Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools Superintendent Donna Peterson says the mutual goal of the school district and the community should be to create a literate, capable work force.
"It is our jobs to make sure that our students are competent, conscientious and good citizens," Peterson said, outlining the overall goal of borough schools.
Peterson spoke Wednesday at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon, presenting the "State of the School District" for the 2001-02 school year. She pointed to the reaction of the district to the Sept. 11 tragedies in New York and Washington as an example of how this goal has been met.
"Every single employee in this district put aside anything they had personally that they were dealing with and took care of the children," she said.
Peterson's presentation addressed what she deemed as the public's expectations of the district: keeping children safe, teaching them well, treating them with respect and making them feel special. Peterson said she wants schools to live up to these expectations because she believes they should apply to everyone and all situations. These expectations, she said, helped to form the long-range plans for the district.
"Those are universal truths," she said.
"How do we make sure that happens for children?"
Peterson pointed to more immediate goals and how the district was working to reach them. In her presentation, she said the district will work to help students achieve their highest personal potential and create schools where kids want to go.
Peterson's plan for achieving the district's immediate goals include active participation of the community, partnership with school programs she said would be mutually beneficial to the community and the schools, and investment of time, talent and money to contribute to broader learning.
Her plan called upon the aid of the community, in particular, the businesses that comprise the chamber of commerce.
"Please, if you have a special talent, share it with us," she said.
She invited members of the chamber to review and support the findings of the "A-Plus" study, statewide research that looked into resources for funding education.
Peterson identified avenues for meeting the public's expectations. These include maintaining accountability, ensuring the success of all students in the district regardless of their learning capacity or involvement in school activity, acknowledging alternatives to district-based education and working through the challenges of being a government entity.
She said she takes personal responsibility for making sure students leave school with the ability to work at the level that businesses require to succeed.
"It's my name on that diploma," she said.
"That guarantees that there will be standards being met."
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