Monday, March 27, 2017


DISCLAIMER:  This blog post is in no way advocating to abandon our school mascot from the Solon.  We are looking to update our Solon logo.  Please read the entire post so that you are informed in providing input as we consider feedback from our students, staff, parents, and community members.  Thank you!

What is a Solon  Last school year (2015-16) I had the pleasure of having Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval visit Carson Middle School to sign NV Senate Bill No. 504 into law in creating safe and respectful schools within the State of Nevada.  During the ceremony in our school gym I offered Governor Sandoval a "CMS Gold Coin" which is a token of appreciation given to our partners in education for helping to realize the vision of our school and in assisting our students in becoming future leaders.  The Governor quickly shared his personal coin with me as a sign of gratitude for inviting him into our school.  As we both inspected our newly minted coins, Governor Sandoval asked me, "What is a Solon?"   I replied to the Governor, "A Solon is a junior lawmaker.  With Carson High School being the Senators, Carson Junior High (as we were previously grades 7-9) adopted the mascot of the Solon to be junior senators."  Governor Sandoval and I had a good laugh about the mascot as he has been a lawmaker in several different incarnations as an attorney, assemblyman, commissioner, attorney general, judge and Governor but had never heard of a Solon.  "What is a Solon?," is a question that I get asked multiple times every year.  If you are a student, teacher, parent, alumni, or in any way connected to Carson Middle School you surely have been asked or have asked yourself what a Solon is.  Our school mascot is certainly unique!

The Carson Middle School staff met several times during the 2015-2016 school year to begin crafting a vision and belief statements to assist in guiding our school and clarifying our purpose as a learning community.  As part of developing a new school vision and beliefs for CMS I also implemented student focus groups for the first time since I have been the principal at CMS.  I met monthly with most of my student focus groups, some more than others, which were comprised of 10 to 15 students for each grade level (grades 6, 7, and 8).  I began each focus group with a series of questions aimed at gaining insight and perspective from our student population.  Some of the questions that I used were:

-If you had a friend or relative who was thinking about transferring to CMS, what would you want them to know about our school?
-What helps you learn at CMS?  What helps you be a successful student?
-Is there anything that makes it difficult for you to learn at CMS?
-How do you feel when you walk into your classrooms?
-Can you describe some specific things that teachers do to help you learn?
-Can you describe some specific things that teachers do that don't help you learn?
-How do you use student learning guides?
-What is a Solon?  How do you identify with being a Solon?

Guess what most of our discussions focused on?  "What is a Solon?  How do you identify with being a Solon?," was by far the most popular question that students wanted to talk about.  Not all of our focus group students wanted to talk about the other questions but once we started talking about being Solons, seemingly every student was engaged and contributing to the conversation.  Some students had heard that a Solon was a lawmaker, or a junior Senator.  One student mentioned that Solon was actually a Greek philosopher and lawmaker (which is correct also!!!).  We had many students that had no clue what a Solon was and others that answered the question on a deeper level (A Solon is a safe and respectful student).  Our student discussions were lively and interesting and at the end of it all the students had some very clear messages about being Solons.  To paraphrase the student responses:  1) We like being Solons because it is unique and has lots of history behind it in Carson City; 2) We think the current Solon mascot is lame and looks like something out of the civil war era or Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame); 3) Nobody really identifies with the Solon because nobody really knows what it is; 4) Since nobody knows what a Solon is maybe we can still be called "Solons" but use a different mascot that we identify with; 5) Since we use "Solon Pride" as a nickname, and a group of lions is a called a pride, maybe we can use a lion as a mascot, still be the Solons, and call ourselves the Solon Pride.  I thought this feedback was insightful and intriguing, however, being a Carson Junior High/Solon alumni myself I understand that there is some historical perspective that needs to be considered before just changing things.  Which is why I have created this blog post and (hopefully) spelled out what has led us to this point in the "Land of the Solon."

Based on our student focus group feedback I have been working with some graphic artists over the past several weeks to create some modern, updated logos.  The block C that we had been using for the past several years was not our personal property so it seemed a good time to design a custom block C for our school so that we were not infringing on any property that didn't belong to our school. 2nd DISCLAIMER:  I am in no way suggesting to our school/community that we abandon the Solon as a mascot, however, we are looking to update and modernize our logo/mascot.  I have attached several designs below, which are all now owned by Carson Middle School, as possible logo/mascot options.  The first two designs listed are the current "SOLON" mascots that have been in use since the 1970's (we believe).  Starting with the third picture below, you will see some of the new designs.  We have not started using the lion in any of our designs as we would like some input before arriving at a decision on the mascot.  Even if we do end up using the lion - we will still be called the Solons and will use Solon Pride as we currently are.  I have also included a link to a survey that will allow you to provide feedback on our school logo that will be used to direct our decisions moving forward.  Please take a moment to consider the design proposals that are included here (based on last year's student focus groups) and also to complete the survey (which includes options for additional considerations).  Thank you for taking a few moments to read this blog and to provide your input!  Regardless of our any changes in our logo, mascot, slogan, etc. one thing is certain....



Old CMS "SOLON" - circa 2000-2009

Old, Old CMS "SOLON" - circa 1970's/1980's
NEW BLOCK C (currently in use starting March, 2017)



New Logo/Block C - in use March, 2017




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