Ketchikan’s school board is scheduled to consider adopting its goals for the coming school year on Wednesday.
A draft of the priorities for the board outlines nine key points in three categories: instruction, trust and safety. Some of the goals are old standbys: improving test scores, bolstering staff and student morale, and making the school system better serve survivors of trauma.
But there are some new ones, too — for example, working with Ketchikan Indian Community to outline a process for Alaska Native language speakers to get special teaching credentials. The so-called Type M certifications allow people without bachelor’s degrees to teach classes in Native languages, military science or vocational and technical education. But they’re not available to just anyone — local school boards have to specially request them from the state on behalf of the teacher.
School Board Member Diane Gubatayao said at the board’s June 22 meeting that the board should work with Ketchikan Indian Community leaders to determine who should be certified.
“They’re the ones obviously best qualified to identify who they recognize as being knowledge bearers or being culture bearers,” she said.
Another proposed goal for the board is to “develop and adhere to specified fair hiring practices across district positions.”
“I want to see it in writing,” Board Member Bridget Mattson said at the last meeting. “If you’re applying in this district, you should know how the process is going to go, and that it’s going to go the same for you as it is going to go for somebody else.”
Other goals include a focus on reading at grade level by third grade, improving the district’s graduation rate, and implementing a data-driven approach to helping struggling students known as a multi-tiered system of supports, or MTSS. Board members are scheduled to finalize the goals on Wednesday.
In other business, a long-awaited new sound system for Ketchikan High School’s auditorium is on the docket this week. The board is scheduled to approve a roughly $385,000 contract with Palmer-based Sound Decisions LLC for the project. It’ll be funded with cash left over from a $5.5 million bond issued to upgrade schools in 2013.
The project also has to be approved by Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly. The borough pays for major school upgrades and maintenance.
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff building on First Avenue. Members of the public have a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is livestreamed on local cable channels and the borough’s website.