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Pasco School Board to rename Hudson schools complex

Officials want to rebrand the schools to reflect a new approach to education.

Plans to improve academic offerings in northwest Pasco County have included program additions and major building renovations.

A new name to reflect the changing approach could soon become part of the effort.

On Tuesday, the Pasco School Board will consider renaming Northwest Elementary and Hudson Middle schools, which sit beside one another on a campus with Hudson High. The recommendation is to call them Hudson Primary Academy and Hudson Academy.

The high school would retain its current name.

Such a switch would fit neatly with the district’s vision for the complex, which includes adding advanced Cambridge curriculum for all students, board vice chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said.

“Also, it is needed to make sure the names reflect what the school really is,” Armstrong added.

Primary Academy will serve prekindergarten through third grade, shifting fourth and fifth grades to Hudson Academy. Previously, Northwest Elementary has housed kindergarten through fifth grade, and Hudson Middle provided sixth through eighth grades.

Armstrong said that adding prekindergarten to the mix of district programs for all Hudson families is critical to improving outcomes in the historically low-performing area.

“That is really where learning starts,” she said.

Local and state officials have placed increasing emphasis on early education initiatives, saying not enough children enter kindergarten ready to learn. The state has offered a prekindergarten program, mostly through private providers, for nearly two decades.

Board member Colleen Beaudoin said she supported the concept of rebranding the entire Hudson complex. She was hopeful people will come to view it as a place where a strong education and added social services are available, rather than being a site of low-performing schools.

The district has said it will work to establish a community partnership program in Hudson similar to the one at Gulfside Elementary in Holiday.

“People will be able to see the whole continuum of programs and services,” Beaudoin said.

Board member Megan Harding, who represents northwest Pasco, has been vocal in her support of improving education programs in Hudson.

“I am so excited to see this project come to fruition,” Harding said, adding that she would work to ensure that the promises made to the community are kept. “There will be so much opportunity in that area.”

She said she did not anticipate any pushback against the proposed name changes.

“It is the Hudson feeder patterns, so renaming it is something we should do,” Harding said.

The School Board will consider this item as part of its action agenda when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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