AS#1 (Alternative School #1) is considering changing its name as a way to reposition itself within the Seattle Public Schools community. Many families of young students (K-3) feel like a new name would help breathe new energy into the school. It would allow us to distance ourselves from the inaccurate reputation that we are a "hippy" school that lets the children run wild or that we don't care about education. These families have chosen AS#1 despite the threat of closure and misrepresentation by the enrollment centers because it offers a dynamic learning environment that values each individual child in a small school environment
Others argue that the name AS#1 is historic - we are the first Alternative School in Seattle and we set off the chain of events that helped bring choice to Seattle schools - and the name should be preserved so the work we have done for the past 35 years is not lost. Many families have left over disagreements with the more structured and less democratic direction the new principal has taken the school. As a result of this loss of veteran families, burn out by families exhausted by the all-consuming task of fighting off multiple closure attempts, the loss of our website last year, and the retirement of many founding faculty, there is a disconnection between our current program and our history
The connotations of the word Alternative have changed since the early 1970's when AS#1 was founded. Back then it meant choice, a different way, out of the box thinking, a progressive option. Now, the word is associated with delinquent children, a place of last resort, and sub-par education.
Do you think its possible to bring back the luster to the word Alternative, or would AS#1 be better off finding a new name to represent its commitment to an education that is child-centered, experiential, authentic, equitable, and democratic?