WHEREAS: The School Committee adopted the Innovation Agenda in 2011, establishing four new Upper Schools; and

WHEREAS: The Upper Schools were named after the streets on which they were located; and

WHEREAS: Community members have since learned that the namesake of the Vassal Lane Upper School, John Vassal Jr., enslaved multiple people on his Cambridge property and his family enslaved hundreds of individuals in the Jamaican sugar industry; and

WHEREAS: The horrors to which Vassal submitted human beings are incompatible with the Cambridge Public Schools’ mission, vision, and values; and

WHEREAS: CPS strives to educate our students in an anti-racist, liberatory manner; now therefore be it

RESOLVED: By December 31, 2022, the Superintendent will bring the Committee a proposal for a process to rename VLUS; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the process will list criteria for suggesting new school names, including honoring a Black Cantabrigian or multiple local Black leaders who contributed to the advancement of equitable education, civil rights, and/or the local community; and be it further

RESOLVED: While the School Committee retains the responsibility of naming schools, the Superintendent’s proposed process will include opportunities for students, families, educators, and community members to provide input on the new name; and be it further

RESOLVED: The School Committee will rename VLUS before the end of the 2022-23 school year.


School Committee Actions

Action Action Date Reconsidered By Referred to Subcommitee
10/18/2022 Adopted

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