The Ketchikan School Board is expected to consider adopting its goals for the upcoming school year on Wednesday.
A draft of the board’s priorities presents nine key points in three categories: education, trust and safety. Some of the goals are old-fashioned: to improve test scores, boost staff and student morale, and ensure the school system better serves trauma survivors.
But there are also new ones — for example, working with the Ketchikan Indian community to define a process for Alaska Native language speakers to earn special teaching credentials. So-called Type M certifications allow people without a bachelor’s degree to teach courses in indigenous languages, military science, or vocational and technical education. But they’re not available to just anyone — local school boards must specifically request them from the state on behalf of the teacher.
School board member Diane Gubatayao said at the June 22 board meeting that the board should work with Ketchikan Indian community leaders to determine who should be certified.
“They are obviously best qualified to identify who they recognize as knowledge bearers or culture bearers,” she said.
Another proposed goal for the board is to “develop and adhere to specified fair hiring practices for all positions in the district.”
“I want to see it in writing,” board member Bridget Mattson said at the last meeting. “If you’re applying to this district, you need to know how the process is going to be and it’s going to be the same for you as it is for anyone else.”
Other goals include a focus on grade three reading, improving the district’s graduation rate, and implementing a data-driven approach to helping struggling students, known as the name tiered support system, or MTSS. Board members are due to finalize the goals on Wednesday.
In other business, a long-awaited new sound system for the auditorium at Ketchikan High School is on the schedule this week. The board must approve a contract worth about $385,000 with Palmer-based Sound Decisions LLC for the project. It will be funded with the remaining cash from a $5.5 million bond issued to upgrade schools in 2013.
The project must also be approved by the Borough of Ketchikan Assembly. The borough pays for major renovations and maintenance of the school.
The Ketchikan School Board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff building on First Avenue. Members of the public have the opportunity to intervene at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting is broadcast live on local cable channels and on the Borough’s website.