Superintendent contract extended

The Board of Education has completed its annual evaluation of Juneau’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bridget Weiss. The evaluation covers the period of July 2020 through June 2021. At a public meeting held on August 10, 2021, the Board approved the evaluation along with a contract extension to June 30, 2024.

The Board of Education evaluates the Superintendent’s performance annually to provide the District with the best possible leadership. As part of the process, the Board of Education invites and considers written feedback from staff and the community. The Board members review goals, meet personally with the Superintendent, and complete a formal evaluation. This year’s evaluation was completed during three executive sessions held during June 2021.

Board members commended Dr. Weiss for her leadership, dedication, and flexibility as she navigated the Juneau School District through the innumerable challenges that COVID-19 has presented. She demonstrated commitment to the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff, and the community.

Board President Elizabeth Siddon says, “The Board is grateful for Dr. Weiss’s leadership and for the incredible team of administrators and staff that steered us through this year. From the rapid response of the food service program at the very beginning of the pandemic to summer school planning and implementation, COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of the Juneau School District. Dr. Weiss has demonstrated balance and consistency in her leadership. She has been a fervent advocate for students and educators with a recognition of the many important community partnerships that support our schools .”

2021/2022 Superintendent Priorities:

The Board and Superintendent identified priorities for the 2021/2022 school year. The priorities are based on the current Strategic Plan for the District, with specific areas highlighted within Achievement, Equity, Relationships, and Partnerships. Two examples of priorities for the 2021/2022 school year include:

1. Increase the number of students reading at grade level by 3rd grade

2. Increase Kindergarten readiness through community partnerships supporting early education.

Dr. Weiss heads one of Juneau’s largest employers and the fifth-largest school district in Alaska. The Juneau School District has over 4,380 students from preschool through 12th grade and a full-time staff of about 685 employees. The District’s operating budget is $72 million. Dr. Weiss has been with the District since 2014, and in the role of Superintendent since August 2018.

Interim AP for TMHS

Juneau teacher Kelly Stewart was selected as Interim Assistant Principal for TMHS. An interview team considered candidates on Friday, June 18 and made the recommendation to Dr. Bridget Weiss. Steward succeeds Adriana Northcutt, who will be the principal at the Juneau Community Charter School next year.

Stewart has been a special education teacher for the Juneau School District since 2013, serving students with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities and health concerns. She came to Alaska from Arizona where she taught in Dysart School District in Surprise, Cartwright School District in Phoenix, as well as The EXCEL Group and Cornerstone Preschool in Yuma.

With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Stewart has expertise in Special Education, behavioral health, early childhood development, working with English as a Second Language students, and working in multicultural classroom settings. She has held a variety of leadership roles, including mentoring staff, supervising classified staff in a special education, participating on school and district leadership teams, and serving as President of the Juneau Education Association.

Stewart has a Master of Education, Educational Leadership from University of Alaska Southeast and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northern Arizona University.

Interim Principal chosen for TMHS

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that John Luhrs will be Interim Principal of Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS) for the 2021-22 school year. The position is vacant following the departure of Steve Morrow who was the principal during the 2020-21 school year. Luhrs will step into the leadership role at Juneau’s largest school for the start of the school year in August.

Superintendent Bridget Weiss is happy with the selection. “We are really looking forward to Mr. Luhrs joining our team and supporting Thunder Mountain High School,” says Dr. Weiss.

Luhrs has 40 years of experience in education, much of it in Alaska.  He began his career as a high school teacher in Worland, Wyoming and then moved to Ketchikan, Alaska. He progressed into school administration as Principal of Ketchikan Charter School and Valley Park Elementary. Luhrs then went on to be the Principal at Harold Kaveolook School in Kaktovik, Alaska.

Luhrs experience also includes administrative roles in Kansas as Principal of Trego Community High School, Cimarron Jr/Sr High School, and Perry – Lecompton High School. He returned to Alaska to serve as Interim Principal, Point Hope Tikigaq School and then Interim Human Resource Director for the North Slope Borough School District.

Luhrs already has ties to TMHS and is delighted to be joining the staff. “I'm excited to come to Juneau and work at Thunder Mountain High School where my daughter, Jenna, graduated.  I'm looking forward to being a part of the community and being near my children again,” he says.

Luhrs holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Nebraska and a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Education from University of Wyoming. His Master of Education, Education Administration is from the University of Wyoming.

New Principal for JCCS

The Juneau Community Charter School (JCCS) has selected Adriana Northcutt to be its next principal. JCCS is a kindergarten through eighth grade school in the Juneau School District (JSD) where students learn in multi-grade classrooms with small class sizes. It is a public charter school directed by an Academic Policy Committee (APC) of parents and teachers.

JSD Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss says she is pleased with the choice, “We are very excited to have Adriana join the Juneau Community Charter School in this new role!”

Northcutt is a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé graduate who joined the Juneau School District as a math & science teacher at Floyd Dryden Middle School in 2008. She is currently Assistant Principal at Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS). Prior to moving into school administration, she was a science & elective teacher at TMHS, teaching business, work readiness, Plato, biology, outdoor biology, and forensic science. Northcutt has a strong background in place-based, culturally relevant curriculum and has taught at a number of STEM camps in Southeast Alaska at all grade levels. She has also coached middle and high school volleyball.

“I am honored to join the JCCS family and to support their continued growth as a community!” Northcutt says. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the learners, staff, families, and APC to celebrate the successes and navigate the challenges together,” she adds, “The commitment of the JCCS community to meet the needs of all learners through creative and out-of-the-box thinking to provide effective and engaging learning opportunities is inspiring! I am humbled by their decision and can't wait to begin my journey with the JCCS learners, families, and staff!”

Northcutt holds a Masters of Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Bachelor of Science & Secondary Teaching from Montana State University. She will begin the new position at the start of the new school year in August.

Schools are opening four full days a week

We made it to April and things look great in our community! As we all start to emerge from this pandemic, increasing instruction time for our students and expanding in person attendance is an important step toward academic and social/emotional recovery.

On March 19, as staff and students headed to Spring Break, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated K–12 school guidance to reflect the latest science on physical distance between students in classrooms. CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least three feet (rather than six feet) in classroom settings.

CDC has updated its operational strategy to say that in elementary schools, all students should remain at least three feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate or high. As a result of this change in guidance, we are shifting our in person learning plan. One thing important to note is that while we are going to use three feet distancing as our guide, and rely on other mitigation measures as well, there are some occasions in the elementary classroom where students mingle in smaller groups or do activities that bring them closer together than 3 feet. Masks and maintaining a symptom free environment continue to be critical mitigation strategies that have proven effective in our schools.

CDC continues to recommend at least six feet of distance: between adults in the school and between adults and students; in common areas; when masks can’t be worn, such as when eating; during activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise; and, in community settings outside of the classroom.

We have worked hard all year to keep you abreast of changes with plenty of time to plan. The timing of this new CDC guidance and our amazing community status in “green” provide us the opportunity to expand and we don’t want to delay.

This week, now that principals and staff are back following spring break, the district has been planning for elementary students to be in person 4 FULL days. This shift is possible earlier than initially planned, so we understand that both schools and families will need to rearrange their schedules. Our elementary principals and teachers are busy preparing for the transition. Some schools will be prepared to make the change a little earlier than others. Some families will be able to make the change a little earlier as well, so we all will be flexible for the next few weeks. Distance learning will also continue to be available until the end of the school year for students who are not coming in person.

Starting Monday, April 5, the following elementary schools will be open for full day instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Auke Bay, Riverbend, Montessori Borealis, Juneau Community Charter School, Mendenhall River and Sayéik: Gastineau. Wednesday will continue to be an independent learning day as we make this shift to four full days.

Harborview Kindergarten and 1st grade students will start with four full days on Monday, April 5th. Updated school bus schedules are posted. Please communicate with your child’s teacher or principal if you have any questions or need extra time to adjust your family schedule. If you are a family in one of these schools and you aren’t ready to send your child full days, please contact your school. We can accommodate your child attending only 1/2 days next week as you had previously planned if needed.

Starting Monday, April 12, Harborview 2nd - 5th grade students, all Tlingit Culture Language and Literacy (TCLL) students, and Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ Glacier Valley will return to full day instruction.

Monday April 12, Middle School is going 4 full days from 2 and High School adds Mondays to in person attendance.

This is a quick change, but we are very excited to be making a move in this direction, increasing our in person learning time for kids!

New Leaders Chosen for Auke Bay and Harborview

The Juneau School District has completed a nationwide search for candidates for the principal positions at Auke Bay and Harborview Elementary Schools. Four finalists for each school were interviewed on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. An interview panel of representatives from the schools’ certificated staff and classified staff, district administration and the Site Councils conducted the interviews. Interviews were open to the public and written comments were shared with the interview committee.

The interview team recommended two local candidates to Superintendent Bridget Weiss: William Sarandria for Auke Bay Principal and Kelley Harvey for Harborview Principal. Dr. Weiss readily agreed with the committee’s selections. "We are delighted with the quality of candidates we had interested in taking on leadership roles in the Juneau School District. Both Mr. Sarandria and Ms. Harvey bring local context, a keen interest in serving students, families, and staff and a desire to support the recovery efforts ahead of us," she says.

Auke Bay Elementary School

William Sarandria begins his new role as Auke Bay Elementary School Principal in August 2021, succeeding Nancy Peel who is retiring after three years as principal of the school.

Sarandria is currently a Math and AVID teacher at Yaakoosgé Daakahídi High School in Juneau, where he has worked since 2015. He also serves the school as the Online Learning/Credit Recovery coordinator, Restorative Practice Coordinator and a member of the Tech Champ Committee.

Prior to joining the Juneau School District, Sarandria worked at the Bristol Bay Borough School in Naknek, Alaska. He was was a Physical Education and Health teacher, Math intervention teacher, Credit Recovery Coordinator, Work Placement Supervisor for Grades 11-12, and Assistant Girls' Varsity Basketball Coach.

Sarandria says, "I am humbled and honored by this opportunity. I look forward to working with the Auke Bay Elementary School community in providing a rich and engaging educational experience for all students and their families."

Sarandria holds a Master in Educational Leadership and Master in the Art of Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. He has a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science from CQUniversity, Australia.

Harborview Elementary School

The Juneau School District has selected Kelley Harvey as the principal for Harborview Elementary School. Harvey was raised in Juneau and has 22 years of teaching experience in the Juneau School District. She has a strong background in elementary reading instruction and the science of reading.

Harvey is currently a Title 1 Teacher at Harborview Elementary School. During her career she has held a leadership role in a number of elementary schools as an Instructional Coach for teachers at Harborview, Sayéik Gastineau and Riverbend. She taught students at Harborview, Riverbend and Mendenhall River Community School as a classroom teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, literacy leader, literacy specialist and reading coach.

Harvey is looking forward to next year. "I have taught at Harborview for the last 8 years and I am so excited to get to continue working with the students, families, and staff. This is an amazing community and I am truly honored to be given this opportunity," she says.

Harvey holds a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Bachelor of Arts in Reading with a Minor in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Washington University.

Harvey takes over the new role in August for the start of the 2021-22 school year. The position was open following the retirement of Molly Box who has been principal of the school for the past two years.

Principals appointed at Sayéik: Gastineau, Floyd Dryden

The Juneau School District (JSD) is pleased to announce that both of our Interim Principals for the 2020-21 school year, Stacy Diouf at Sayéik: Gastineau Community School and Kristy Germain at Floyd Dryden Middle School, will stay on as the permanent administrator of their school.

During this unique pandemic school year, both interim principals have worked effectively with their school communities to encourage student success and to support staff. As part of the appointment process, input from school staff was acquired through surveys. Positive feedback from staff at both schools confirmed strong support of their work, and was taken into consideration by Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss when making the appointments.

For Sayéik: Gastineau Community School, Dr. Weiss says, "We are excited to have Stacy Diouf continue in the principal role. Her long-time leadership experience in the Juneau School District is an asset for the continued work at Sayéik: Gastineau. Her team-oriented approach and great listening skills have been appreciated during her tenure as the Interim Principal."

Diouf is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and was Student Services Coordinator for JSD before being chosen as Interim Principal. She has 25 years of experience in education in Juneau, Seattle Public Schools and St. Luke’s School in Bronx, NY. She first joined JSD in 2001, as a special education teacher. Before becoming an administrator, she served as a special education support teacher, mentoring and training teachers across the district. She also worked as an Education Specialist at the State of Alaska developing a statewide training program for reading instruction. Diouf holds a Bachelor of Education in Special Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA and a Master of Special Education from the University of Oregon.

Diouf reflected on her experience saying, “Sayéik: Gastineau is an amazing school community and I am thrilled to continue to work with such an amazing team of educators, students, and families! I'd like to thank everyone for their support and teamwork during this most unusual school year!”

Of the Floyd Dryden Middle School appointment, Dr. Weiss says, "Kristy Germain has contributed much to the community of Juneau during her long tenure as an educator, both teacher and administrator. Her support of Floyd Dryden during this pandemic has been solid and supportive. I look forward to her ongoing leadership and support of the Floyd Dryden staff, students, and families."

Kristy Germain is also a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (JDHS) graduate. She joined the Juneau School District as a teacher at Floyd Dryden in 2003. Germain went on to teach at JDHS and became Assistant Principal at the school in 2013. She was Assistant Principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, before her selection as the Interim Principal at Floyd Dryden. Germain holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and minor in Political Science from Albertson College of Idaho.

