School Committee Votes to Rename Vassal Lane Upper School

School Committee Votes to Rename Vassal Lane Upper School
Posted on 12/20/2023

Dear CPS Community:

As you may know, over the last several months, the Vassal Lane Upper School (VLUS) community has been engaged in a multi-step renaming process for the school. VLUS was named for the street on which it is located, Vassal Lane, which was named after a 1700’s slave owner named John Vassal. While we cannot change our country’s history, we can work to ensure that our future represents CPS’s values of equity, inclusion, and belonging and appropriately celebrates our diverse community.

Since February 2023, Vassal Lane students, staff, and families have:

  • Participated in collective learning about the history of John Vassal;
  • Explored the process of naming buildings, schools, and other structures;
  • Formed a subcommittee of VLUS students and staff members, which thoughtfully brainstormed a short list of potential new school names that reflect the school community’s desired characteristics; and
  • Invited members of the broader school community, including families, to review the subcommittee’s short list of names and the reasons for their inclusion.

In June 2023, students, staff, and Principal Daniel Coplon-Newfield presented their short list of school names as well as other details about their months-long work to the School Committee. Last night, after thoughtful conversations and public engagement, the School Committee voted to rename the school after Darby Vassall, who after securing his liberty from enslavement with the Vassall family, became a civil rights and educational justice leader.

As we have previously shared, construction is currently underway on a new, state-of-the-art building that will house the newly named Upper School, Tobin Montessori School, Department of Human Services Programs preschool and after school programs, and Special Start. The 359,100 square foot facility is expected to open in the fall of 2025. For a timeline of construction milestones, please visit our school website.

I am incredibly proud of the time, thought, and effort our VLUS community has put into this process. We look forward to officially celebrating the new name.


Dr. Victoria L. Greer

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