Several firsts are on tap for this school year. Three of the changes deal with schedules.
First and foremost, school starts on a Monday: Aug. 22 to be exact. Second, the schedule for the entire year is quite different than the routine of the past. Specifically, spring break will be one day longer and two weeks earlier than usual to accommodate the Arctic Winter Games March 3 through 10.
Also, graduations will not be held until after the 180-day school year is complete. If you are scheduling airline tickets for grandparents, check with your school. It is likely that graduation will be on either May 25 or 26.
While opinions may vary on the schedule changes, the thoughts regarding changes to the average pupil teacher ratio (PTR) within the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are all positive.
At kindergarten, which will be a full day in all schools this fall, the PTR is 20:1. At grades one through three, PTR is 22:1; grades four through six is 26:1. For middle and high school, the PTR is 23:1, but variances between class sizes are dependent on the class instructional delivery needs.
Other changes to all-Alaska public schools next year that may have large im-plications for those directly involved include: 1) Alaska Student Activities Association (ASAA) eligibility rule changes; 2) increased performance standards required to make Adequate Yearly Progress; and 3) increased requirements for teachers to be federally “highly qualified” in the subject matter they are teaching.
As parent and community expectations for student learning increase, rule and law changes will continue to regulate the business of education in new ways.
We’re excited about the changes in personnel at many of our schools.
Communities and staff were very involved in providing input to the administrative selection process last spring and early summer.
Twenty-three of our sites have a change in administration. Many of those changes are our current administrators in a different location.
This is the first time in the history of the district that all four central peninsula high schools have had a new lead administrator. A renewed sense of collaboration and communication between the schools will likely occur due to this change.
Additionally, several teaching and support positions will have new faces. We will miss our friends and colleagues who have moved on to other life endeavors but hope our new staff members feel a warm welcome.
Local professional development opportunities were widely available this summer and dozens of teachers took advantage of these. Work on differentiated in-struction, core subject area learning and nonfiction reading and writing were some of the offerings.
Several of our administrators also were involved in a national level week-long training in Homer in early summer regarding leadership. Ideas were traded, enthusiasm was generated, and achievements were celebrated.
As we start our year, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the fine students, parents and businesses that make great things happen in education here on the Kenai Peninsula.
We have a quality of life in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District that is unsurpassed and the continued investment in education is one of the great reasons why.
Thank you and join us whenever you can.
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