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Nickname Timeline of Events

On Thursday, November 17, 2022, every school district across New York State received a memo from the New York State Education Department and the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education. This memo is specific to school districts' use of Native American logos, mascots, imagery and names. The memo explicitly directs districts to commit to a process for replacing their Native American team name, logo, mascots and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year with all changes being made by June 2025. The memo also indicated that there would be forthcoming Regulations which will “clarify the school districts’ obligations.”

Since that time, we have taken a number of steps to respond to the Commissioner’s memo. This page is meant to provide updates to the community on our response to the memo and Regulations, as well as other important resources for understanding the required nickname change for Westhill. 

Check back regularly for updates to our process. Here is a timeline of events:
 
  • November 17, 2022: Received Initial Memo from Deputy Commissioner of Education
  • December 1, 2022: Received Proposed Addition of Regulation Prohibiting the Use of Indigenous Names, Mascots, and Logos by Public Schools. 
  • December through March: Westhill seeking guidance from NYSED on whether proposed Regulation applies to the district since the mascot was changed in 2002.
  • March 2022: Logo Audit- Walked all district properties to identify items with “Warriors” to gauge potential cost if we are required to make a change.
  • April 6, 2023:  NYSED approved the Regulation specific to usage of Indigenous Peoples names, symbols and mascots in the State of New York.  
  • April through May 2023: Westhill continues to seek clarification from NYSED as to whether the nickname “Warriors” with our Roman logo is part of the required change. Given the district’s efforts in 2002 to change the logo from a Native American Headdress to the current logo we are seeking an exemption from NYSED.
  • May 2, 2023: Parent Square communication from Superintendent Dunham was sent confirming that Westhill is required to make a nickname change.
  • May 2023: Superintendent Dunham connected with the Onondaga Nation to gain a better understanding of their perspective and to continue to explore an exemption from the State's resolution. 
  • May 2023: NYSED Publishes some background and an FAQ regarding Part 123 Regulations relating to prohibiting the use of Indigenous Names, Mascots and Logos by Public Schools. 
  • June 8, 2023: ParentSquare communication from Superintendent Dunham was sent with an update outlining the district’s plan in the renaming process to elicit feedback from stakeholders, particularly students and alumni. A second communication was sent later that day with some additional detail. 
  • June 12, 2023: The Westhill Board of Education passed a resolution committing to changing our school nickname (and logo if desired by the community) by the end of the 2024-2025 school year.
  • September, 13, 2023: A Nickname Stakeholder Committee survey was shared with students, staff and community members through ParentSquare. Click here to read the communication.
  • September 27, 2023: Initial Westhill Nickname Survey. (Survey open until 10/11/23)
  • October 2023: Nickname Stakeholder Committee was created which includes 30 individuals representing current students, alumni, staff members, parents and community members.
  • October 26, 2023: Nickname Stakeholder Committee met to begin working through the rebranding process.
  • December, 11, 2023: Superintendent Dunham presented the Brand Strategy for Westhill CSD to the Board of Education.
  • January 24, 2024: Nickname Stakeholder Committee met to review Brand Strategy and begin to evaluate nickname options.

 
Westhill School logo
Stephen R. Dunham, Superintendent
400 Walberta Road
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 426 - 3000