New Community School Needs a New Name

There’s a new school in the southeast corner of Littleton Public Schools! The new school, built as part of the voter-approved 2018 bond program, will bring surrounding neighborhoods together to form a new school community, and the new school needs a new name. Three student representatives who will attend the new elementary school(pictured), Reece Gordon (left), Noah Schissler (middle), and Meadow Herman (right) were at the Board of Education meeting last night to discuss the naming of the new school.

The top two contenders put forth for consideration are Justina Ford Elementary School and Katherine Johnson Elementary School.

Naming an LPS School

LPS Board of Education Policy FF states that district elementary schools need to be named after

  • American educators and authors.

  • Inspirational Coloradans.

  • People who have overcome significant challenges to reach significant goals/achievements.

  • People who have achieved great things.

  • People who have been influential and/or inspirational in their work with or for children.

In order to engage the new community, the new school’s website was set up to receive name suggestions from September 11–20, and Teresa Burden, the new elementary school’s principal, engaged the new school’s students, parents, staff, and community to provide feedback between September 20–October 7. On October 8, the three student representatives attended the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting to present the finalists and give the Board information on the process taken to select these two names.

New Name Submissions

Dr. Justina Ford (1871–1952) was the first licensed African-American female physician in Denver. She practiced gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics out of her home. She chose this location for her practice because she was barred from working in hospitals and from joining the Colorado Medical Association. By the end of her career, she was allowed to join the Colorado Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the Denver Medical Society. She was also allowed to work in Denver General Hospital. “Justina treated anyone who needed medical care, regardless of race, gender, language, citizenship, or ability to pay. Many of her patients were poor whites, African-Americans, and non-English speaking immigrants who were turned away from hospitals. Ford learned multiple languages to help treat her patients. Her patients paid her in goods, services, or money” (

Katherine Johnson (1918–2020) was an African-American NASA mathematician. Her contributions led first to an astronaut orbiting the Earth and then to the successful manned lunar mission in 1969. She was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later called NASA) when she was 35 as a “computer.” She wasn’t satisfied with just doing her job; she became the first woman to attend meetings, and ultimately she became a team member working on various projects for NASA. Katherine’s calculations for orbiting the Earth and landing on the moon are the ones NASA used for both those missions. (

Next Steps

The community is invited to virtually attend the Board of Education meeting on October 22, at which time the Board will officially name the new elementary school.