Germain is looking forward to remaining in the position. “I am excited to continue working with the staff, students, and community of Floyd Dryden Middle School. I have appreciated the dedication and thoughtfulness of our community, and the willingness of our staff to work creatively to support our students this year,” she says.

New Director of Administrative Services

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Cassee Olin has been chosen as the next Director of Administrative Services. Olin will be responsible for managing the $90 million school district budget and overseeing the finance and payroll departments. She will direct a diverse collection of district wide programs such as pupil transportation, food service, information technology, RALLY child care, Community Schools, maintenance and facilities.

Olin is currently Business Manager for Sitka School District, where she has served since 2013. Prior to moving to Sitka, she was Director of Accounting for Kodiak Island Borough School District. She has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and is a well-respected leader and mentor in the area of school business in Alaska. Olin is a member and former president of Alaska Association of School Business Officials and belongs to the Alaska Council of School Administrators.

Superintendent Bridget Weiss says, "I could not be more excited to welcome Ms. Olin to the Juneau School District. She brings an incredible skill set and leadership experience that will benefit our work. I very much look forward to her joining our team."

A committee of representatives from the Juneau Education Association, Juneau School Administrators Association, City and Borough of Juneau and district office staff conducted a virtual interview with Olin on January 21.

“I am honored to join the Juneau School District as the Director of Administrative Services and look forward to working for the community of Juneau, Board of Education, Staff, and Superintendent who share a vision of maintaining the best possible educational program and environment for student learning,” says Olin. “I’m excited for our move to Juneau in the upcoming months and exploring the beautiful area of Juneau,” she added.

Olin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. She is completing her Master of Science in School Business Leadership from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She is a Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations by the Association of School Business Officials International.

Olin will officially join the district later this school year and be in place for the start of the new fiscal year in July.

New Student Services Director

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Shawn Arnold will be the next Director of Student Services. Arnold is currently the Superintendent of Valdez City Schools. In that role, he manages all district departments and personnel, including maintenance, travel, business, curriculum, and technology. His previous job was Superintendent and Special Education Director for Nome Public Schools.

The Juneau School District began the search for the vacant director position in December. The position oversees the Special Education Program, as well as other student-related services such as health services, counseling, students in transition, student safety and school climate.

During his career, Arnold has promoted excellence in students’ academic, social, personal, and emotional growth with a focus on special education students; at-risk populations; and students of various ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. He has created collaborative workplaces, leading peers by example and with ethics and integrity. He has a strong background in academic intervention systems and school improvement plans. Arnold also served 20 years in the United States Armed Forces with the Army and Air Force.

Dr. Bridget Weiss, Superintendent of the Juneau School District, says, “I am thrilled that someone of Shawn's caliber and experience sought out this Director position in the Juneau School District. His leadership experience and previous work in Special Education will add significant value to our current initiatives and strategic goals.”

Arnold started working in education in Alaska as a Secondary Special Education Teacher in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. He was also Principal at Mat-Su Day School and served as Coordinator of School Improvement and Assistant Director of Instruction for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Arnold says he looking forward to his move to Juneau, "I am excited to join the Juneau School District as I begin the next chapter of my career and look forward to bringing my experience, dedication, and passion working with students, parents, and staff.”

Arnold holds an Administrative License (Superintendent) and a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Alaska Southeast. His Administrative License (K-12 Principal) is from University of Alaska Anchorage. He has a Master of Education in Secondary Social Studies from Wayland Baptist University, a Master of Arts in History from Norwich University and Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He will officially start on July 1, for the new school year.

CBJ SUBSIDY FOR RALLY PROGRAM

The Juneau School District (JSD) and City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) are pleased to offer families a childcare option for full day K-5 RALLY programming while school is operating in distance learning.

As a result of the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBJ Assembly authorized emergency funding under Emergency Appropriation Resolution No. 2906 to support the full day K-5 RALLY Program operated by JSD. This grant is to be used to offset a portion of the monthly cost for RALLY. The resolution authorizes temporary funding through December 30, 2020.

CBJ Subsidy . a. All families with children enrolled in RALLY will have a net expense after the subsidy of no more than $515 per child per month. b. Families who receive child-care assistance through state, tribal or federal partners, are eligible for grant funding to cover the remaining expense ($515 minus the subsidy = remaining expense covered by grant). Families need to provide records of the subsidy received so that the remaining expense can be calculated. c. Families who are eligible for child-care assistance but have not completed the application process are eligible for a one time grant reducing the monthly payment per child by 50% (or $257.50 per child), to allow time for the application to be processed. Families need to provide application records or a certification that they have applied.

Enrollment Prioritization In order to assure that families with higher need have access to the K-5 RALLY program, enrollment priorities shall apply. Priority will be given to parents working during school hours to ensure that children are not left at home alone and parents are able to return to work. Each family will fill out an enrollment survey form as part of registration.  

Locations and Hours RALLY is currently operating at Harborview, Glacier Valley and Riverbend Elementary Schools; Monday through Friday from 7:30am – 5:30 pm. Enrollment will be continuous throughout the school year and will include most days school is not in session. Due to the nature of the coronavirus, RALLY will no longer be able to offer part time schedules to families. This is to insure the safety of each student cohort group.

Distance Learning Students will be grouped in small cohorts by age and will remain with their cohort at all times. Students will participate in virtual classroom meetings with their teachers during the RALLY day and will be given time to do classwork and homework. RALLY staff will supervise students during online learning and assist wherever possible.

FOOD Program at RALLY In coordination with Juneau School District Food Service Program, all students attending RALLY can receive free breakfast and lunch. RALLY also provides an afternoon snack.

COVID-19 Mitigation RALLY follows state and local requirements for providing a safe and comfortable environment for students. Each family is asked to follow screening procedures before entry into RALLY each day. Students are required to wear masks.

Registration For more details please refer to the RALLY contract, parent handbook and the RALLY calendar in the registration packet - click on the RALLY block on the homepage.

Please contact RALLY via email at rally@juneauschools.org if you have any questions.

Interim Principal Named for Sayéik: Gastineau

The Juneau School District (JSD) is pleased to announce that Stacy Diouf will be the Interim Principal of Sayéik: Gastineau Community School for the 2020-21 school year. The position is open following the resignation of Brenda Edwards, who has been the school principal since 2012.

Diouf is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and is currently a Student Services Coordinator for JSD. She has 25 years of experience in education in Juneau, Seattle Public Schools and St. Luke’s School in Bronx, NY. She first joined JSD in 2001, as a special education teacher. Before becoming an administrator, she served as a special education support teacher, mentoring and training teachers across the district. She also worked as an Education Specialist at the State of Alaska developing a statewide training program for reading instruction.

Diouf is looking forward to her new position. “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing staff and families at Sayéik: Gastineau! I look forward to building off the amazing work that Ms. Edwards and her staff have engaged in over the last eight years. Here's to a great school year!” she says.

During her tenure, Diouf has been a leader in providing high quality instruction using research-based practices in special education and implementing the district’s multi-tiered intervention system. She will begin her transition from the Student Services Department at the beginning of the school year and take over the principal position full time by late September. A search for a permanent principal for the school will take place in the spring.

Diouf holds a Bachelor of Education in Special Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA and a Master of Special Education from the University of Oregon.

BOARD COMPLETES SUPT EVALUATION

The Board of Education has completed its annual evaluation of Juneau’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bridget Weiss. At a public meeting held on July 14, 2020, the Board approved the evaluation along with a contract extension to June 30, 2023.

The Board of Education evaluates the Superintendent’s performance annually to provide the District with the best possible leadership. As part of the process, the Board of Education invites and considers written feedback from staff and the community. The Board members review goals, meet personally with the Superintendent, and complete a formal evaluation. This year’s evaluation was completed during three executive sessions held during May, June, and July 2020.

Board members are very pleased with Dr. Weiss’s performance this year. She has shown strong leadership during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The District also developed and adopted a five-year strategic plan with a refreshed mission statement: In Juneau, we partner to provide each student with meaningful, relevant, and rigorous learning experiences in order to graduate diverse, engaged citizens ready for a changing world.

Board President Brian Holst says, “The Board of Education feels that our schools are in excellent hands under the direction of Dr. Weiss and the capable team of administrators and staff she leads. She has demonstrated excellent communication and problem-solving skills during the ongoing COVID-19 disruption. Dr. Weiss’s collaborative approach has enabled us to put into place a new strategic plan and increased partnerships to achieve our goals for Juneau’s students.”

2020/2021 Superintendent Priorities:

The Board and Superintendent identified priorities for the 2020/2021 school year. The top three include: 1. Implement our new five-year strategic plan, 2. Manage the COVID-19 school re-opening and pandemic operations, and, 3. Continue to identify and address racial inequities in our schools.

Other priorities for this next year include: Increase the number of students reading at grade level by 3rd grade; Enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math integration throughout the District; Increase community education and outreach; Strengthen Tlingit Language/Culture Integration and Community Partnership; Increase Kindergarten readiness through community partnerships supporting early education; and, continue to ensure appropriate placement and support for students in Special Education programming. The Board and Administration understand that it is critical to engage meaningfully with students, staff, community members, and stakeholders to meet the needs of Juneau students.

Dr. Weiss heads one of Juneau’s largest employers and the fifth-largest school district in Alaska. The Juneau School District has over 4,600 students from preschool through 12th grade and a full-time staff of about 680 employees. The District’s operating budget is $71 million. Dr. Weiss has been with the District since 2014, and in the role of Superintendent since August 2018.

Nate Creel is JDHS Interim AP

The Juneau School District announces that Juneau teacher Nate Creel will be the Interim Assistant Principal of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (JDHS) for the 2020-2021 school year. Creel is currently a Thunder Mountain High School Special Education Teacher.

Creel is a graduate of Petersburg High School. He has experience as a special education teacher in several Alaska schools including Thunder Mountain High School, Romig Middle School in Anchorage and Homer High School. He was also a Varsity Basketball Coach in Homer. He started his teaching career at Lava Ridge Intermediate School in Santa Clara, UT.

JDHS Principal Paula Casperson says, “JDHS is excited to welcome Nate to our team. We believe that he has the right combination of a calm demeanor, a passion for public education and a high level of interest in learning the role and responsibilities of an administrator at the high school level. We can’t wait for him to meet our students as the new school year unfolds!”

Creel is eager to start the new job. “I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with Principal Casperson and join the JDHS Team. I’m really excited to start this new journey and I’m looking forward to beginning next school year in my new role,” he says.

Creel holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast. He has a Bachelor of Science from Southern Utah University with a certification in K-12 Special Education and 7-12 Physical Education and Coaching. He also has an Associate Degree from Dixie State College in St. George, Utah.

The assistant principal position at the school opened earlier this spring when Kim McNamara accepted a principal position in Vermont.

DHMS Molly Yerkes is AASSP Region 5 Principal of The Year!

Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Principal Molly Yerkes has been named Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals Region 5 Principal of The Year. Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School is a grade 6-8 school in the Juneau School District.

AASSP sponsors regional and statewide Principal of The Year recognition awards to honor the educational leaders who play such a pivotal role in student success. They may be nominated by anyone – students, staff, parents, district office staff or principal peers - with awards finalized by AASSP members in their region. Regional Principals of The Year are eligible to be in the running for the statewide Alaska Principal of The Year.

“In the thirteen years, I have worked with Ms. Yerkes she is always an advocate for her students to obtain a rigorous and meaningful educational experience. She achieves a careful balance between challenging expectations and fostering an environment where students love learning," says Yvonne Welch. "Not only is Ms. Yerkes exceptional working with students, families, staff members and community organizations during the school day, in addition she puts in the extra time to interact with students outside of school time. She can often be found in the evenings at volleyball games, wrestling tournaments, site council meetings, and school dances."

Kristy Germain, interim principal for Floyd Dryden, worked as Assistant Principal at DMHS and agrees.

"Ms. Yerkes is in classrooms much more than she is ever in her office. She knows students' needs because she has observed the students in the classroom, hallways, and lunchroom and has gotten to know them at more than a superficial level," says Germain.

Principal Yerkes has been with the Juneau School District for more than 20 years, half of those as principal at Dzantik'i Heeni. She holds a Masters in teaching, public administration and educational leadership from the University of Alaska and is fluent in Spanish. She was also tapped by Juneau Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss to take on the role of District Extended Learning Coordinator.

Principal Yerkes is a 2013 Millikan Educator Award recipient, a prestigious recognition honoring top educators from around the country.

"Quite honestly I really believe in public education and in equity and that it can open doors for every child," said Yerkes of the award.

Each AASSP 2020 Regional Principal of The Year will be awarded and recognized at the 54th Annual Alaska Principals' Conference, scheduled to be held in Anchorage October 24-26, 2020.

New JCCS Principal!

The Juneau Community Charter School (JCCS) has selected Eston Jennings to be its next principal. JCCS is a kindergarten through eighth grade school in the Juneau School District where students learn in multi-grade classrooms with small class sizes. It is a public charter school directed by an Academic Policy Committee of parents and teachers.

Jennings is currently Director of School Climate and Culture for Dillingham City Schools. She has 15 years of teaching experience. Prior to working in Alaska, Jennings was an instructional coach, administrator in special education, special education teacher and coordinator, and elementary and middle school gifted teacher in Georgia.

The Juneau School District began a nationwide search for candidates earlier this year. JCCS Academic Policy Committee members and district administrators interviewed candidates via video on May 13 and 14. The position is open following current principal Caron Smith’s retirement after leading the school for the past three years.

