Two new members of Ketchikan’s school board and one returning incumbent will take their oaths of office Wednesday. Stephen Bradford, Nicole Anderson and Keenan Sanderson won three-year terms on the school board in local elections earlier this month. Immediately afterward, the school board is set to elect its president, vice president and clerk-treasurer.
They’ll get to work considering a change in the way the school district handles crisis intervention training. School district officials propose training at least one teacher or administrator from each school to serve as crisis intervention instructors for the rest of the school’s staff.
Historically, according to a memo attached to the school board agenda, the district trained just one or two employees as crisis intervention instructors for all school district employees. But district officials say that made it difficult to keep all staff current on the best ways to de-escalate tense situations and avoid violence.
The state-recommended training from the Wisconsin-based Crisis Prevention Institute is expected to cost about $26,000 for five district employees, including travel expenses. Purchases of $25,000 or more require a majority vote of the school board.
The school district is also set to consider a roughly $38,000 contract for behavioral health services for students with autism and developmental disabilities. The contract with Ketchikan-based licensed behavioral health analyst Stephanie Johnson is funded by an annual federal special education grant but requires board approval.
Finally, the board is set to approve its 2022-2023 school year calendar. The board did not make changes to a draft presented at its previous meeting. The school year would begin on August 25 and run through June 1.
The school board is not expected to make changes to the district’s COVID-19 plans — no changes to mask, visitor or quarantine policies are on the agenda. Superintendent Melissa Johnson says in a written report that school district officials will present the plan to new board members at its next meeting Nov. 10.
With COVID-19 cases stubbornly high in Ketchikan, the district has operated at its maximum risk level for all but one week of this school year. That means masks have been mandatory and school visitors have been limited, though the district relaxed some restrictions to allow spectators at sporting events. Johnson writes that the district is looking to stand up an optional COVID-19 testing program for students and staff, but the program has been delayed by what she calls “technical obstacles.”
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building on First Avenue. The full agenda is available online. The meeting is live-streamed at the borough’s website and broadcast on local cable channels. Members of the public have a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting.