Alaska Quality Schools Coalition students to visit campus

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Although KPC is proud to be part of the University of Alaska Anchorage, there has been a major push to showcase the campus as a small college alternative to the major academic units in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. This is an especially important message to those students who come from rural areas of the state. Students who have lived their lives in small, tight-knit communities and villages typically can experience severe cultural shock when they relocate to large cities to continue their education. Because KPC can offer very small classes in a friendly, rural setting in the woods along the Kenai River, it makes for a much more conducive atmosphere for rural Alaskan students.

KPC is excited that a group of 13 sophomore, junior and senior high school students from six rural Alaska school districts will tour the campus Friday, and a second group will come Nov. 7. These students come from districts that are a part of the Alaska Quality Schools Coalition. The Alaska Quality Schools Coalition is a group of districts working in partnership with the Alaska Staff Development Network and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enable all students, regardless of their location, to meet high standards. Coalition districts have demonstrated a commitment to change through implementation of the Alaska Quality Schools Model. The model is closely aligned with the Alaska Quality Schools Initiative, the state's standards-based, systemic reform effort. The Alaska Quality Schools Model is based on the following elements: shared vision, leadership, standards, appropriate instructional strategies, assessments tied to standards, reporting student progress and sustainability-continuous improvement.

The students come from school districts throughout Alaska from places like Iliamna, Lake Clark, Whittier, Pilot Point, Bering Straits, Nome, Craig, Klawock and Hydaburg. Students who attend Cook Inlet Tribal Council schools also will participate.

The visit to the Kenai Peninsula is part of the Career Ex-Prep Program which offers information, resources and hands-on experience to help the students make informed career training choices. The program is underwritten by the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium (APICC) and co-sponsored by the Alaska Industry Skills Coalition made up of the Alaska High-Tech Council, I.T. Career Consortium, Alaska Hospitality Alliance, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, Associated General Contractors of Alaska and the Alaska Works Partner-ship. These groups all recognize that Alaska's workforce development is important for all industries to ensure they will have the workers they need in the future.

The student's visit to KPC is part of phase three of the program. It's an opportunity for teams of students, housed in a safe home-based environment, to explore jobs with businesses, then learn about the skills needed to perform those jobs. In addition to the time students will spend touring and learning about the skills they can develop at KPC, students will explore a variety of career clusters through local job shadowing that will provide a glimpse into what a future job might be like.

The Career ExPrep Program attempts to build on knowledge and skills students already possess. The additional information they receive from the program will increase career and life options and will result in a student who is more likely to be successful in the transition from high school to post-secondary education, whether it is academic or vocational. The end result of this approach is students who will be more employable and have greater personal, social and life skills. These students will be more confident, have higher self-esteem and hopefully be successful attaining their goals.

KPC applauds the efforts of the Alaska Quality Schools Coalition, APICC and the Alaska Industry Skills Coalition in bringing this program to the peninsula. The college is confident that these students can find the education and training they need right here at Kenai Peninsula College.

Who's Who

KPC's Who's Who highlights the faculty and staff who work hard to make KPC a college of first choice. This week KPC would like to introduce the fiscal technician.

Who: Victoria Steik

Time in Alaska: "I have been in Alaska for 31 years. I came because my husband was an Alaskan, born in Ninilchik."

Hobbies: "I love quilting, gardening and writing. I also am involved in community volunteer activities."

Memorable job prior to KPC: "My worst occupation was my first job. I was a telephone solicitor selling magazines over the telephone. My favorite occupation was working at the front desk at Land's End Resort Hotel. I had the chance to meet very interesting people and work in the most beautiful spot on the world."

Five years from now: "I'll be basking in the sun in Tuscany writing my memoirs just after publishing my Pulitzer Prize winning novel."

Favorite thing about KPC: "One of the things I like most about KPC is working in an academic environment that encourages me to continue learning. I really enjoy my wonderful co-workers and getting to know our amazing students."

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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