Jennings is enthusiastic about the new position. “I am honored to join the staff and families at JCCS. I could not imagine a more unique and collaborative community to work with in a beautiful city. The community voiced how much progress they have made with Caron Smith and I hope to carry on her hard work and legacy at JCCS,” she says. Describing her unique interview experience she reports, “Although our meetings were over video conferencing, the students, families, faculty and staff were able to impress upon me their care for one another, their pride in the school, and their creativity...which is not an easy task on video! I cannot wait to begin our work together. Moo (my Boston), my family, and I are thankful and excited for this opportunity and are looking forward to trying out the local seafood!”

JCCS APC President Britteny Cioni-Haywood adds, “The Juneau Community Charter School is delighted to welcome Ms. Eston Jennings to our community. She brings exceptional experience across a wide spectrum of K-8 learners in student discipline including restorative practices, social and emotional learning, and community engagement. It will be exciting to see where Eston and staff lead the school in the coming years.”

Jennings holds an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and in Special Education from University of West Georgia. She has a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia.

New DHMS Interim AP!

The Juneau School District announces that Juneau teacher Laura Scholes will be the Interim Assistant Principal of Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School (DHMS) for the 2020-2021 school year.

Scholes has eighteen years of experience teaching in the Juneau School District and the Mayatan Bilingual School in Honduras. Currently a 6th-grade math and science teacher at DHMS, she also taught at Floyd Dryden Middle School and was Interim Assistant Principal at Juneau-Douglas High School during the fall semester of the 2018-19 school year.

DHMS Principal Molly Yerkes is pleased with the selection, saying, “Laura Scholes' dedication to students, teachers, and the Juneau community made her an excellent choice for Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. We are very excited to have a leader with Laura Scholes' education, background, and experience joining our team!”

Scholes is looking forward to the new opportunity. “I’m thrilled to be in a position to serve the dedicated teachers, coaches, and para-professionals at Dzantik’i Heeni,” she says.

Scholes holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology from Western State College of Colorado.

She takes over from Kristy Germain, who is moving to Floyd Dryden Middle School as Interim Principal for the 2020-21 school year.

Congratulations 2020 Retirees! Thank you!!

Martin Messing, 36 years of service! Curtis Blackwell, 32 years Rhonda Larson, 30 years Cinda Stanek, 22 years Barbara Kelly, 20 years Samuel Villanueva, 17 years Shgen George, 15 years Christine Swanson, 14 years Richard Dutson, 13 years Ignacio Toribio, 11 years Daniel Larson, 10 years Deborah Johnson, 7 years Ann Lind, 5 years Caron Smith, 3 years

JSD Update: Graduation, End of Year, Summer, Fall 2020, Strategic Plan.
  1. Promotions/Graduations: Each level is working on a plan to celebrate their outgoing students. For the high schools we have a committee putting plans together that will be shared at the end of this week.

  2. Summer Programming: For now we do not have any summer plans for our regular education programs. If it looks like we can provide some sort of student support between end of year and beginning of year, we will do that. But for now we don't know if that will be possible. The Extended School Year (ESY) program for Special Education students will be scheduled using virtual scenarios and potentially some variations of what Special Education is doing now to meet the needs for ESY program support.

  3. Fall 2020 Planning: Given our current health conditions, Fall 2020 will likely not look the way we wish and would normally expect the start up of school to look.

I am facilitating a team to build scenarios that we can begin to plan around for the start of school. Following CDC guidelines, we will determine a continuum of operational designs. Those will be shared with you in early June while ultimate decisions on how the startup will look won’t be finalized until mid-July or so and will be shared as soon as we feel we have enough information to do so.

In addition, the start of the year creates new and different complications that we didn't have to deal with in March because we were already "on step" with class configurations, relationships with students and families, etc. The ramp up to a new start will give us the opportunity to think through a variety of new pieces to our puzzle.

  1. Food Service: We are delighted we were able to provide meals throughout the school “closure”. Due to many constraints with federal regulations, we will end our food service “grab n go” program on May 22nd. We are working with community agencies who will be working to provide for some needs during the summer. We will share that information once it is finalized.

  2. 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: Since last August, we have been working closely with the School Board to build our new Strategic Plan. And while we don't yet know exactly how our schools will look in August or how this experience may shape our work in the future, this plan is heavily based on the foundation of the vision the Board has for JSD. There have been many opportunities for input throughout the year and the input received has been used to frame up this plan. The plan is up for final approval in our board meeting next Tuesday. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

  3. Report Cards: High School and Middle School students will receive report cards as usual. High School and Middle School special education students will also receive progress reports as usual.

Elementary students will not receive report cards this trimester, as the last report card data entered was from the second trimester. Students receiving special education services at the elementary level also will not receive progress reports from their special education teacher. Teachers may be sharing summary information with you in communications other than through the report card format.

  1. Return of textbooks, chromebooks, pick up of student belongings: Each school has begun communicating their schedule for these tasks. Please be sure to be watching for details from your child’s school.
Apply to Optional Programs by April 24!

The Optional Program application period is open through April 24, so there is still time to apply. This process is for the Juneau Community Charter School, Montessori Borealis Public School and Tlingit Culture Language and Literacy program.

To apply online, please click on the Optional Programs block on the homepage.

Juneau Community Charter School (JCCS) JCCS is a K-8 public charter school within the Juneau School District. We are a small school with small class sizes; 23:1, where students, staff, and families get to know each other well.

We build a strong learning community with multi-grade classrooms, whole-school activities, project-based learning, frequent outings into the community and through restorative practices. Families are heavily involved in their child’s education both in the classroom and in governing our school.

Some of the unique characteristics you will find at JCCS: • Project-Based Learning • Collaboration among students of all ages • Involvement in and service to the larger Juneau community • Play, Exploration, Inquiry and Fun!

If you have any questions or would like additional information just email us at jccs@juneauschools.org We are happy to help! www.juneaucharterschool.org

Montessori Borealis Public School Montessori Borealis is an alternative school in the Juneau School District. It includes a Children’s House (preschool and kindergarten), an elementary program (1st through 6th grade) and a middle school program (7th and 8th grade) called Adolescent Montessori Program (AMP).

Maybe in this time of distance delivery you've noticed your child has thrived with given choices and more time to dive into something? That's one great thing about Montessori - students don't all do the same thing at the same time. We can personalize to their needs while maintaining a focus on the district standards.

Find about some key Montessori ideas and ask us some questions -- we can't invite you to come to our school building like we usually do, but join us for a Facebook Live question and answer session on Tuesday, April 21, at 7:30pm on our school Facebook page (here's the link!).

If you have questions, please email us at montessori@juneauschools.org or give us a call at 523-1848! https://mont.juneauschools.org/

Tlingit Culture Language & Literacy Tlingit Culture Language & Literacy (TCLL) is an optional program housed in Harborview Elementary school and operated in partnership with Sealaska Heritage Institute. It is a free program open to student of all races, nationalities and abilities. The program integrates Tlingit language and traditional knowledge into the daily instruction of the national standards. Program field trips and activities create a strong learning community creating future leaders and caretakers of the land. Daily Tlingit language instruction and fluent speakers in each classroom.

For more information call Harborview School at 523-1850

Online applications are due April 24, 2020 www.juneauschools.org

JSD Update: survey, graduation, personal belongings

April 16 - Thank you very much to the many of you who completed our recent survey. We had a terrific response and it will help us determine the best way to keep supporting you. Over 700 parents and guardians answered our questions! Next week I will share the results with you.

For now, know that we appreciate everything you are doing to help your student adjust to this new way of learning. Sometimes there are a lot of things to keep track of, so please remember to give yourself and your children a break when needed!

Now that the Governor has mandated schools stay closed for students for the remainder of the school year, we are coordinating end of year activities given our new limitations. COVID-19 Health Mandate 011 - Social Distancing is still in effect, which prohibits gathering for events. Each spring, our graduation ceremonies are a highlight. The Class of 2020 and their families deserve their time of recognition and celebration and we are working on plans to honor them. A task force is being created to plan a celebration, stay tuned—we will keep you updated.

When schools closed in March, many students did not have a chance to clean out their lockers, cubbies or desks. Over the next few weeks, staff will gather those things, label them and arrange for pick up. Watch for instructions from your child’s school regarding how and when you can pick up items. Any distribution will be done paying close attention to health standards and physical distancing.

If your student needs help connecting to online classes, there is updated information about Internet offers from GCI and ACS posted on www.juneauschools.org.

It is hard to believe that we are only in week three of distance education. We have all learned a lot - perhaps the most important thing is how much we can do when we work together! With your feedback and support, we will continue to refine our programs over the next five weeks and keep educating the students of Juneau.

Be well, Superintendent Weiss

Interim Principal Named for Floyd Dryden Middle School

The Juneau School District (JSD) announces that Kristy Germain has been chosen as the Interim Principal of Floyd Dryden Middle School for the 2020-21 school year. The position is open following the departure of Jim Thompson, who has accepted a principal position out of state after six years at the school.

Superintendent Bridget Weiss is working with the incoming and outgoing principals to support the transition in leadership between now and the fall. “We are pleased to have Kristy join the team at Floyd Dryden and look forward to her leadership in this new role," she reports.

Kristy Germain was born and raised in Juneau, and is a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (JDHS) graduate. She joined JSD as a teacher at Floyd Dryden in 2003. Germain went on to teach at JDHS before becoming Assistant Principal at the school in 2013. She is currently Assistant Principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, where she has served since 2014. Germain holds a Master of Educational Leadership and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and minor in Political Science from Albertson College of Idaho.

"I am excited to join the staff, students, and community of Floyd Dryden Middle School,” Germain says. “Working with middle school students has a special place in my heart, as they are really coming into their own during this time of their lives. I am happy to meet virtually with folks during this period of physical distancing and look forward to the day we can meet in person and start working together to support and enrich the lives of everyone at Floyd Dryden Middle School," she adds.

Germain will officially begin the new position in August, prior to the start of the school year. Consideration for the hiring of the permanent principal will begin in March 2021.

JSD Update: Food Service, Internet, Zoom, & Survey

April 7 - Our food service served over 16,000 meals in the first three weeks! We are excited to inform you that we are able to begin service meals for the weekends as well. That means that on Friday you will be able to pick up “grab and go” meals for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You could really help us by applying for Free and Reduced Lunch if you believe you are eligible and have not previously filled out the application.: https://www.schoolcafe.com/

Important Internet Access Information: For staff and student convenience we have increased the broadcasting power of our WiFi at the main entrances to all schools. Results may vary but outside the main entrances of all schools there should be a wifi signal broadcasting at least 20 ft outwards. This will allow access to the JSD network without entrance to our buildings. Remember to maintain physical distancing.

We have provided devices for many of you. We should be done deploying devices by the end of this week. Thank you for your patience as we worked to prepare devices. Over 1000 devices have been distributed.

Some of you may have heard some cautions regarding the use of the Zoom platform. We have been watching this closely and have evaluated Zoom's privacy and safety policies and procedures. We have determined that, when used correctly, Zoom is useful and an appropriate tool for education.

Zoom has a FERPA statement on record: https://zoom.us/docs/doc/FERPA%20Guide.pdf

Zoom' Education Privacy Policy: https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/childrens-privacy.html?zcid=1231
We have provided staff with guidance to ensure the proper use of Zoom as some of the concerns are avoided simply by how the Zoom platform is used. Zoom has been incredibly responsive to all concerns raised and has made changes quickly to resolve them.

On Friday of this week, you will receive a survey. We very much appreciate you completing the survey. This will help us to continue to meet your needs and shape our decisions on support structures as we move ahead.

In the coming weeks, we will be working on plans for transitional activities that we may not be able to do as we typically do like end of year celebrations, graduations, kindergarten registration, etc. So stay tuned as we work our way through the many questions we all have. Thank you very much for all you are doing to support your children.

In partnership, Superintendent Weiss

Juneau Hunker Down resolution

The Juneau Assembly adopted a resolution last night mandating people in the City and Borough of Juneau to hunker down. The Assembly’s intent is that “All People in the City and Borough of Juneau shall stay home as much as possible.”

Starting at 5 p.m. March 24, all Juneau residents are required to stay at home as much as possible, except to: · work in critical jobs (read the resolution to see the full list of critical jobs) · to buy, sell, or deliver groceries or other important goods such as those sold by critical businesses · to receive or provide health care · to get fresh air without contacting others

On the limited occasions when individuals leave home, they should maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any person outside their household whenever possible.

Individuals are also encouraged to: · practice recommended hygiene, including regular hand washing · monitor for symptoms · refrain from visiting residences or participating in gatherings · stay home when sick · quarantine if possibly exposed to the coronavirus · eliminate nonessential travel and trips to public places.

The resolution will remain in effect for fourteen days and automatically expire at 10 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

For more local news, information, and resources to help keep Juneau safe and healthy, go to juneau.org/covid-19.

Adriana Northcutt is new TMHS AP

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Adriana Northcutt will be the next Assistant Principal of Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS). Northcutt was one of four candidates interviewed on Friday, March 20, by a panel representing the school’s certified staff, classified staff, and district administration. Prior to the interviews, candidate resumes were shared with the school community and written public comments were collected for consideration during the committee’s deliberations.

Northcutt is a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé graduate who joined the Juneau School District as a math & science teacher at Floyd Dryden Middle School in 2008. She is currently a science & elective teacher at TMHS, teaching business, work readiness, Plato, biology, outdoor biology, and forensic science. Northcutt has a strong background in place-based, culturally relevant curriculum and has taught at a number of STEM camps in Southeast Alaska at all grade levels. She has also coached middle and high school volleyball.

