Naming of the Schools

In 1950, the district officially centralized and was named “Central School District No. 2, of the Towns of  Clifton Park, Halfmoon, Malta, Waterford, Ballston and Stillwater, County of Saratoga, New York.”

In 1951, district residents voted to purchase 160 acres and to build an 1,800 pupil school to house K-12. The area (now known as the campus) was part of the Shenendahowe (Iroquois for Great Plains) or Clifton Park Patent of 1708. There are many ways to spell Shenendehowa. See 

The Board of Education simplified the name and began referring to the district as Shenendehowa Central Schools (although the name would not be formally changed with the State Education Department until 1973).

Prior to 1968 the elementary schools were named Main Elementary, North Elementary and South Elementary. A committee was formed to develop a list of possible Native American names (research for possible Native American names). Based on recommendations from naming committees, the Board of Education voted to:

  • name the schools Arongen (Main), Karigon & Orenda (North), Skano & Tesago (South) in December 1968
  • name the two new elementary schools Okte and Chango in April 1972
  • rename the two middle schools (Middle A and Middle B) Koda and Gowana in September 1977 (students took survey to select the names).

The district then began the long tradition of naming our schools with Native American names. When naming a school, the district typically does extensive research and consults with Mohawk/Iroquois experts. The district then presents students with a selection of names and their meaning and students vote to select the name. Because this language was not a well documented, written language, the meaning of the names are typically “loose” interpretations.

Shenendehowa – the great plains

Acadia – place of plenty

Gowana – great

Koda – friend

Arongen – to understand

Shatekon – a balanced life

Chango – happy and cheerful

Okte – to achieve

Karigon – to join together

Orenda – great spirit

Skano – peace

Tesago – courage