At Skyline, students will be encouraged to develop real-world skills, such as grit, curiosity and problem-solving so they are ready after high school for careers or higher education.
The new school names were announced at the Bend-La Pine school board meeting Tuesday.
Two Bend-La Pine administrators will lead the schools. Roger White, the principal of the school that inspired his upcoming assignment — Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School, or REALMS — will lead the expeditionary learning high school. Mike Franklin, who has been an assistant principal at Mountain View High School for two years, will become principal of Skyline.
The naming process included several months of discussions with Bend-La Pine staff, as well as marketing experts, White said. But it was ultimately his office manager who pointed out an obvious fact about his future school.
“She said, ‘You know for the first couple years, people are going to be referring to it as Realms anyway,’” White said.
Keeping the Realms name also meant connecting the two schools in a concrete way, White said, which is fitting because the high school is meant to be a continuation of what takes place at the middle school. Neither the new Realms nor the middle school, will use the acronym in its name, White said.
“It’s kind of like the artist formerly known as Prince,” White said, chuckling.
The name Realms already has community recognition as a Bend-La Pine magnet school, without having to stand for something more, White said. School board member Peggy Kinkade agreed, calling the name Realms a brand in Central Oregon.
Other names considered included Reach and Rise, which would have been acronyms, White said.
For Skyline, administrators considered both place-based names and names related to the design thinking theme of the school, Franklin said. Other names considered were Innovation High, Horizon High and titles including Alpine or Aspen.
“Ultimately one of the big questions we’ve been thinking about as a design team is preparing for a future that we don’t know yet and can’t yet predict,” Franklin said.
The name Skyline conjures images of Bend, plus, “skylines can change as a community builds or depending on the time of year or weather,” Franklin said.
Neither of the high schools went through the school district’s traditional naming process for new schools, which generally includes a committee and public input. To name his new high school, White surveyed students, staff and parents at Realms, a community that will be tied to the high school. But that survey was not advertised by the school district.
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