Northcutt is excited about the school year. “I look forward to working with Principal Morrow and my TMHS family in this new role and am excited to support the continual growth of TMHS,” she says.

Incoming TMHS Principal Steve Morrow shares the enthusiasm. He says, "I am super excited to start my journey at Thunder Mountain High School with a veteran teacher who knows the lay of the land and will be a tremendous asset to myself and our staff. With all of the uncertainty going on in the world around us, it will be great to have a sure thing working side by side with me when I arrive. I can't wait to get there and get started!"

Northcutt is completing a Masters of Educational Leadership at the University of Alaska Southeast this summer and holds a Bachelor of Science & Secondary Teaching from Montana State University. She will begin the new position at the start of the new school year in August.

Click here for resume.

Schools stay closed through end of school year

What to Expect While teachers spent the week before spring break preparing to deliver instruction from home, there are still many details to work out. Our teachers and staff are doing an amazing job of transforming the way we teach our students in this quickly changing world. As schools put all the pieces in place to deliver instruction in a new way, please be patient and flexible.

Teachers will contact students at the beginning of the week to let them know what to expect. Some students will need access to technology, textbooks and lesson packets, so look for instructions from your school on how to get what you need.

Meal Distribution Food will continue to be served at schools on the same schedule for now. Any student can pick up breakfast and lunch at any school distribution site. A new waiver from the federal government allows parents to pick up food without students present so we hope that makes things easier for families. Sayéik: Gastineau 9-11am Cedar Park 11am- noon Glacier Valley, Harborview, Riverbend, DHMS, FDMS 9am - noon

We need your help to keep feeding Juneau students. Funding for meals is based on the number of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Price meals, so if your financial situation has changed during this crisis and you might now qualify for benefits, please apply online at https://www.schoolcafe.com/

Hunker Down We also need your help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The City and Borough of Juneau has issued a hunker down mandate for all people in Juneau to stay home as much as possible. This means that students can no longer gather in groups other than their household members, we must maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any person outside our household and we need to eliminate non essential travel and trips to public places.

In addition we all must continue to practice recommended healthy hygiene and hand washing, monitor for symptoms, refrain from visiting residences or participating in gatherings, stay home when sick, and quarantine if possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

As you have questions about your child’s education, please contact your teacher or your school next week. We will continue to answer phone messages, update websites and communicate with students and families as the closure continues.

New Maintenance Supervisor

JSD welcomes Dan Bryant as the new JSD Maintenance Supervisor. Bryant takes over for Curtis Blackwell, who is retiring at the end of April after many years of dedicated service to the district.

Bryant will be in Juneau in mid-April to have some crossover time with Blackwell. He will work remotely for the first two weeks. Bryant currently serves as the Facility Maintenance Supervisor at the Alaska Job Corps Center in Palmer.

Morrow to Lead Thunder Mountain High School

The Juneau School District has chosen Steve Morrow as the next Principal of Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS). Morrow replaces Principal Dan Larson, who is retiring after a decade of leadership at the school.

Morrow’s appointment follows a national search for a principal for Juneau’s largest school. He will make the move to Alaska from Whitewright, Texas where he is completing his fourth year as principal of Whitewright High School.

Morrow visited TMHS last week and met with students, staff and families. An interview panel including members of the school’s certificated staff and classified staff, district administration and Site Council, conducted the interviews and made a recommendation to the Superintendent, Dr. Bridget Weiss.

"We were fortunate to have a high quality pool to consider and we are excited to welcome Mr. Morrow to our administrative team." says Dr. Weiss.

Morrow has been in education since 2003, starting out as a high school social studies teacher and basketball coach. He moved into administration as an assistant principal and has been a high school principal for seven years. Morrow’s leadership experience also includes service as a teacher mentor, Social Studies Department chair and president of the local Association of Texas Professional Educators.

“It is with great excitement that I accept the position of Principal at Thunder Mountain High School! It has been a life-long dream to come to Alaska! The fact that I have the opportunity to experience Alaska for the first time in the role of serving others on my campus, and in my community, makes this even more special. I can’t wait to start my new adventure in Alaska this Summer! Go Falcons!” Morrow says.

Morrow holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Master in Education; Educational Administration from Lamar University. He will officially join the district this summer for the start of the new school year.

Click this block for Morrow's resume.

Alaska Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Mr. Ezra Benjamin Adasiak and Ms. Stella Tallmon will join Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Daniel Sullivan in representing Alaska in the nation’s capital during the 58th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 7 — 14, 2020. Ezra Adasiak of Fairbanks and Stella Tallmon of Juneau were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is "to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity - to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it.

The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

Ezra Adasiak, a junior at Austin E. Lathrop High School, serves as Student Body president and a representative to the Alaska Association of Student Governments. He has organized awareness campaigns about gun violence, natural resource issues and student health concerns. Ezra also fulfilled the role of president of his school's Gay Straight Alliance, and testified before the City Council about nondiscrimination policies. He hopes to translate his passion into societal change as a lawyer or an elected official.

Stella Tallmon, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, serves as the Associated Student Body parliamentarian. She has served her peers and community as class president, student representative, organizer and advocate, and is a member of the Model UN, National Honor Society, and several political action groups. Stella has testified before the state legislature numerous times and helped with school walkouts and rallies for gun violence prevention and climate action. She looks forward to serving as an elected representative in the state or federal government, or as a foreign service officer within the State Department.

Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Jakob Wade, a resident of North Pole, who attends North Pole High School and Keenan Miller, a resident of Juneau, who attends Thunder Mountain High School.

For more information please visit: www.ussenateyouth.org

Contact: Questions about your state’s delegates, alternates or state selection process: Dr. Bjorn Wolter at bjorn.wolter@alaska.gov or (907) 465-8696.

For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program: Program Director Ms. Rayne Guilford (800) 425-3632 or rguilford@hearstfdn.org.

SCHOOL BOARD COMPLETES SUPERINTENDENT’S EVALUATION

The Board of Education has completed its annual evaluation of Juneau’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bridget Weiss. At a public meeting held on September 10, 2019, the Board approved the evaluation along with a contract extension to June 30, 2022.

The Board of Education evaluates the superintendent’s performance annually in an effort to provide the district with the best possible leadership. As part of the process, the school board invites and considers written feedback from staff and the community. The board members review performance measures, meet personally with the Superintendent and complete a formal evaluation. This year’s evaluation was completed during three executive sessions held during August, 2019.

2019/2020 Superintendent Priorities: During the 2019/2020 school year, Dr. Weiss will work to further the district’s aim to ensure that students are prepared for, and knowledgeable of, career and life opportunities when they leave the Juneau School District (JSD). Some of the priority areas include:

  1. Increase the number of students reading at grade level by 3rd grade.
  2. Enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) integration throughout the District.
  3. Increase and improve high school offerings through collaboration between high schools.
  4. Strengthen Tlingit language/culture integration and community partnerships.
  5. Increase kindergarten readiness through community partnerships supporting early education.

To achieve our goals in this next year, the Board and Administration understands that it is critical to engage meaningfully with students, staff, community members and stakeholders to meet the needs of Juneau students.

School board members are pleased with Dr. Weiss’ performance and with the current direction of the school district. Board President Brian Holst says, “The Board of Education looks forward to pursuing these important priorities in partnership with Dr. Weiss, and in cooperation with our students, families, community members and partners. The dedication and commitment of our staff, combined with the educational leadership, experience and integrity of our Superintendent position us well for student success.”

Dr. Weiss heads one of Juneau’s largest employers and the fifth largest school district in Alaska. The Juneau School District has over 4,600 students from preschool through 12th grade and a full-time staff of 668 employees. The district’s annual budget is $87 million. Dr. Weiss has been with the district since 2014, and in the role of Superintendent since August 2018.

Bark for Schools FAQs

What is BARK for Schools? Bark’s flagship product helps parents monitor their children’s personal accounts. But in 2018, after the tragic Parkland shooting, Bark realized that they had the resources to provide the same service — in addition to others — to schools, and to do so in a way that keeps them from spending thousands of dollars each year to protect their students from the worst dangers of the online world. They developed Bark for Schools to give back to communities and to help keep children safe — at absolutely no cost to us. Bark now helps protect more than 1,200 school districts across the country — with dozens more joining every month.

Bark and the district are bound by Bark for Schools Terms of Service found here: https://www.bark.us/terms/Bark_School_Monitoring_Terms_of_Service.pdf

Does Bark for Schools monitor all devices connected to the network? If a student accesses their JSD google account on a home/personal computer or device, does BARK then have access to all content on that home/personal device? No, Bark for Schools only monitors Google Suite activity on district STUDENT accounts. Bark for Schools does not monitor any device data. Monitoring includes: Gmail, Gmail Chat, G Drive, and Google Docs. A complete list of monitored items can be found here:https://www.bark.us/schools

What is the school district’s motivation for using Bark? Schools are required by Board Policy and by Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to monitor student online activity on school district generated accounts. In addition to firewalls, screen monitoring software, and other network management tools, Bark for Schools adds an important layer to our student safety systems. The district is providing students with a digital education environment, and is obligated to monitor it like other school environments. There are incidents of unlawful or unsafe behavior in student accounts every year, and until now we had to rely on others to report it. A new level of safety is now available to the district through Bark for Schools. Students sign an annual internet use agreement that outlines they will not engage in harmful or illegal activities on our system. This tool helps monitors that agreement.

As of today, has BARK for Schools identified any threats, harassment, or self-harm events in JSD? Yes. In addition, there was a series of unlawful and unsafe information exchanges at the beginning of the school year which prompted the evaluation of our safety compliance and Bark for Schools was discovered as a viable solution.

What happens when an alert is generated by Bark for Schools? Who is notified when a student is 'flagged'? Content is flagged, not students. Alerts go to the School Principal and Assistant Principal, the student’s parent if they have opted in, Superintendent, Student Service Director, Chief of Staff, IT Officer, and Teaching and Learning Director.

The school administrator decides if the alert needs attention or not. If not, the alert is marked as “not helpful” to help train the system--we on occasion get alerts for “false positives”. The identification process usually takes seconds once the alert is opened by the administrator. No alerts are stored in the student’s records. Bark deletes data after 15 days. If a concern is evident, the student is contacted by the building administrator. If necessary, the standard student discipline process is followed. Appeals follow the normal complaint process.

How does the use of BARK for Schools comply with FERPA? Bark for Schools is a “school official” as defined by FERPA and subject to FERPA’s policies. So is Powerschool, the nurse software, the lunch software, and a dozen other products we use daily. Bark for Schools holds less vulnerable student/family data than several of our other programs. The only data they have is student names, student emails, parent emails and a short timed availability of Google Suite content from student district accounts. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), CIPA, and technical specifications were reviewed by the IT Department before opting in.

What alternatives were considered? Other companies such as Gaggle and AristotleK12 were considered over the past several years. The reason this product was chosen was cost (free). The district does not have the means to monitor manually, and issues were occuring on student accounts. Other similar products run $4-$7/student/year, or about $35,000 for the same type of service.

Is BARK a for-profit or a non-profit? Bark is a for-profit company. However, there is no cost to the school district for use of Bark for Schools--see the first entry in this FAQ. Examples of other for-profit companies that have district data are PowerSchool, Destiny (Library), Promero (Food Services), SNAP (Nurses), Blackboard (Notifications), Google Suite, Microsoft, Papercut (printing), and school photo vendors.

What are the assurances/claims provided by Bark for Schools of privacy? These can be found at: https://www.bark.us/privacy and in their Terms of Service. Bark is fully FERPA compliant.

How long are records kept on students, if at all? In Bark for Schools, student activity is kept for 15 days then purged.

How does the software actually do its work? Computer algorithms monitor student activity for key words and attempts to define context before issuing an alert. Details can be found at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/bark-assets/guides/AI_Data_Technology_BarkForSchools.pdf

How long does it take for the Bark for Schools algorithm to flag a student, and then to notify the District? Is this an effective timeline? Alerts go out between 2-8 hours of an incident. This is much faster than waiting for a student to come forward with a complaint or a parent to find unsafe activity and alert us.

Is Bark for Schools as secure as other district software products? In general, Bark for Schools is more secure than other software because it does not store our data for longer than 15 days and only accesses Google Suite data and guardian email addresses. Our other software systems (PowerSchool, etc.) contain more sensitive information.

Fundamentally, there is no difference between Bark for Schools and Google’s storage of our data. Both are bound by FERPA and CIPA regulations to not share our data and be monitorable. Both encrypt our data and provide protected backups. Both have signed the Student Privacy Pledge. Bark for Schools does differ in that they are just analyzing Google Suite content and then deletes our data every 15 days.

Can a student opt-out of Bark for Schools and still use the District Google Suite? No. Use of our district technology dictates our compliance with CIPA and JSD Board Policy.

Can a student opt-out of the District Google Suite? It is possible...Deactivating a student account has a cascading impact across services as we have interconnected systems. Wifi and printing will be disabled, access to various online curriculum will be suspended as well. This increases the workload of both the teacher and the student. The student will be reliant on personal technology. Functionally, the student will be in a separate learning model than the rest of their peers. Our learning environment for students relies heavily on this access to the digital environment.

What is the experience with other school districts using this service? About 1,200 school districts use Bark for Schools and there are many thousands of others using competing products. Testimonies from other school districts has been positive.

