The Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to support a Saxman resolution calling for continued improvements in educational opportunities for Native students.
Lee Wallace of the Organized Village of Saxman spoke during public comment. He said there already has been some progress. For example, Wallace said that Fawn Mountain Elementary School officials have met with local Native leaders to talk about developing new before- and after-school programs.
“You have a real fine principal over at Fawn Mountain. He wants to go above and beyond what’s required,” Wallace said.
Wallace recently attended a National Indian Education Association meeting. He quoted one of the speakers.
“One of the keynote speakers was really passionate about what he had to import to the attendees of the meeting,” Wallace said. “He said, ‘Whether you’re an educator, a leader, a teacher or in this case a school board, it’s imperative that you be on fire for education. There’s no room to be lukewarm.’”
Wallace said progress will be made through cooperation. He acknowledged the frustrations that some parents of Native children might feel, but said that focusing on the negatives is not the way to move forward. Wallace also is a member of the district’s Indian Policies and Procedures committee.
During board discussion of the topic, Board Member Dave Timmerman moved to adopt a resolution in response to Saxman’s resolution. He and the board then agreed a resolution should come from the district’s Indian Policies and Procedures committee.
“I understand where the Native community is coming from,” he said. “I think that with this IPP committee and the possible Indian education committee that we’ll put together, may be attached to that. I think with the work that committee is going to do, we might be again be putting the cart before the horse if we were to make our own resolution.”
Board Member Misty Archibald suggested that the board amend the motion to instead vote to support Saxman’s resolution. That passed unanimously.
Also Wednesday, changing the structure of School Board meetings was a topic. The board agreed to consider a suggestion from Superintendent Robert Boyle that would maintain twice-monthly meetings. The change would be in the agendas for each of the meetings. Boyle suggests that the first meeting of each month be dedicated to business items. The second meeting then could have ample time for work sessions and presentations, plus any last-minute business items that might come up.
Boyle said he’ll work on some more concrete plans for board consideration.
The next regular School Board meeting is Nov. 14.