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Design, name chosen for new school: A second-campus 'Laurel'

Original post made on Mar 12, 2014

A single two-story building housing 16 classrooms and larger spaces for music, science and arts instruction will be built on the Menlo Park City School District's "O'Connor" site in Menlo Park's Willows neighborhood -- a plan unanimously endorsed by the school board last month.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:43 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

And the Elliott Drive residents are already used to cars lined up blocking their access during the afternoon student pickup rush?

Posted by MPCSD Employee
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Who decided it would be a good idea for two schools in the district to have basically the same name? What are the secondary names going to be? Laurel A and Laurel B? Laurel Lower and Laurel Upper? Laurel Littler and Laurel Bigger? As an employee in the MPCSD, I really wish they'd considered the logistical nightmare it could be to have 2 schools with the same name.

Posted by Laurel
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm

All schools should be named Laurel. We should start collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to require voter approval for a school in the district to be named anything other that Laurel.

Posted by confusion
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 13, 2014 at 8:47 am

There's already a Laurel Street and a Laurel Avenue fairly close together. Why not just keep the O'Connor name and avoid confusion? I get that they want people to recognize that it's one school on two campuses, but that is a minor consideration that can be easily resolved.

Posted by Two Laurels?
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 13, 2014 at 11:15 am

Suggesting that two schools in the same district that are not next door to each other or across the street should share the same name is ridiculous, and does not instill confidence in the decision making ability of the School Board when it comes to more complicated matters.

Posted by Laurel Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 13, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I cannot agree more on the poor naming of this new school. There is already a Laurel Elementary School in San Mateo that we are constantly confused with and that has a San Mateo address! I will see who I can talk with to open this name up for another discussion. How complicated will this be for the UPS guy, choice lunch, district workers, etc.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"How complicated will this be for the UPS guy, choice lunch, district workers, etc. "

I don't know. Do most people get to a location by going to an address or a name? Last time I checked these schools were on different streets and in the case of the school in San Mateo, in a completely different town. How stupid are people if they can't discriminate between two different cities miles apart? Never mind, I already know the answer. The school board should reconsider the name of this school because the public is too stupid to be able to differentiate between the two.

Posted by C'mon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Just an ill conceived decision to go with exact same name. Perhaps just go with Laurel O'connor if important to keep same Laurel name. Best to just have a totally different name.

Best idea would have been to keep the old name or a new one honoring a teacher.

C'mon school board. Show some smarts. Admit the mistake and change it.

Posted by Nimby Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm

(Post removed. Please do not attack other posters.)

Posted by Groupthink
a resident of Laurel School
on Mar 14, 2014 at 6:47 am

I'd love to know how the Board concluded this would be a good idea. I'm guessing it was a series of compromises because there was no leadership or vision.

It's beyond stupid.

When the emergency happens, you can bet some of the fire and police personnel will show up at the wrong Laurel School.

With all the people in the community, words in the dictionary, and names of neighborhoods, heroes that could be honored ... they have to use the same name twice?

Planning on spending millions of tax payer dollars and they can't even come up with something original. What's so special about the name and idea of Laurel School that made them want to create a second one?

How disappointing.

Posted by calm yourselves, please
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2014 at 8:15 am

Groupthink, When "the emergency" happens, the Atherton PD will get the call if it's the K-2 school. The Menlo PD will get the call if it's the 3-5 school. They are located in two different towns.

Posted by Calm or in a Coma?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm

"Calm down" is the default answer these clones give to everyone who doesn't agree with them. If they tell you that both schools are really the same school even if they're located in two different cities, then it must be true. That's what comes of inbreeding. Let's pray that the office phones are on speed-dial to the correct police departments and the police have a computer locator. The rest of us will just have to figure it out for ourselves.

It's easy to come up with great ideas like this when no one in the room ever has a different point of view. It's only ridiculous to everyone else to name a new school the same thing as a pre-existing school two miles away.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Calm or in a coma:

The phones don't need to be on speed dial to the correct police departments. All they have to do is dial 911 and the call is routed to correct department. Or are you too "inbred" to know that?

Posted by Laurel Alum
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Menlo Park Fire includes both cities & Menlo Oaks too. Routing delays at dispatch can cost lives.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

The address the call is coming from comes up on the dispatchers screen including the city. Unless the dispatcher has the intellect of a carrot they're going to send fire to the correct address.

Posted by Another Questionable Decision by Our Board
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Laurel Alum, Excellent point; it could cause confusion for first responders even though the address comes up on the dispatcher’s screen. MPCSD serves many students with life-threatening medical conditions, such as epilepsy, heart conditions and significant allergies. Menlo Park Fire Department paramedics are the first to arrive when one of our most vulnerable children has a medical crisis at school.

Many districts have policies regarding naming schools to ensure that the names are not made on the whim of a particular school board. I didn’t see such a policy on the MPCSD website. In the absence of a policy, it would make sense to follow the tradition in which schools have historically been named in the district. In the MPCSD, schools have been named according to the street on which they are located. (Per the district website, the original Laurel School was located on Laurel Avenue; Hillview is located between Hillview and Elder; and Encinal and Oak Knoll are named for the streets where they are located). The new school could return to the original name, O’Connor (a street adjacent to the school), or it could be named Elliot School, the street where it will be located.