How/why are family emails shared with Bark for Schools? Parents can elect to receive a weekly email about their student’s school account and they can purchase a separate service to monitor their child’s personal account(s). Severe alerts that take place outside of the school day will generate an email to parents, alerts during the school day will not. Parents can unsubscribe from Bark for Schools emails at any time, regardless of enrollment status. Only the guardian email field taken from Powerschool was entered into Bark for Schools. No mailing addresses were shared.

What is the Bark revenue model? It looks like they make money by selling services to parents. How many Juneau parents have subscribed? Bark’s revenue is from the parent product used to monitor children’s personal accounts. Bark for Schools does not charge for monitoring district accounts. We have no way of knowing how many Juneau families are using Bark to monitor their child’s personal accounts, but 13% of district parents have signed up so far for Bark for Schools, the App that communicates alerts to parents regarding their child’s school accounts.

Does Bark for Schools use the data collected to sell to advertisers? No. Per the Bark for Schools Privacy Policy: “We will never sell or rent your Data to third parties or augment, extend or combine your Data with data received from third party sources. Your Data will never be publicly displayed in any way by Bark or any person or entity acting on Bark’s behalf.” NO student data or parent email/info/data is shared by Bark for Schools.

Principals announced for Harborview and Riverbend

The Juneau School District (JSD) is pleased to announce that Molly Box is the permanent principal of Harborview Elementary School and Elizabeth Pisel-Davis is permanent principal of Riverbend Elementary School.

The Juneau School District interviewed both candidates, who are serving as interim principals, for the permanent positions this week. Interview panels at each school, including members of the school’s certificated staff and classified staff, district administration and the Site Council, conducted the interviews and made recommendations to Superintendent Bridget Weiss.

Dr. Weiss is looking forward to the continued leadership of both principals. "We are very excited to have such talented administrators poised and ready to take on these leadership positions. They are great additions to our team," says Dr. Weiss.

Principal Molly Box stepped into the interim principal role at Harborview Elementary School following the retirement of Tom McKenna at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Previously a 4th/5th grade classroom teacher at the school, Box has almost thirty years of experience in elementary and middle school education in both Alaska and Nevada. She joined JSD in 1992. She taught at Riverbend Elementary School, Floyd Dryden Middle School and Harborview and was also as assistant principal at Floyd Dryden Middle School.

During her tenure, Box has been a leader in the Juneau Education Association and has participated in curriculum development in healthy life skills and math for the Juneau School District.

Box holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Montana State University and a Master in Education; Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast.

“I am thrilled to be able to continue as the principal at Harborview Elementary,” says Box, “I am so proud to be a part of our community of dedicated staff and supportive families. As I grow in this leadership position, I'm looking forward to continuing to build on our school-wide goals and initiatives.”

Principal Elizabeth Pisel-Davis was appointed interim principal of Riverbend Elementary School in March of 2019. She has been part of the Riverbend school community since 2016. Pisel-Davis has twenty years of experience teaching, leading, and supporting education at both the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) and JSD. She previously worked at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School and Harborview Elementary School.

Her education and knowledge about the school make her well suited to continue in this leadership role. “I'm honored to have the opportunity to continue my work alongside the teachers, students and families of the Riverbend community,” Pisel-Davis says.

Pisel-Davis holds a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and a Bachelor of Education, Elementary Education and Special Education from UAS. She also completed an Advanced Certificate, Devised Theatre and Performance at the London International School of Performing Arts, and Teaching the Gifted Child Endorsement at UAS.

Asbestos Management Plan Notice

This summer, the Juneau School District performed upgrades to the HVAC Controls in the classroom wing at the Marie Drake Building. Before the project began, it was necessary to complete asbestos abatement in the work area. The abatement has been done in accordance with all applicable State and Federal regulations as designed by a third-party certified and licensed environmental consultant. The work includes, but is not limited to, pre-abatement inspection, daily oversight, air sampling during asbestos removal, and final inspection and sampling at the completion of the project and asbestos removal activities.

Asbestos is an issue we have been dealing with for many years. Asbestos’ properties once made it an ideal building material for insulating, sound absorption, decorative plasters, fireproofing, and a variety of miscellaneous uses. However, due to health risks, most uses of asbestos in building materials was banned in 1978. Intact and undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health hazard. However, asbestos materials can be a concern if they are damaged, deteriorate over time or are otherwise disturbed, as fibers can be released.

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 (referred to as AHERA), was enacted to determine the extent of, and develop solutions for, any problems schools may have with asbestos. Each time asbestos is removed in schools and educational workplaces as part of the range of maintenance, refurbishment, and building programs throughout the year, strict abatement procedures are followed. As required by AHERA, a certified asbestos inspector and management planner inspects facilities, takes samples, and rates the condition and hazard potential of materials in the district facilities suspected of containing asbestos.

The law requires asbestos management plans to be in place and continually updated. The plans have several ongoing requirements: publish a notification on management plan availability and the status of asbestos activities; educate and train employees about asbestos; notify short-term or temporary workers on the locations of the asbestos-containing building materials; post warning labels in routine maintenance areas where asbestos was previously identified or assumed; follow set plans and procedures designed to minimize the disturbance of asbestos-containing building materials; and, survey the condition of these materials to assure that they remain in good condition.

This notification letter, education and training of our employees, plans and procedures designed to minimize the disturbance of the asbestos-containing-materials (ACM), and plans for regular surveillance are a part of our efforts to meet government regulations (AHERA).

A copy of the asbestos management plan is available for your inspection in the Marie Drake administrative office during regular office hours. Two other district buildings are also subject to AHERA notifications; Juneau-Douglas High School and Floyd Dryden Middle School. Copies of their asbestos management plans are available for your inspection in their respective administrative offices. These three school buildings will undergo a triannual inspection over the next couple of months, and the AHERA book at each school will be updated with the inspection report as soon as it becomes available.

We will continue to implement the asbestos management plans, as we have since monitoring began in 1984. We are complying with federal, state, and local regulations in this area. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure your children and our employees have a healthy, safe environment in which to work.

Inquiries should be directed to the Juneau School District Administrative Services Department, 523-1771.

Superintendent Evaluation Summary

The Board of Education evaluates the superintendent’s performance annually in an effort to provide the district with the best possible leadership. As part of the process, the school board invites and considers written feedback from staff and the community. The board members review performance measures, meet personally with the Superintendent and complete a formal evaluation. This year’s evaluation was completed during three executive sessions held during August, 2019.

The Board is pleased with Dr. Bridget Weiss’ performance during her first year of service as Superintendent of the Juneau School District (JSD).

The Board noted several significant accomplishments, attributes, and positive examples reflected in Dr. Weiss’ work this year. Among them are:

  • Strong and consistent communication and outreach with key stakeholder groups;
  • Exceptional presence in our schools and the community;
  • Service as Vice Chair of the Mayor's Child Care Task Force, elevating the importance of Pre-K Education in Juneau;
  • Leadership on the Tlingit Language Revitalization Task Force, showing commitment and engagement with the Native community;
  • Responsiveness to teacher and staff concerns and taking time to evaluate appropriate actions; and,
  • Setting a high standard of expectations for the staff and students.

The Board identified the following areas for increased focus during the upcoming school year:

  • As we create a new strategic plan for Juneau’s schools, develop a shared vision for the school district that includes students, staff and the community.
  • Increase use of metrics and data as an objective tool to measure student success and achievement outcomes.

2019/2020 Superintendent Priorities: During the 2019/2020 school year, Dr. Weiss will work on priority items intended to further the district’s aim to ensure that students are prepared for, and knowledgeable of, career and life opportunities when they leave the Juneau School District.

  1. Increase the number of students reading at grade level by 3rd grade:  Identify and propose new or improved approaches, recognizing that this has been an ongoing challenge in the district.

2. Enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) integration throughout the District: Increase opportunities and hands-on experiences through increased district support, while coordinating across existing community partnerships.

3. Increase and improve high school offerings through increased collaboration between high schools:  Increase communication with students/families early in high school to ensure students are aware of collaborative opportunities to meet individual and course credit needs. Increase the number of classes offered in one school and taken by students in all three high schools. 

4. Strengthen Tlingit language/culture integration and community partnerships:  Continue to provide leadership for the newly adopted Indigenous Language policy, ensuring it is effectively implemented across the district in partnership with community organizations.

5. Increase kindergarten readiness through community partnerships supporting early education.  Expand quality Pre-K offerings in Juneau and JSD programs like Kinder Ready.

It is the intent of the Board of Education that these priorities be accomplished collectively, with a strong commitment to engaging and cooperating with our many stakeholders, including families and our community partners.

School board members are pleased with Dr. Weiss’ performance and with the current direction of the school district. The Board of Education looks forward to pursuing these important priorities in partnership with Dr. Weiss, and in cooperation with our families, community members and stakeholders. The dedication and commitment of our staff combined with the educational leadership, experience and integrity of our Superintendent position us well for student success.

PUBLIC NOTICE on JEA-JSD NEGOTIATIONS

The Juneau Education Association (JEA) and Juneau School District (JSD) Bargaining Team met on April 18, 19, 20.

The team has worked through many issues together, including addressing specialist concerns, vandalism, various leave topics, extra duty language, and contract maintenance. The team has invited experts into the process to answer questions and provide personal knowledge and clarification on standard operations.

Periodic updates will be provided throughout the process as the team meets over the next few months. The goal of the parties is to reach a successor agreement prior to the end of June. The next round of meetings begins April 29.

The JEA bargaining unit is the District’s largest employee association, representing approximately 340 teachers and certified staff in the Juneau School District. JEA is a local affiliate of National Education Association Alaska (NEA-AK).

Juneau School District and Juneau Education Support Staff Reach Tentative Agreement

The Juneau Education Support Staff (JESS) and Juneau School District (JSD) have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022. This succeeds the current contract, set to expire on June 30, 2019.

JESS and JSD worked cooperatively to reach the tentative three-year agreement. Interest-Based Bargaining and the Affinity Model were used for collaborative negotiations. The next step is ratification by both parties.

The teams met January 24 and 25, February 8 and 20, and again on April 23. Writing committees met on additional days to craft the agreement, culminating in an all-day session today to complete the process.

The JESS bargaining unit is the school district’s second largest employee association, representing about 322 employees. JESS membership includes office and instructional support staff, school nurses, RALLY employees, as well as maintenance and custodial personnel. JESS is the local affiliate of the Alaska Public Employee Association.

The JESS membership will vote on the new contract in the near future. The Juneau School District Board of Education vote will follow. Details of the contract will be released to the public as part of the school board’s action.

June 15 “How to Run for Local Office” Workshop offers a crash course on local government

If you’ve ever thought about running for local office, plan to work for someone who is, or just want a crash course on how local government works, you should attend the free June 15 “How to Run for Local Office” Workshop. Learn what it's like to serve on the Juneau Assembly and School Board, and hear directly from current and past elected officials.

The workshop is on Saturday, June 15, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Assembly Chambers at City Hall. It’s free and focuses on: what it’s like to serve on the Assembly and School Board, deciding and preparing to run, legal requirements for candidates, how to get elected, and what happens if you win. You’ll hear panel presentations from current and past elected officials as well as experts in the field.

No registration is required for the half-day workshop. Coffee and snacks will be provided. “How to Run for Local Office” Workshop is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Juneau, CBJ Clerk’s Office, Juneau Public Libraries, and the Juneau School District.

JSAA-JSD Ratify Agreement

The Juneau School Administrators Association (JSAA) and Juneau School District (JSD) have ratified an agreement on a new three-year contract, effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022. This succeeds the current contract, set to expire on June 30, 2019.

JSAA and JSD worked cooperatively to reach the tentative three-year agreement using an Interest-Based Bargaining process for collaborative negotiations. The teams met several times and reached a tentative agreement on May 31, 2019.

The JSAA bargaining unit represents the Principals, Assistant Principals, and district-level Coordinators and Specialists. This is a three-year agreement that provides a fair economic settlement with District administrators for the next three years, FY20 – FY22. The agreement calls for increases to salary of 1% in FY20, .5% in FY21, and .5% in FY22. The agreement also provides an increase to the District paid portion of health insurance of $25/month in FY20, $20/month in FY 21, and $20/month in FY22.

The tentative agreement was ratified by JSAA membership the week of June 3, and then by the Board of Education at its June 11 Regular Meeting.

JEA-JSD Joint Statement on Negotiations

The Juneau Education Association (JEA) and Juneau School District (JSD) Bargaining Teams met February 15-17, 2019. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Commissioner Tom Melancon provided training for the group. Michael Wenstrup, Uniserv Director with NEA-Alaska has been selected by both parties to facilitate the negotiation process.

They have chosen to bargain utilizing Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). IBB is a collaborative, consensus-based process that enables negotiators to become collective problem-solvers. Periodic updates will be provided throughout the process as they meet over the next four months. The goal of the parties is to reach a successor agreement prior to the end of the current school year. The next meeting will be March 2 and 3.

The JEA bargaining unit is the District’s largest employee association, representing approximately 340 teachers and certified staff in the Juneau School District. JEA is a local affiliate of National Education Association Alaska (NEA-AK).

JESS-JSD Ratify Three Year Agreement

The Juneau Education Support Staff (JESS) and Juneau School District (JSD) have ratified a new three-year contract, effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022. This succeeds the current contract, set to expire on June 30, 2019.

JESS and JSD worked cooperatively to reach the tentative three-year agreement. Interest-Based Bargaining and the Affinity Model were used for collaborative negotiations. The teams met January 24 and 25, February 8 and 20, and again on April 23. Writing committees met on additional days to craft the agreement, culminating in an all-day session today to complete the process.

