New Columbia elementary school will be named after Eliot Battle

Feb 11, 2014

The Columbia school board revealed a name for one of the two new Columbia elementary schools after months of planning and consideration. 

With a unanimous vote, the board approved naming the school Eliot Battle Elementary School.  Set to open during the 2015-2016 school year, many residents and board members agreed with the board’s decision.

“I think it’s great that we named the elementary school after Dr. Battle," said John Whitt, Vice President of the board. "I think he’s very worthy.” 

Battle and his wife Muriel were well known throughout the Columbia community for their civil rights activism. The school will be built next to Muriel Battle High School and will be located on the corner of Scott Boulevard and Route KK.

The board also heard from a resident suggesting a new program focused on dual language. Living in Columbia for the past year and a half, Rebecca Schwerdtfeger said she realizes the school district values diversity and believes dual language stretches and challenges learners to become their very best selves. A former Spanish teacher, she said benefits of implementing a dual language program include helping with student problem solving, critical thinking, and even testing at or above their peers in all groups.

Board members said a dual language program for the district in coming years could be a possibility.

“I think anything we can do to add any educational level is great," said board President Christine King. "And the language piece… I mean I see it with my own kids. The earlier they started, the more they picked up on it. The issue always is what do you give up to make sure you get that.”

The next step will be for the board to decide whether to add the proposal to the agenda for the next board meeting.