Naming the new school “Upper Laurel,” and renaming Laurel “Lower Laurel” will create problems for many years to come, and renaming Laurel is a waste of public funds. The belief that the new school will be a “second campus” of Laurel Elementary is foolhardy. Encinal School has never been considered to be a “second campus” of Laurel, and the new school will NOT function as a “second campus” of Laurel.

Using the reasoning of the board members; Hillview could be renamed to Upper Oak Knoll, Upper Encinal or Upper-Upper Laurel. Great idea! Let’s name all of the schools in the district Laurel.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


histrionic much?

Posted by Groupthink
a resident of Laurel School
on Mar 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm

What about the citizen who wants to report some sort of urgent situation - a crime in progress?

Dispatcher: Where are you?
Caller: I see a sign. I'm next to Laurel School.
Dispatcher: Which Laurel School? There are two of them.
Caller: I don't know. I'm not from this area.
Dispatcher: Can you describe something nearby or give or tell me the name of the street?
Caller: Well I see Coleman Av. Does that help?
Dispatcher: Not really. That street is close to both of the Laurel Schools.

I think we can do better ...

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 15, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


You're right. The public are a bunch of morons. We should make sure we dumb everything down so there's absolutely no possibility of one of these stupid idiots trying to report something to the police and not being able to correctly identify where they are. After all they're too stupid to know where they are, right?

Posted by MPCSD Employee
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Let's also think about 10-20 years in the future, when the school grade levels may be redistributed, as they have been in the past few years. Imagine that "Laurel Lower" is K-2 and "Laurel Upper" is 3-5. Well, if this distribution changes for some reason, where will that leave things? What if a school becomes a K-5 again, or a K-3 and 3-5? The Lower and Upper names would no longer be an accurate description.

Menlo Voter, you seem pretty upset that this decision would be questioned. Like you, I also don't think people are too stupid to figure this naming out. But, why complicate things by giving two schools in the district almost the same name? They are separate schools on separate campuses. They should each have their own distinct name. Not because people are stupid, but because naming two separate schools the same name doesn't make sense.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


I don't think naming the two schools is a very good idea. I also don't think it's a terrible idea. What I object to are the inane, hyperbolic and histrionic reasons people have come up with for why it's a "terrible" idea. Seriously, first responders are going to be too confused or too stupid to go to the correct location in an emergency? Really? Let's hear some legitimate concerns about the naming such as what you expressed not this other nonsense that smacks of someone desperate for some reason, any reason to object.

Posted by Cmon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm

M Voter: Please stop wasting your time. Of course there are some reasons that are not that critical. You can go on and on about those, as one can in many areas of decision making.

The point is that there is neither a real need to have the same name and there are some legit circumstances where confusion is either inconvenient or costly. Therefore, just change or modify the name. It makes things easier and we move on.

Your good thinking can be spent on other issues!

Posted by Tricia Barr
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I wasn't there for the School Board meeting this week, but I think having the campuses named as Laurel School is a good idea. Keys School in Palo Alto has this -- it's a single school located on two campuses. Web Link

Having a single name signifies cohesion to show that Laurel School is a K-5, even if it's across two campuses. I assume the thinking is there will be a single PTO across both, school events to take place across both, etc.

Posted by Learn from Experience
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm

A couple years ago, I had to go to Pinewood high school. I googled the address: Fremont Rd in Los Altos Hills. Years before, I had been to the elementary school, which is on Fremont Ave in Los Altos, and remembered another Pinewood campus on the same street, so I went there. Wrong. The elementary school and middle schools are there, but the high school is 15 minutes away. Granted, Pinewood is a private school, so one name makes sense, but when I got the high school (late), I met other parents (also late) who had made the same mistake.

It would be interesting to ask residents on Laurel Street/Place/Ave whether they have ever had visitors, deliveries, mail, etc. go to the wrong Laurel by mistake. I would guess the answer is yes.

While emergency responders may be able to pinpoint the location, how many visitors, delivery people, parents driving kids on the weekends for AYSO and Little League games,etc, are going to be confused, and possibly end up speeding by rushing to get to the proper location on time? Is the name Laurel really all that special? Isn't there another option that would sound nice and avoid all of these potential problems? Whatever the rationale was for choosing Laurel for the new campus, can it possibly outweigh the effects on the community in having to deal with the outcome?

MPCSD has bigger issues to deal with than this. The District should change the name and move on to other more weighty matters.

Posted by interested party
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 7:25 am

Did anyone read the full article? Here's what it says:
"The district is still deciding on secondary names for both schools to distinguish one from the other."

Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 18, 2014 at 8:07 am

SteveC is a registered user.

Read an article? Reading comprehension? Not as fun as nee jerk reactions

Posted by confusion
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

Until recently, Laurel and Encinal schools were essentially one school on two campuses. Kids went to Laurel K-2 and then moved to Encinal for 3-5. Everyone understood this. There was a joint PTA. It worked.

So they want to change the name of an existing campus to reflect cohesion and unity? How PC do we have to be? Is the district afraid that no one will want to go to the new school unless it has a familiar name? Actually, I think that's probably it -- this town's realtors are probably afraid that no one will want to buy a house in the O'Connor school area as O'Connor doesn't have a track record, ie no APIs, so important to anyone moving to a new home. Whereas if the school is called Laurel, then they can just market the existing test scores. That makes sense. It's lame, but it makes sense.

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