The JESS membership unanimously ratified the agreement on May 11. The Board of Education considered the agreement in first reading at its May 14 Regular Meeting. The agreement was then approved by unanimous vote of the Board in final reading in a Special Meeting on May 17.

This three-year agreement calls for increases to wages in FY20 of $.60 per cell above the FY19 wage scale. For FY21, the Parties agree to a 1.0% increase over the FY20 wage scale, and for FY22, the Parties agree to a $.20 per cell plus a 1.0% increase over the FY21 wage scale. Increases in monthly health insurance contributions are $25 in FY20, $25 in FY21, and $25 in FY22. A “Me Too” agreement allows for an equal increase in wages and benefits as compared to the final negotiated agreement between Juneau Education Association and JSD. The net cost to the District per year is estimated to be $539,000 in FY20, $687,000 in FY21, and $1,160,000 in FY22.

The JESS bargaining unit is the school district’s second largest employee association, representing about 331 employees. JESS membership includes office and instructional support staff, para educators, school nurses, RALLY employees, as well as maintenance and custodial personnel. JESS is the local affiliate of the Alaska Public Employee Association.

JEA - JSD Reach Agreement

The Juneau Education Association (JEA) and Juneau School District (JSD) Bargaining Team finalized negotiations for a successor agreement on May 15. The team previously completed non-economic items. The team negotiated for over 11 hours while discussing wages, retirement, health care, pay for meetings after hours, and the length of the contract year.

The team will meet on May 16 to finalize the contract and expect to have a final Tentative Agreement to distribute by May 17 to members of the Juneau Education Association and the Juneau School Board. Details of the contract will be released to the public after the board and membership have reviewed the contract.

JEA has scheduled a ratification vote for May 22. The JEA bargaining unit is the District’s largest employee association, representing 349 educators and certified staff in the Juneau School District. JEA is a local affiliate of NEA-Alaska.

Girls on the Run & Boys Run/Toowú Klatseen

Girls on the Run and Boys Run/Toowú Klatseen after school programs start Tuesday, February 19th!

Girls on the Run: Auke Bay T/Th 2:30–4:00 Harborview T/Th 2:30-3:45 Montessori Borealis M/W 3:05-4:30 Mendenhall River M/W 2:30–4:00 Sayeik: Gastineau M/W 2:30-3:45

Boys Run I Toowú Klatseen: Harborview T/Th 2:30-3:45 Montessori Borealis T/Th 3:05-4:30

You can find out more at GOTRGreaterAlaska.org and BoysRun.org.

JEA JSD NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

The Juneau Education Association (JEA) and Juneau School District (JSD) Bargaining Team met on April 29, 30, May 1, 4, and 5.

The team has completed working on non-economic items. The team worked through many issues together, including employment for non-continuing employees, parameters for leaves of absences for employees, updating parental leave language, updating medical leave language, updating the grievance procedure, providing for educators to set up classrooms at the beginning of the year, capturing on-going practices for specialists and job expectations, establishing procedures for travel for professional development and training opportunities, and updating the posting process and filing vacancies for coaches and advisors.

On May 6, the team will be trained by Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Commission Tom Melancon on the Affinity Method of Collaborative Economic Bargaining. This process is designed to address economic items when teams are engaged in Interest Based Bargaining.

The team will discuss economic items on May 15. Economic items include health care, retirement, wages, preparation time, length of the contract day, length of the school year, and other items that affect finances. The team will meet on May 16 to finalize the contract and expect to have a final Tentative Agreement by May 17.

The JEA bargaining unit is the District’s largest employee association, representing approximately 340 teachers and certified staff in the Juneau School District. JEA is a local affiliate of NEA-Alaska.

TMHS ROBOTICS TAKES STATE!
Members of Team Trial and Error

The TMHS Robotics team had a successful season! Regions took place in December at JDHS. Team Trial and Error was a part of the winning alliance and won the THINK award for their notebook. Genetic Advantage (an all-female team), won the overall INSPIRE award. Both of these teams qualified for state, as well as Chain Reaction, who ranked high enough after the qualifying rounds to go to state.

On February 1 and 2, team Trial and Error came away with the overall #1 ranking at the state competition at UAA. They competed with and against 23 other teams in the qualifying rounds. Robot teams are randomly paired together to go against 2 other robots. After 5 rounds, Trial and Error was the only undefeated team. They won their semi-final match as well as the finals. (The other 2 TMHS teams also made it to the semi-finals, and one made it to the finals.)

The team now heads to Houston, TX in April to participate in the World Competition with 70 other countries. They have been working hard to perfect their robot and to raise the necessary funds. Within 3 weeks, the students had raised $5000 through bake sales, concessions, and the Innovation Summit, and the community came forward with another $5000 in sponsorships.

Team members are: Riley Sikes, Noatak Post, Eli Douglas, Sterling Zuboff, Grace Sikes, Ian Sheridan, Teilhard Buzzell, and Darin Tingey.

JSD selects new Student Services Director

The Juneau School District announces that Christopher Aguirre is the new Director of Student Services. Aguirre is currently Assistant Superintendent of the North Slope Borough School District in Utqiagvik. He has served in the role for the past two years, managing the district budget, school board policies, negotiations, instructional leadership and support, and a reorganization of district office. He worked to successfully reduce the dropout rate from nine to three percent, while improving student achievement.

From 2014 to 2017, Aguirre was Principal of Kodiak High School where he led the school to an increase in graduation rate from 87 to 96 percent, while lowering the dropout rate to 0.4 percent. He created an international award winning STEAM program; reformed science, social studies and CTE curricula; implemented social-emotional learning; and guided the school through the accreditation process.

Aguirre has 20 years of experience in education in Alaska, Texas and New York, and a strong background in career and technical education (CTE). He was a CTE program teacher in New York and Director of Vocational Education for the Kodiak Island Borough School District, before participating in Administrator-in-Training Leadership Academy at the New York City (NYC) Department of Education. From there he became the Assistant Principal at NYC High School of Hospitality Management and then the Founding Principal of City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology; the first career and technical education Early College high school in New York City.

“JSD is fortunate to welcome Chris to our team. His varied experiences in leadership will be a tremendous asset,” says Dr. Bridget Weiss, Superintendent of the Juneau School District.

The Director position has been vacant since the promotion of Dr. Weiss to Superintendent at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. The Juneau School District began the search for the Director of Student Services in January, and is pleased to have found the right candidate to join the district’s leadership team.

"From Skagway to the North Slope my wife and I have been fortunate to have been part of some fantastic Alaskan communities. We started our life together in Skagway so it is special to return to Southeast Alaska,” Aguirre says. “I am excited to be joining a team of such dedicated professionals and I am looking forward to serving Juneau students."

Aguirre holds a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University and Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Humboldt State University. His Educational Administration certification is from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and he completes his Superintendent Endorsement at the University of Alaska Southeast this summer. Aguirre begins work in Juneau in July 2019.

Director of Administrative Services Selected
Sarah Jahn

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Sarah Jahn has been chosen as the next Director of Administrative Services. In this role, she will be responsible for managing the nearly $90 million school district budget and overseeing the finance and payroll departments. The position also directs a diverse collection of programs such as pupil transportation, food service, information technology, RALLY, Community Schools, maintenance and facilities.

Jahn joined the Juneau School District in 2008, as payroll and benefits specialist. She quickly moved to payroll supervisor and then was promoted again to finance officer. Jahn has a strong background in accounting and business and is well respected by her colleagues.

An interview committee of representatives from the Juneau Education Association, Juneau Education Support Staff, Juneau School Administrators Association, Board of Education, City and Borough of Juneau and central office held public interviews on April 23.

Superintendent Mark Miller is happy with the selection. “Sarah has been doing an excellent job as our finance officer and payroll supervisor for the past nine years. We are excited to support Sarah in her continued professional growth as she begins her new position of Director of Administrative Services,” he says.

Jahn says, “I am honored to accept the director position and look forward to continued service with the district."

Jahn holds a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting from the University of Alaska Southeast, as well as Associate of Applied Science in Accounting and Associate of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Jahn starts the new job July 1, 2018, following the retirement of longtime director, David Means. Means is retiring after 13 years in the Juneau School District, and 36 years as a school business official in Alaska.

Scholastic Art & Writing Contest Winners
BOE members with art students and teachers

March was National Student Art Month and to celebrate, the Juneau School District Board of Education honored local student artists at its monthly meeting. The Scholastic Arts and Writing Contest awards ceremony recognized Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS) and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (JDHS) students for their exceptional visual and written works.

The Scholastic Arts and Writing Contest is based on Scholastic Arts three criteria: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Over 392 submissions were screened from Alaska’s secondary schools this year. One hundred students were recognized at the state level, including the following Juneau School District artists:

Gold Key JDHS’s Claire Scott achieved the highest honor of Gold Key. Her comic artwork from Meow Cats United: Chapter 9, advances to the National Jury finals in New York City.

Silver Key Claire Scott was awarded a Silver Key for her comic art, Peculiar Alarm Clock. Steven Ireland-Haight attained a Silver Key for his ceramic horn, Color Shriek. Arias Hoyle achieved Silver Key Writing Award for his Poetry.

Honorable Mentions: Amber Rounds-McPherson for Photography Nicole Carrillo-Aguilar for Ceramics Celia Wheeler for Ceramics Claire Scott for Comic Arts Claire Scott for two pieces of Science-Fiction Writing Steven Ireland-Haight for Ceramics and Sculpture

Human Resources Director Hire

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Tim Bauer has been chosen as the next Human Resources Director. Bauer joins the district in July, following the retirement of the current director, Darryl Smith.

Bauer is currently Superintendent and Elementary Principal of the Annette Island School District, where he has worked since 2013. He has wide-ranging experience in education, including human resources, collective bargaining, hiring, evaluation, special education, school safety, professional development, strategic planning, curriculum development, and budgeting.

Bauer has lived in Alaska for 10 years. Prior to his current role, he worked as Programs Manager at SERRC, and held special education director, principal and teacher positions in the Annette Island, Pelican, and Aleutian Region School Districts. During his career, he taught AP English, Creative Writing, American Literature, Physical Science, Chemistry, History, Geography, Physical Education, General Math, Algebra, and Geometry. Bauer has been a basketball coach and U.S. Air Force Pararescue Team Leader.

An interview committee of representatives from the Juneau Education Support Staff, Juneau Education Association, Juneau School Administrators Association, Board of Education, City and Borough of Juneau and central office staff along with Superintendent Bridget Weiss, interviewed Bauer on Friday, April 5. The interview was held at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and was followed by a meet and greet opportunity for the district’s Administrative Council and school tours with Dr. Weiss.

Superintendent Weiss appreciates the participation of the interview team and is happy to welcome Mr. Bauer to the Juneau School District. “We are excited to have Tim Bauer join us in our effort to support the work of JSD. He brings a well-rounded experience from his many roles and we look forward to his involvement in our many initiatives.”

Bauer is looking forward to the opportunity. “I am honored and eager to be a member of the Juneau School District and inspired to be part of such a collaborative leadership team,” he says, “I want to thank the school board, Dr. Weiss, the district leadership and, of course, the JSD community for this opportunity. My family and I are excited to be back in the community we love and to call Juneau home again.”

Bauer received his Superintendent Certification/Endorsement from the University of Alaska Southeast. He holds a Master of Educational Leadership K-12 and Post Graduate Certification, Special Education from University of Alaska-Anchorage, and a Bachelor of Arts, Secondary Education, English, University of Maine-Orono.

Hinderberger to lead Mendenhall River Community School

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Joanna “JJ” Hinderberger will be the next Mendenhall River Community School (MRCS) Principal.

HInderberger was interviewed on Monday, April 29, in open session at the school. An interview panel, including representatives from the school’s certificated staff and classified staff, district administration and the Site Council, conducted the interview and made a recommendation to the Superintendent, Dr. Bridget Weiss. Hinderberger toured the school and met with staff during her visit. She officially starts the position in August for the start of the new school year.

Hinderberger is currently finishing her second year as Principal at Eagle’s View Elementary School in Unalaska. She also serves as district test coordinator, special education and English Language Learner coordinator for the Unalaska City School District. She started her teaching career in the Juneau School District at Sayeik: Gastineau Community School in 2012, completing her Educational Leadership Internship at Sayeik: Gastineau and Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé (JDHS). Hinderberger also served as Interim Assistant Principal at JDHS in 2016.

Hinderberger holds a Graduate Certificate in Special Education from the University of Southeast. She has a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and a Master of Arts in English Language Learning from Western Governors University. Her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education is from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Dr. Bridget Weiss Chosen to Lead Juneau School District
Board President Holst and Vice President Story with Supt Weiss

The Juneau School District Board of Education has unanimously selected Dr. Bridget Weiss as interim superintendent for the 2018-19 school year. The position became available when Dr. Mark Miller submitted his request to be released from his contract to the Board of Education effective August 15, 2018.

The Board of Education met in special meeting on Friday, July 27 to accept Dr. Miller’s resignation and begin the process of finding a qualified replacement. The Board developed a process aimed at maximizing the opportunities for public engagement and input, while minimizing the hiring timeline to allow for the successor to overlap with the outgoing superintendent. The members were interested in facilitating a quick transition so the new superintendent could be in place by the August 20 school start date.

