The new middle school scheduled to open for 2008-09 on Blackstone Camp Road now has a name.
The Columbia County school board agreed by a 4-1 vote Tuesday to call it Stallings Island Middle School. In the same motion, the board also agreed that the mascot will be the Red Hawks. Mike Sleeper cast the opposing vote.
The school name was chosen based in part after reviewing historical research that Superintendent Charles Nagle requested from Barry Paschal, The Columbia County News-Times' publisher.
The mascot was selected from a list of 18 suggestions submitted for consideration by the county's middle school principals.
Stallings Island is just below the Stevens Creek dam in the Savannah River.
The oldest civilization recorded in Columbia County was the Stallings Island culture, hunter-gatherers who built a series of shell mounds on Stallings Island near the school site.
A series of 20th-century archaeological studies, including a 1931 study by researchers from Harvard University's Peabody Museum, the Works Progress Administration in 1940 and the University of Florida in 1999, have attached significant historical importance to Stallings Island.
Pottery dating back more than 4,000 years has been found at Stallings Island. It is the oldest pottery that has been discovered in North America.
After being subjected to extensive looting by artifact hunters in the past century, Stallings Island is now a National Historic Landmark and is owned by the Archaeological Conservancy.
"It would always be a good teaching tool for that school, too," Nagle said of the name.
In other business, Deborah Franklin, the assistant superintendent of student learning, presented an update on the school system's Response To Intervention program.
This program identifies students who need extra help with reading.
Under the program, teachers provide additional instruction to these students and monitor their progress.
The model was introduced last year in kindergarten classes. This year the program includes kindergarten through sixth grades and ninth grade.
"Research says it takes three to five years to really have an effective RTI model," Franklin said.
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