Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2002

Peninsula needs more troopers, more engaging activities for teens

Lt. Tom Bowman said they only have two officers on duty at a time (Peninsula Clarion, May 20), sounds like the state needs to hire more troopers. Or have volunteer/reserve troopers. The peninsula has volunteer firefighters, why not troopers?

I grew up on the peninsula so I know how the kids feel, but my generation didn't tote around guns, and drugs weren't so widespread. I also think we as a community need to search out avenues for teens to do safely. Teen centers, dances, skate parks and other things that interest the younger generation need to be explored.

I also have a 13-year-old boy, and I do believe that it does start in the home. These days with single parents or parents who don't have time or the drive to be in their kids' lives, we need to look elsewhere.

John Landess


Shouldn't after-school programs be cut before in-school classes?

The community may not know this, but Kenai Middle School has lost its art teacher and associated program due to a teacher reduction in force (she was "pink-slipped" due to her nontenured status) for the next school year.

What puzzles me is this: How can the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District administration and school board cut a curricular (integral to the academic school day) program such as art, yet at the same time fund an extra-curricular (activities outside the normal school day) program such as KPBSD sports (to the tune of approximately $1 million for coaching salaries and travel)?

Research has indicated that a quality arts program in the schools can have a very positive effect on students. Below are just a few benefits:

1. Develops creative thinking.

2. Provides a means of self expression.

3. Serves as an emotional release.

4. Strengthens the self-concept and confidence.

5. Increases self-understanding.

6. Heightens aesthetic awareness and sensitivity.

7. Enhances ability to visualize.

8. Aids physical coordination.

9. Serves as a balance to other class activities.

10. Develops an appreciation for the individuality of others.

Obviously, there are many benefits to both team and individual sports as well, but it seems to me that if art is designated as a class within the regular school day (i.e., curricular), it should be funded before an after-school program such as sports.

Concerned parent, citizen and teacher,

Chris Schrier


Ulmer shows understanding of tough education issues

On April 27, Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer took valuable time to meet with teachers from the Kenai Peninsula to discuss key issues affecting

Alaska's children today and what she could do to assist in their education.

I had not had the pleasure of meeting her before, and I was immediately struck by her graciousness and kind nature; she was immensely attentive and listened carefully to our concerns. She was clearly aware of educators' dilemmas and addressed each one with informed, sincere answers.

Discussed were topics such as the state funding formula, high stakes testing, teacher shortages, standards-based curriculum and assessment, and other statewide issues.

She plainly has the children of our state in the forefront of her mind and is committed to making Alaska an even more dynamic place to live.

Shona DeVolld

BP Teacher of Excellence

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