School board members didn’t have to look far to find a successor, as the Juneau School District has qualified and capable candidates within the organization. The board agreed to select a current Juneau School District employee with a Type B Certificate as well as a current Superintendent Endorsement. Interested candidates meeting the criteria were invited to apply for the interim superintendent position by Wednesday, August 1. Three candidates responded: Thunder Mountain High School Principal Dan Larson, Student Services Director Dr. Bridget Weiss and Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Principal Molly Yerkes.

Board of Education President Brian Holst says, “The Board sincerely appreciates the willingness of all three candidates to step forward to serve the students of Juneau. We feel fortunate to have such a high caliber of local talent available in our community.”

The three applicants were then invited to attend a community meet and greet event on August 2, immediately followed by public interviews with the Board of Education. Public comment cards were collected and considered by the Board in making their determination.

On Monday, August 6, the school board held a special meeting to consider the candidates and take action on the hiring of an interim superintendent. The Board voted to select Dr. Weiss as the Interim Superintendent for the 2018-19 school year, effective August 16, 2018.

Dr. Weiss has been the district’s Director of Student Services and a member of the superintendent’s leadership team for the past four years. She oversees the Special Education Program, as well as other student-related services such as activities, health services, counseling, students in transition, student safety, crisis response and school climate.

Weiss is prepared to start her new role right away to get schools off to a good start and is looking forward to the job. "I could not be more pleased to lead the important work we are doing, and partner with families and stakeholders to meet the needs of our students. Working in my home community of Juneau is an exciting opportunity and privilege,” she says.

Weiss has broad experience that spans 34 years in the field of education. Prior to her Director role with the Juneau School District, she served as Principal of North Pole High School, Phoenix Alternative High School and Lake Spokane Elementary School as well as Assistant Principal of Mt. Spokane High School. She served as the Interim Superintendent for the Nine Mile Falls School District and Executive Director of Instructional Programs for Spokane Public Schools. She also has 16 years of experience as a secondary math teacher.

Dr. Weiss is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and holds a Doctorate in Education, Educational Leadership from Washington State University, a Master of Arts in Education, Mathematics from Eastern Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a Minor in Physical Education from Whitworth University.

A hiring process to name a permanent replacement will be defined later in the school year.

JEA-JSD move forward with negotiations

The Juneau Education Association (JEA) and Juneau School District (JSD) Bargaining Team met on March 2-3, and 6-8.

The team identified over 70 issues to discuss and have developed common interests. They have worked through 32 issues relating to special education, leave, job responsibilities and requirements, as well as room preparation. The team worked to come to a consensus on issues on non-economic items including the vacancy posting process, telephones, issues related to leave, identifying and modernizing language, addressing breaks in service, and boundary exceptions for children of certified employees. At various times, the team has invited experts into the process to answer questions and provide personal knowledge and clarification on standard operations.

They have chosen to bargain utilizing Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). IBB is a collaborative, consensus-based process that enables negotiators to become collective problem-solvers. Periodic updates will be provided throughout the process as they meet over the next four months. The goal of the parties is to reach a successor agreement prior to the end of the current school year. The next round of meetings will be April 18-20.

The JEA bargaining unit is the District’s largest employee association, representing approximately 340 teachers and certified staff in the Juneau School District. JEA is a local affiliate of National Education Association Alaska (NEA-AK).

ANDI STORY RECEIVES 2018 DON MACKINNON EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE AND HUMAN RECOGNITION AWARD
Photo of Andi Story and Supt Bridget Weiss

The Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA) is pleased to announce Andi Story of Juneau as recipient of the 2018 ASA Don MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award.

Among her many accomplishments, Andi has been recognized as an outstanding school board member who has dedicated the past 15 years to public education through her service on the Juneau School District Board of Education. She is a tireless advocate of education for all students to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, Alaska State Legislature and at the national level. She led the school board in developing legislative priorities and recommendations for statewide initiatives to make meaningful change in Alaska's education system. She has lobbied for a stable state fiscal plan to provide reliable funding for education.

The MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award was established in 1985 to recognize Don MacKinnon and his service to education in Alaska. Don was instrumental in forming a cooperative alliance among all school administrators and public education partners and was the first Executive Director of the Alaska Association of School Administrators now ASA and the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA).

In honor of his work to forge professional relationships on behalf of Alaska’s young people, the ASA Board of Directors established this award to be given to school board members who have provided meritorious service to their school districts and communities.

During a period of funding challenges and significant cuts to personnel, Andi was part of a school board that established new higher standards for math and literacy, raised the credit requirements for graduation while at the same time increasing the graduation rate, increased teacher and staff professional development, improved student achievement and prepared graduates for post-secondary success.

Thus, it is with great honor that the Alaska Superintendents Association joins the rest of the education community in honoring Andi Story as recipient of the 2018 ASA Don MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Awardee and thanking her for the work she has done on behalf of the Juneau School District.

Riverbend Elementary School Celebrates 20th Anniversary!

Riverbend Elementary School is celebrating 20 years of educating students in Juneau. The community is invited to join the festivities.

There will be special displays, art activities, photo booths and more! People are encouraged to come and take part, and mingle with current students, their families, and alumni.

Friday, March 9, 2018

1-2:30pm – Presentation of S’igeidi’ Xh’een (a Tlingit house panel) by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, dancing and songs performed by Riverbend’s Indian Studies Program Culture Club, and a 20th year commemoration song written and performed by Riverbend JAMM students.

5-7pm – Bring your favorite school lunch item to share as part of our potluck dinner. Games and activities!

For more information, please visit the Riverbend Elementary School Facebook page or call the school at 796-5700.

Universal Elementary School Breakfast Program
Harborview Breakfast Service

This school year, the Juneau School District is continuing to offer free breakfast for all students at elementary and middle schools, some sit down and others grab and go foods. Also, all high school reduced-price breakfast and lunch recipients are welcome to a free breakfast and lunch for the second year.

The Juneau Community Foundation and United Way of Southeast Alaska teamed up with the Juneau School District and other donors to provide $24,000 needed for these vital food programs for students. Over $35,000 is needed annually to bridge the funding gap between federally provided funds for free and reduced breakfast participants and making the breakfast open to all students. Additional donations to keep this program going are being accepted.

“Our partnership with donors and the school district ensures that all of Juneau’s elementary school students get breakfast, while also providing breakfast to middle school students and free breakfast and lunch to high school students who used to have to pay a reduced fee for these meals. This is the third year of the program and with an increasing number of students participating, we are seeking additional donations to keep this food-in-the-morning program going,” said Amy Skilbred, Executive Director, Juneau Community Foundation.

Studies have shown that when students can eat a healthy breakfast at school, a greater number of kids who otherwise would not have a breakfast attend because there is no stigma to having your breakfast at school. This breakfast program relies on parents who meet the guidelines signing their students up for the free and reduced breakfast program because that provides the majority of the funding needed with federal funds.

“It’s great to see students start their day off right by eating a healthy meal. The school district encourages all eligible households to sign up for free and reduced price meals as this is an essential component to making sure this program continues. Participation in the universal breakfast program continues to increase. Last school year we served up to 800 breakfast meals per day. This school year that number has already increased to over 900!” said Adrianne Schwartz, Food Services Supervisor, Juneau School District.

The school district will continue to monitor the universal free breakfast program for elementary and middle school students for the 2018-19 school year to determine whether having all students take part de-stigmatizes the free and reduced cost school meals and ensures all students get a healthy start to their day.

“United Way of Southeast Alaska has long been a partner in providing food resources in our communities. Reducing the number of children that start the day hungry is a positive for everyone. Studies show that when students are not dealing with hunger and uncertainty about their next meal, they are better able to focus on learning. Also, by funding the breakfast program we hope the community increases support for the weekend backpack and vacation food box programs,” said Warren Russell, Board Chair of United Way of Southeast Alaska. He continued noting that “boots on the ground doing great work for communities and organizations make him proud to be a part of United Way of Southeast Alaska.”

The Juneau Community Foundation (juneaucf.org) and United Way of Southeast Alaska (unitedwaysseak.org) encourage community members and families to donate to support these in-school food programs through either of our websites.

Information about National School Walkout

The Juneau School District is aware that some students are planning school walkouts at 10:00 am on March 14, 2018 as part of an upcoming National School Walkout. The principals at our secondary schools are communicating with their staff and student leaders regarding this planned walkout. Schools are not promoting this activity and it is important for parents to know that these are not school sponsored or school sanctioned events.

The Juneau School District respects students’ First Amendment right to peacefully assemble.  We will not discipline students for the act of peaceful protest. As a district, we want to acknowledge and support students in their advocacy for safe schools.

The best way for us to ensure student safety during the school day is to know where our students are—that’s simply not possible once they leave school grounds. If students choose to participate in the walkout, the school’s rules and policies regarding student attendance will apply.  Schools and classes will continue on their normal schedule. If you want to excuse your child from class to allow them to participate, please contact your school’s attendance office. Absences that are not excused by a parent will be treated as unexcused and normal consequences will apply.

The Juneau School District also respects the right of school employees to engage in political activities on their own time. Staff members will not participate in walk outs or protests in the course of their work, and will remain neutral on issues that are political in nature in the presence of students.  

As always, the safety of our students is our priority. We are proud that our students want to exercise their First Amendment rights to express their views on this important topic. We will work together to find ways of doing this within our existing school rules and in a manner that works for each school community and maintains a safe learning environment. When students advocate for an issue they feel passionate about, it can be a powerful learning experience. We also recognize that some students may not want to participate in a walk out and would prefer to stay in class. We want to ensure that all students feel safe and respected, no matter what they choose to do.

School Board considers interim superintendent for permanent position

The Juneau School District Board of Education is in the process of identifying a permanent superintendent for the Juneau School District. After gathering feedback from the community about the district’s needs, the board created a preferred candidate profile.

Now, they are looking at that profile in relation to the qualifications of Interim Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss, who has expressed interest in the permanent position. The decision to either appoint Dr. Weiss or to conduct a search will be made at the January 8, 2019, regular school board meeting at 6:00 pm in the Thunder Mountain Library.

The board is asking for input from stakeholders on appointing Dr. Weiss to the permanent position. Comments can be submitted to searchinput@juneauschools.org or presented during public testimony at the meeting on January 8.

Please click on this block to read the Letter of Interest from Dr. Bridget Weiss, Resume for Dr. Bridget Weiss, the candidate profile and superintendent position description.

The profile outlines a leader who is a positive role model for staff and students, and a competent instructional leader with a strong vision for the school district. The person would be experienced in collective bargaining and building relationships with employee associations, decision making and delegating. A visible, proactive communicator who is transparent, honest and responsive. This manager would have a strong work ethic and high expectations for the staff. The preferred candidate is actively involved in and connected to the community and has administrative experience in a large organization with a large budget.

So far in the selection process, hundreds of employees, parents, guardians and community members have participated through public meetings, an online survey, and public comments.

School Board seeks budget input
Members of the public attend a budget meeting.

The Juneau School District Board of Education is developing the budget for the 2018-19 school year. The public is invited to participate in two Public Forums on the Budget:

Tuesday, February 6th - 6:00 pm in the THMS Library, and Wednesday, February 7th - 6:00 pm in the JDHS Library.

The Board of Education uses a zero-based budget building system intended to prioritize spending so that items with higher priorities are funded first as revenue is available. The Board of Education is seeking input from employees, families, students and the community. The public is asked to voice their opinion about what works in Juneau's schools and what should be priority items for funding.

Budget information, documents and reports can be found on www.juneauschools.org in the Links block.

To make suggestions, comments or ask questions about the budget, please email budgetinput@juneauschools.org. All comments and suggestions are considered by the district administration and the Board of Education as part of the process of building a budget for FY 2019.

School Board Unanimously Appoints Dr. Bridget Weiss

The Juneau School District Board of Education has unanimously selected Dr. Bridget Weiss as Superintendent of the Juneau School District. Dr. Weiss has been serving as Interim Superintendent since August 16, 2018, just prior to the start of the school year.

“The opportunity to serve as Superintendent in my hometown of Juneau is incredibly meaningful,” says Dr. Weiss, “The positive support I have received from the staff, community, and Board of Education reminds me how deeply honored I am to provide support here through my leadership and forge efforts forward on finding ways to establish Juneau as a place of distinction. We have amazing people doing amazing work and together we will be able to take some very cool next steps for our kids and families.”

In October, the Board of Education developed a process for identifying a permanent superintendent for the Juneau School District. During the first phase, input about the needs of the district and qualities desired in a superintendent was gathered through an online survey, community listening sessions and email.

Using the feedback, a profile of the preferred candidate for the Juneau School District was developed and considered in relation to the qualifications of Interim Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss, who expressed interest in the permanent position. The board asked stakeholders including all staff members, all parents/guardians, community organizations and the public for input on appointing Dr. Weiss to the permanent position. “The Board sincerely appreciates the significant amount of input that was provided at each step in this selection process,” says Board of Education President Brian Holst. “The overwhelming response about Dr. Weiss demonstrates a high level of trust in her leadership from the staff and support for her appointment from the community. Education is a high priority in Juneau and we believe Dr. Weiss has the skills and vision to meet the high expectations we have for our schools and our students.”

Prior to stepping into the interim superintendent role, Dr. Weiss was Director of Student Services and a member of the Superintendent’s leadership team since 2014. She managed the Special Education Program, as well as other student-related services such as activities, health services, counseling, Students in Transition, student safety, crisis response and school climate.

Weiss has broad experience that spans 34 years in the field of education. Prior to her Director role with the Juneau School District, she served as Principal of North Pole High School, Phoenix Alternative High School and Lake Spokane Elementary School as well as Assistant Principal of Mt. Spokane High School. She served as the Interim Superintendent for the Nine Mile Falls School District and Executive Director of Instructional Programs for Spokane Public Schools. She also has 16 years of experience as a secondary math teacher.

