April 24th, 2023
The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is excited to announce the new names of two of its elementary schools:
- Blue Heron Public School at 749 Grand Valley Drive in Cambridge
- Hillside Public School at 11 Chopin Drive in Kitchener
These names were approved by the WRDSB Board of Trustees on Monday, April 24, 2023. The names come into effect immediately, with signage and other school materials expected to be updated by September 2023.
About the Renaming Process
The school renaming process is a part of our commitment to making concrete changes in support of the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The WRDSB began the renaming process for both schools in early 2023. The work was led by School Renaming Committees, made up of trustees, school staff, board staff, parents & caregivers, students, community members, Indigenous community members and representatives from community organizations.
Following the WRDSB’s Board Policy 4020: Naming and Renaming of Board Facilities and Administrative Procedure 4865: Naming and Renaming of Board Facilities, the Committees asked the school communities for their name suggestions. Further consultation with the school community helped to identify the top choices to put forward to the board.
Based on community feedback, the names Blue Heron Public School and Hillside Public School were recommended to the Board of Trustees as the new names for each school.
Blue Heron Public School
In the first round of consultation, the Committee for 749 Grand Valley Drive in Cambridge received more than 34 suggestions. Over 90 per cent of the school community participated in the consultation process. Ultimately, Blue Heron Public School was the name selected by the Committee to put forward to the board for approval.
The Great Blue Heron holds significance to the school’s local community. A bird species native to the Grand River watershed, the Great Blue Heron is still thriving today, particularly in the section of the river that runs through Cambridge. The bird was once featured on the Welcome to Cambridge signs along Highway 401 and elsewhere at entry points to the city.
“It was great to see the school community and our neighbours come together to help us choose a name that pays tribute to nature and our town,” said James Moszcelt, Principal at Blue Heron Public School. “I am thankful to everyone who contributed their ideas and voices in this process.”
Hillside Public School
In the first round of public consultation, the Committee for 11 Chopin Drive in Kitchener received more than 82 suggestions. Over 60 per cent of the school community participated in the consultation process. Ultimately, Hillside Public School was the name selected by the Committee to put forward to the board for approval.
Hillside was the popular choice of the school community, especially among students. It represents the school’s location, combining “hill” with “side” from Ingleside. The name “Hillside” flows nicely, and honours the intent of the renaming policy.
“Throughout this process, I am grateful for the support we received from students, families and the community to come up with a new name that best reflects our school,” said Afrim Ficic, Principal at Hillside Public School. “Hillside reflects the natural landscape of our school, and through our consultation it was the clear choice for our community.”
Background on Renaming
In 2021, the Ad Hoc School Naming Review Committee engaged a researcher to conduct a literature review of all school names. The results of this review can be found here. From this review, three schools were selected for renaming. The WRDSB completed its renaming process for the first school in 2022, which is now known as Laurel Heights Secondary School.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the renaming process for both schools. As a school board committed to Truth and Reconciliation, the renaming of these two schools is an important part of our work to create safe, welcoming and inclusive learning spaces for all our students and staff.