A Potential Name Change for NMSA
|National Middle School Association is considering a name change. Each month we'll feature updates about the work of NMSA's Task Force 2010, which is heading up the name change information gathering process.
September 2008 Update
NMSA is changing its name?
Quite possibly, yes. Over the years there has been much talk about the possibility and desirability of changing the association's name. In 2008, the NMSA Board of Trustees authorized a study that could possibly lead to a name change.
A quick history
National Middle School Association, both the association and its name, evolved from a group of United States university professors and researchers in the early 1970s. Their goal was to promote the understanding of the developmental changes taking place in young adolescents, and to reform the schools in which those students were being educated. Over the years, the board and leadership of NMSA have had discussions about how we help those we serve to continue to identify with and stay connected to us. At times, the discussions have revolved around the association's name.
In January 2007 NMSA's Visioning Task Force presented several recommendations for board consideration that the group believed would facilitate NMSA's future growth. One recommendation urged the board to initiate a process to change the name of the association. This multi-year process would have to involve all stakeholders and be done in a thoughtful, timely manner.
"National Middle School Association" has served us well for over 35 years. But our students, the schools, and the education world are changing, and we need to make sure that we have a name that will keep us moving forward for the next 25 years.
What's the process?
In the spring of 2008, President Theresa Hinkle appointed a task force, Task Force 2010 (the year a name change could possibly take affect). Pete Lorain, NMSA past-president, is chairing the task force. Members are Theresa Hinkle, Debra Melle, Len Ference, Ken McEwin, and Betty Edwards.
The task force is currently soliciting ideas and feedback from a variety of sources within NMSA. The solicitation will continue until the task force meets in December. At the December meeting, the task force will review, consider, and analyze the data that has been collected and make recommendations to the board of trustees. The board will consider the recommendations at its meeting in January 2009. The recommendations will likely include a new name and tagline for the association. Other recommendations will identify transition issues, tasks, and a timeline.
If the board accepts and adopts the recommendations the new name will require a constitutional election since the name of the association appears in the NMSA constitution. If the board approves, the proposed new name will be placed on the ballot in the spring 2009 election.
Will I be contacted?
Yes, in three ways. First, we are preparing an online membership survey and questionnaire, which will be sent to members in September or October. Your opinions and ideas are important to us.
Second, we will have several computer stations in the exhibit hall at the NMSA Annual Conference and Exhibit in Denver, Colorado, October 30–November 1, 2008. You will be able to access your e-mail, surf the net, and connect to the "change the name survey." There will be a survey for both members and non-members.
The third—and perhaps most important—way you will be contacted is when you get to vote in the 2009 election. This is when our members will make the final decision.
The task force and staff are working to identify the various implications of a name change. For instance, did you know that National Middle School Association is linked to more than 500 other Web sites? Should NMSA change its name, most of those Web sites will have to be contacted, asking them to update the link to our new name and Web site. This is just one of many transition considerations.
On the NMSA Web site, and in future editions of Middle E-Connections and other NMSA publications, we will have updates on this project. Stay tuned. We'll be in touch!