Meeting brings state educators, issues to Soldotna

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

The parking lot at Skyview High School will be full again next week, even though school does not begin for three more weeks.

Starting Sunday, hundreds of teachers, principals and school district administrators will converge on the school south of Soldotna for the third annual Quality Schools Institute.

The institute is a chance for educators to help each other hash out how to make schools better in these demanding times.

"We believe the Quality Schools Institute, over the years, has proven to be one of the best things for our teachers. Having it in our back yard is great," said Donna Peterson, superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Peterson described the institute process as "a collaborative conversation."

She estimated that about 100 teachers and 19 principals from the peninsula district will attend.

The institute will begin Sunday, with a meeting for principals, and run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

About 300 participants from around Alaska are registered. The gathering will emphasize open-ended discussions and networking opportunities rather than a set schedule, but presenters and specialists will be present to work with educators, said organizer Kelly Tonsmeire, director of the Alaska Staff Development Network, which sponsors and organizes the institute.

The Alaska Staff Development Network is a statewide partnership, begun in 1983, that includes Alaska's 53 school districts, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, NEA-Alaska, the Alaska Council of School Administrators, Alaska's universities and colleges, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, as well as professional associations and corporate sponsors. Its headquarters is in Juneau.

The network's goal, according to its Web site, is to address the unique professional growth needs of Alaska's teachers and administrators by strengthening collaborative relationships among these groups. The network sponsors more than 200 face-to-face and distance learning training activities for about 5,000 Alaska educators each year.

Among the special guests expected to visit the institute are Rep. Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage, and Shirley Holloway, the Alaska Commissioner of Education and Early Development.

The Alaska Staff Development Network invited each district in the state to send a team of five people prepared to offer specific ways to help all students succeed and all schools to meet enhanced state quality schools standards. The team from the Kenai Peninsula will be Dorothy Gray, Gary Whiteley, Rick Matiya, Sam Stewart and Paula Christensen.



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