BEST High School, Family Learning Center to be Renamed after Ralph Waldo Emerson

Schools, alternative campus to be named after Ralph Waldo Emerson

Several schools on the same campus in Kirkland, Wash., will change their names effective fall of 2012. BEST High School, an alternative School, and Family Learning Center (FLC), a parent partnership program, currently share a building. These two schools will be joined on the same campus by Northstar Middle School and the district’s Online Academy in the fall of 2012. After a process involving students, staff and parents, the campus itself and all of the schools except Northstar will be named after Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer and poet. Students cited Emerson’s championing of individualism as well as his ability to influence and inspire others as their reason for adopting his name.


The buildings and grounds will be named the Emerson Campus. BEST High School will be renamed Emerson High School and Family Learning Center will be renamed Emerson K-12. The Online Academy will be known as Emerson Online Academy. Northstar Middle School will retain its name.


The renaming was spurred by a vision of an alternative campus that began when FLC joined BEST High School at the same location. BEST was founded in 1968 on the Redmond High School campus and moved to its currently location at 10903 NE 53rd St. in Kirkland in 1999. Family Learning Center was established in 1995 and moved to the BEST campus in 2007.


“I believe that all kids can be successful somewhere in Lake Washington School District,” noted Dr. Chip Kimball, superintendent. “I expect the district’s online school to grow, providing one more alternative to those currently offered by BEST High School and Family Learning Center. Northstar, as a Choice middle school, is one more option. This collection of schools gives students and families more ways to find the best fit for their academic success. I asked the schools to think about this concept and come up with a new name that would communicate this idea.”


A committee made up of staff, students and parents from BEST and FLC took on this charge to communicate a new identity for alternative learning on their campus. They solicited suggestions for names from the campus community and narrowed the choices to the top 10. Possible choices were presented to the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods for feedback. A school wide vote narrowed the choices to the top three. The committee presented its recommendation to the Superintendent, who presented the final choice to the school board last night.