Renfrew County District School Board Officially Announces New Name of JK-12 School in Barry’s Bay

Pembroke, ON – The Renfrew County District School Board’s (RCDSB) Board of Trustees is pleased to endorse the recommendation from the School Naming Committee, of the merged JK-12 school in Barry’s Bay, formerly Sherwood Public School and Madawaska Valley District High School, now officially named Madawaska Valley District School.

A well-attended, open to the public, information session was held in the library of the Barry’s Bay school on May 15, 2023. The rationale and process for merging and re-naming the two school entities that co-existed as two separate schools within the same building was outlined and community input was appreciated.

The process followed the RCDSB’s administrative procedure, AP 535 – Naming of Schools. A School Naming Committee was formed including students, families, staff, trustees, community members, and administration. Its initial meeting was held on June 6, 2023. A full list of committee members is available here. The roles and responsibilities of the committee were reviewed.

“The RCDSB Trustees, staff, students, families, and community members recognized
the importance of ensuring the new school name was community-led,” local trustee David Kaiser, who sat on the School Naming Committee shared. “The committee worked diligently to ensure that the new name best reflected the spirit of the public consultation in alignment with the RCDSB’s mission, vision, and values. This was a top priority for the group.”

The committee agreed to a timeline for public consultation with a promotional strategy targeted to students, families, and the community at large. Members of the community were invited to submit potential names along with a rationale. Submissions were accepted from October 10 to November 3, 2023.

The committee reviewed the input from the community consultation, with a total of 77
suggestions received. Responses demonstrated engagement from students (28.3%), staff (19.6%), families (23.9%), alumni (22.8%), and a noteworthy (5.4%) participation from community members.

“What was clear to the committee was the strong attachment to the name ‘Madawaska Valley’,” states Madawaska Valley District School Principal, Jennifer Schooley. “A majority of responses included ‘Madawaska Valley’ in one form or another in the proposed name.”

After a thorough process and deliberation, the School Naming Committee, introduced by Superintendent Renald Cousineau and represented by Principal Schooley, Vice Principal Good, and together with students from the committee, presented the recommendation to the Board at a January 16, 2024 Programs and Student Achievement Committee meeting. The recommended name presented was Madawaska Valley District School. The new name was made official at the January 30th Board Meeting. The rebranding process, including replacing existing signage will be ongoing.