Proposal would rename El Sobrante school after Betty Reid Soskin

Musical chronicling life of Betty Reid Soskin set for Bay Area debut
Betty Reid Soskin (Photo courtesy of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond)

Will Juan Crespi Middle School in El Sobrante be renamed after Betty Reid Soskin?

During a Zoom meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, a committee appointed by the West Contra Costa Board of Education will explore changing the name of the middle school at 1121 Allview Rd.

One proposal is to rename the school after Soskin, 99, the nationally-acclaimed Rosie the Riveter Park Ranger who is America’s oldest ranger as well as an author and civil rights activist.

A second proposal is to rename the school as Chochenyo Middle School, in honor of the Ohlone tribe whose land the District currently inhabits.

WCCUSD says the name change was requested by Crespi’s school community, including students, staff and leadership from its African American Parent Advisory Committee and Parent Club. They were motivated by social justice movements during the pandemic and began examining the school’s namesake. As part of the effort, the school’s history department designed a research project to “investigate and research Juan Crespi, the California Missions, and the impact on the indigenous people.” Students shared their findings with  “What is in a Name” research projects.

The Board subcommittee will consider the name change after reviewing community input.