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Posted on Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Community will choose top 10 names for unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run district

By Danielle Arndt

What's in a name?

The entire Ypsilanti community will have a chance to weigh in at two public meetings set to select the top 10 names for the unified school district.


Residents of the Ypsilanti community are welcome to attend one of two upcoming public forums to help determine the top-10 name choices for the community's new consolidated school district, opening in July.

Steve Pepple |

Community members have until Jan. 15 to make a suggestion of what to name the consolidated Ypsilanti-Willow Run school system, which officially exists starting July 1.

But even those residents who don't have any ideas about what to call the new school district can give feedback on other people's suggestions and take part in the historic process.

Public forums will be:

  • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the Ypsilanti High School Media Center, 2095 Packard St.
  • 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Willow Run Intermediate Learning Center, 235 Spencer Lane

Katherine Lawrence, a researcher with the University of Michigan, will facilitate the two forums. Lawrence has experience leading collaborative workshops and retreats on creativity and innovation, school officials said.

At the forums, the public will review and discuss all of the suggestions and come up with a list of the top 10 names.

The top-10 lists will be given to a board-appointed committee comprised of students, parents, alumni, business leaders and community members. This group will narrow the list of recommendations to the top three names, according to minutes from a Dec. 20 unified school board meeting.

Emma Jackson, communications director for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, said she's received three dozen emails from people who have submitted suggested names. Jackson said that doesn't include the amount that may have been submitted in drop boxes at schools and Ypsilanti District libraries.

Some names that have been suggested are Woodruff's Grove, Ypsilanti Unified, Ypsilanti Consolidated and Ypsilanti Community. Jackson said many of the suggestions have some sort of historical significance to the Ypsilanti area. Names involving "liberator" and "bomber," which are related to the history of the Willow Run community have also been submitted.

"I don't know if these names will resonate with the community at large, but there have been nods to both communities," Jackson said. "History seems to certainly be an important factor."

Jackson said the meetings will allow the community the chance to help determine whether the district should keep remnants of the current districts or start fresh.

"We appreciate the wide variety of suggestions that have already been received and would just encourage people to continue having conversations regarding the name," Jackson said.

The committee will vote on the best choice from those three names and make a final recommendation of one name to the full unified school board on Feb. 4 with a vote on the recommendation to follow.

Name suggestion boxes are out at every school building and Ypsilanti District Library branch locations. Names also can be submitted electronically by emailing

This phase of public input is for the new district's name only. Mascots will be discussed at a later date. However, the public can submit mascot ideas for later consideration, school officials said.

Ypsilanti reporter Katrease Stafford contributed to this report.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Ben Petiprin

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 8:04 a.m.

Could someone explain to me how Woodruff's Grove is a valid suggestion. Is it a reference to the hipster bar in Depot town? What does that have to do with anything?


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

No. Ypsilanti in 1824 was called Woodruffs Grove until something changed it to Ypsilanti. Willow Run became a school district because of the Willow Run factories and airport. This identified the area that the children lived in because the parents worked there. The first school is on Clark Road called YTRD. The rec center. Once the plants started closing the schools started loosing students and so forth.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Woodruff's Grove was the name of the area that is now called Ypsilanti before Ypsilanti was officially incorporated. However, I don't know if Woodruff's Grove also included the area that is now called Willow Run or not. Does anyone else know? If it did, then I think Woodruff's Grove would be a great name, at least for now, because it gets around the concern about whether it should be called the Ypsilanti-Willow Run distirct or the Willow Run-Ypsilanti district.

In doubt

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

Ypsi and Willow.........Run as fast as you can!


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:55 a.m.

New name 1. Ann Arbor School District. At the rate the DDA is sprawling it won't make any difference. 2. Lincoln Consolidated It will confuse the State government achievement gap architects as to where to bus the kids. 3. Beverly Hills PO BOX 48197-90210 Lots of donors and a graduate club elite.

Fresh Start

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Superior United School District


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

What about Ypsilanti Run??


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Since both Willow Run Schools and Ypsilanti Public Schools share Ypsilanti, MI for their mailing address why not simply things and call it Ypsilanti Consolidated School District.

Joe Kidd

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

I hope this quest does not cost them any money. How about Willow Run - Ypsilanti School District, in alphabetical order. Keeps it simple and no question where it is.

Dog Guy

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

More important is that all schools in the combined district name their teams "Eagles" so as not to offend the political correctness monitors.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.



Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

The search for Atlantis. Nice thought.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

When you tie 2 stones together they still don't float.

Dan r OBryan

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

two broke schools


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

I guess I am missing something. What is wrong with Ypsilanti-Willow Run Community Schools. Works for Plymouth-Canton Community School District.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

I know that. But if WR and Ypsi are going to have that on there then they should name the district the same thing. Although Ypsilanti Consolidated is something that I do concur with.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

JNS, busing is no longer run by the individual school districts. The WISD handles busing...that is the reason for Washtenaw Intermediate School District on the buses.

Joe Kidd

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

Probably because they won't be able to spend money on keeping it simple. I prefer alphabetical order so the kids won't be confused.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Nice thought. Then they would have to redo the buses they just did. Which does say on there Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Either way, this can get confusing.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Too much time is beng spent on the name issue right now. Really, I think the board should quickly decide on a temporary name and get on with the critical decisions. We've been told that this is our golden opportunity to rebuild the district from the ground up. So what is our vision for our new district? Decide what the vision is and then make the critical decisions to implement that vision. The ideal permanent name should refect that thinking.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Have to start at the top and work your way down. A fitting name would befit two districts that have no idea where to go but bottom up.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Or don't even worry about the name. As you stated, worry about philosophy and what they want in the new school district, what they want in a new superintendent, etc. And maybe telling the staff who work at these schools what their plans are for their jobs might also be a good idea.