Dr. Weiss is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and holds a Doctorate in Education, Educational Leadership from Washington State University; a Master of Arts in Education, Mathematics from Eastern Washington University; and, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a Minor in Physical Education from Whitworth University.

Students Decide to Revisit Use of Thunder Bears as District Mascot

Superintendent Mark Miller, Representative Sam Kito III and Representative Justin Parish hosted a Juneau School District Mascot Review discussion on Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 10:00 am to noon in Room 519 of the Alaska State Capitol Building. 

In February, Juneau high school students selected the mascot “Thunder Bears” for new Juneau School District combined teams. Shortly after the student vote, an offensive definition of the term was discovered online in the Urban Dictionary, raising concerns with students, staff and community members. 

Student representatives from all high schools attended this special Saturday joint session to offer testimony and help decide whether to keep the mascot name Thunder Bears for combined Juneau School District activities.

Representative Kito and Representative Parish co-chaired the meeting of the Mascot Review Board consisting of ten high school students representing Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain and Yaakoosge Daakahidi High Schools.

There were six invited speakers: original committee member Kristy Germain, KINY Radio Host Pete Carran, JDHS Principal Paula Casperson, Juneau Board of Education Member Emil Mackey, Alaska Native Brotherhood President Marcelo Quinto, and Phyllis Carlson from Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Another four individuals provided public testimony. 

Nine students participated in voting:  four from each JDHS and TMHS and one student from YDHS. On the motion "I move to keep the name Thunder Bears." the vote failed with 4 yeas, 5 nays and the Mascot Review Board referred the issue back to the original naming committee.

Ultimately, Juneau students say they want a district mascot that commands respect and that all students, as well as the community, can be proud of both now and in the future. The Juneau School District is proud of the thoughtful consideration that these high school students gave to a sensitive and emotional issue. They represented all three schools and our community well.

Superintendent Steps Down

Juneau School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller submitted his request to be released from his contract to the Board of Education on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Miller has served the district since 2014.

“It has been a humbling honor to have led the Juneau School District over the past four years,” says Miller. “Through heartbreaking losses and victorious celebrations we have stuck together and persevered for the sake of our kids,” he continues, “I would like to thank the community, staff, parents and students for their work and support as we have taken this journey together. I have full confidence that I am leaving the district in very capable hands. We have worked hard to build capacity within our staff and the work we are doing is much larger than any one person. This has truly been the most fulfilling and amazing four years of my entire 30 plus year career in education and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.”

“The Board of Education thanks Superintendent Miller for his four years of service to the students of Juneau,” says Board President Brian Holst. “He led the district through challenging years and gave his best effort, which we sincerely appreciate,” he adds, “We all wish him continued success.”

The Board of Education will begin the process to find a qualified individual to succeed Miller as Superintendent of the Juneau School District. The Board is expected to formally take action on the request at a special meeting scheduled for Friday, July 27 at 5:00 pm in Room 206 at Juneau-Douglas High School. The board plans to then go into executive session to discuss the hiring of a new superintendent.

Principal chosen to lead Auke Bay School!

The Juneau School District has selected Nancy Peel as the new principal for Auke Bay Elementary School. Peel is currently an Instructional Coach in the Juneau School District. She serves both Auke Bay Elementary School and Gastineau Elementary School by facilitating professional development, implementing curriculum, and leading professional learning communities. Peel joined the Juneau School District as an elementary classroom teacher in 2003, and became an instructional coach in 2013.

The school district interviewed five candidates on Wednesday, March 15 in open sessions at Auke Bay Elementary School. An interview panel of representatives from the school’s certificated staff and classified staff, district administration, parents and the Site Council, conducted the interviews. Written comment cards were collected from the public during open house and during the interviews. The panel then made a recommendation to Dr. Mark Miller, Superintendent of the Juneau School District.

Superintendent Miller says, “We are excited to welcome Nancy as the next principal at Auke Bay. Nancy is an experienced JSD employee who has effectively served in an instructional leader role at Auke Bay for the past four years. We look forward to building on the improvement that Auke Bay is showing in meeting the needs of all students.”

In addition to the Juneau School District, Peel’s background in teaching includes work with Alaska Discovery, Eaglecrest Ski Area and Alaska Paddle Sports. She taught students of all ages as well as instructors of all levels during her time as the Ski School Director and Ski School Training Director for Eaglecrest. She also provided training for guides and clients as part of her past work as a recreational manager and instructor.

Peel is looking forward to the new position. "I’m excited and humbled to continue working with Auke Bay parents, students and staff to engage all of our children in continued learning and growth," she says.

Peel holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast and is completing her Endorsement in Educational Leadership from Western Governor’s University in Salt Lake City. She has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

Peel succeeds current principal, Lori Hoover, who is retiring after 10 years in the position. Peel takes over the job in August for the 2017-18 school year. 

FY19 Budget Message from the Superintendent

As the Superintendent of schools I am happy to report that the FY19 budgeting process for the Juneau School District, which started back in August, has at least for now, been finalized. In order to build a budget, the district had to make some assumptions. One of these assumptions was that the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly would continue their phenomenal financial support of our schools. On Tuesday, May 14, 2018, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly adopted an ordinance approving $85,799,900 for school district operations for FY19.

The Juneau School District (JSD) sincerely appreciates the continued support of the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ). In addition to local funding of $26,412,600 for general operations, the Assembly approved $1,376,500 for programs and activities outside of the CAP, including $1,181,500 for student activities, $50,000 for pupil transportation, $50,000 for food service and $95,000 for Community Schools. Overall, the FY19 budget includes an increase of $1.1 million in local support from our Assembly.

As the school district developed its budget for the 2018-2019 school year, we anticipated that state and local funding would not provide sufficient revenue to fund our current level of operations. In addition to the continued support from CBJ to fund us to the maximum level permitted by law for general school operations as well as additional CBJ funding as permitted outside the CAP, the budget projected a decrease in enrollment of 54 students to 4,625 and an increase in the Base Student Allocation by the Alaska Legislature.

Although the Alaska Legislature did not increase the Base Student Allocation, it did boost education funding by $20 million as a one-time separate item. This timely allocation will provide about $670,000 to JSD and allow the district to fund schools as planned within the budget approved by the Board of Education.

I will not propose any additional cuts at this time, but the budget approved in March already included $2 million in reductions. The impact of those cuts next school year will be seen in the elimination of elementary instructional coaches, larger classes at middle school due to an increase in the Pupil Teacher Ratio, elimination of high school core class support, a longer phase in of the new science curriculum, as well as the elimination of other programs and services. We are working to retain our teachers and absorb staff reductions through attrition.

JSD is grateful for the active participation from community members, students, staff and the school board as it went through the difficult budget process this year. The district received valuable input from the public through committee meetings, board meetings and written comments. I would like to personally thank all of those who came together in a collaborative way, during a very difficult time, to do what is best for our students.

Dr. Mark Miller, Superintendent

Kristy Germain named Assistant Principal of the Year
Ms. Germain is honored by the Board of Education

The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP) has chosen Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School’s Kristy Germain as the Region V Assistant Principal of the Year. Ms. Germain is recognized for her success in providing high quality learning opportunities for her students and for her exemplary contributions made to the profession.

Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Principal Molly Yerkes shared that Ms. Germain is an exemplary Assistant Principal at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, where she oversees almost 500 students. She continually has a positive attitude and works to improve school climate. In addition to overseeing all discipline, Ms. Germain fills the role of activities & athletic director. During her tenure, the school has seen a marked increase in the number of activities offered to students and a dramatic increase in participation.  Ms. Germain demonstrates respect for the diversity of the student population and the individuality of each student. She regularly observes in classrooms and provides feedback to teachers on effective teaching strategies. She is an asset to the school and the community.    The Juneau School District joins AASSP in congratulating Ms. Germain. Thank you for your dedication to your students and staff!

Juneau Fred Meyer Donates Warm Winter Boots
Stacks of winter boots ready to be given to students in need.

The Juneau School District appreciates the generous donation of winter boots from Juneau Fred Meyer. Our Juneau Fred Meyer store donated nearly 250 pair of warm, weatherproof boots for children in need. Thank you to Fred Meyer Apparel Manager Char Cross and Store Manager Anthony Gurule for supporting our students with this act of kindness.

The Office of Student Services Department was busy last week distributing warm, winter boots to Juneau elementary schools just in time for the return of cold and snow. “We've had a terrific response from our counselors and nurses and they are happily placing new boots in the hands of those who can use them the most,” says Mollie Eppers of the Students and Families in Transition program. “We are so grateful to Fred Meyers for supporting our most vulnerable students during their time of need.”  

Thank you!

Mumps Cases in Juneau
Alaska Division of Public Health Logo

February 12, 2018 - Dear parents, guardians, and staff members:

We are reaching out to let you know there have been several recent cases of mumps in Juneau. Mumps is a contagious illness caused by a virus. In order to protect yourself and your family, it’s important to know how you can be infected, what the symptoms are, and what to do if you suspect someone has mumps.

Mumps can be spread from person to person by: • Coughing • Sneezing • Talking • Sharing cups and utensils • Touching contaminated surfaces

Common symptoms of mumps: • Swollen cheeks, face, and/or jaw • Headache • Tiredness • Muscle aches • Loss of appetite • Respiratory symptoms • Fever that lasts longer than three days

The most effective way to prevent mumps is the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Make sure your vaccines and your children’s vaccines are up to date. Good hand hygiene is important. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Show your children how to wash their hands properly too. If you, your child, or family member has mumps symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider to get tested.

Because mumps is contagious your provider may not want you to sit in the waiting room so please call ahead. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call the Juneau Public Health Center at 907-465-3353 and ask to speak with a Public Health Nurse for assistance.

People with mumps should stay home and away from others (no daycare, school, work, family events, church, or public places) for five days after the start of puffy cheeks. These steps will help prevent mumps from spreading to others.

If you have additional questions, please call the Juneau Public Health Center at 907-465-3353 and ask to speak with a Public Health Nurse.

Sincerely, Alison Gaines, RN, BSN Nurse Manager Juneau Public Health Center

JUNEAU PRINCIPAL NAMED 2017 ALASKA ARTS EDUCATION CONSORTIUM CHAMPION OF THE ARTS!

The Juneau School District is pleased to announce that Auke Bay Elementary School Principal Lori Hoover has earned the title “2017 Champion of the Arts” from the Alaska Arts Education Consortium (AAEC) Champions of the Arts recognition program. Hoover was chosen to be honored in the category of Arts Leader.

AAEC recognizes individuals and organizations from across the state who champion the arts in education. AAEC believes these Champions carry the torch for arts education through high-caliber instruction, arts support, and ongoing arts promotion. A core belief of the AAEC is that higher academic achievement will occur in and through the arts and the organization is committed to preparing and supporting educators so that they can teach the arts in and across the curriculum. Principal Lori Hoover has worked behind the scenes as an avid advocate for the arts, supporting the integration of the arts in all things to make a difference for all Juneau’s children.

Hoover is a core member of the group that has worked to bring access to arts education and arts integration to Juneau part of Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child. This Kennedy Center program focuses on expanding arts education in schools in an equitable manner across grade levels. It requires a community-wide effort, and she has helped to spearhead the work over a number of years.

As an educator, when Hoover presents to a group, no matter the content, she finds a way to integrate the arts, knowing and believing that when we learn through the arts we are more likely to remember and understand, connect and extend on a deeper level. She exudes art and has continually made efforts to bring community organizations together to expand the access for ALL students to not only learn the arts, but to also learn other educational content through arts integration.

When Auke Bay Elementary School was remodeled, Hoover made great effort to make sure the building itself was an architectural work of art, and the added arts elements were enhanced. She worked with a community committee to plan and implement a grand opening of the new building with a traditional Tlingit ku.éex', working with elders and various community groups. She worked with staff and students to create artistic gifts for the giving of thanks. Students and teachers gathered in the gymnasium to play drums, dance and present handmade gifts to guests, including many Tlingit elders. Each grade level made a different gift, including devil’s club salve, button blanket pins and greeting cards. Two dance groups performed at the celebration. Through the arts, Hoover thanked the Aak’w Kwaan Tlingit people native to the Auke Bay area for allowing the school to exist and grow on the land.

Thank you Lori Hoover for your lasting contribution to the education of all Juneau students and for your steady commitment to the arts in our community.

The efforts of champions, like Hoover, in teaching and supporting arts across the curriculum reflects the mission of AAEC, which is “to promote learning in and through the arts for all Alaska students.” Each Champion was nominated by Alaskans who—like the AAEC—believe in the work of these Champions of the Arts to positively impact the lives of students and communities through arts in education. Complete information about the 2017 AAEC Champions of the Arts is available on the AAEC website at http://akartsed.org/.

JSD to Consolidate JDHS & TMHS Teams

UPDATE: ASAA has approved the request to consolidate high school football and football cheer teams for the 2018-19 school year.

By November 1, 2017, the Juneau School District will send a formal request to the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) to consolidate its football and cheer teams at Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS) and allow Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS) students to participate in football and football cheer at JDHS.

The decision has been two years in the making, taking into consideration important issues such as player safety and development, season cost, program debt and repayment progress, continued shortage of activities funding, realignment of Southeast Conference, and ASAA’s willingness to consider a consolidation request. A number of informational meetings to solicit input from stakeholders and administrators have taken place with the goal of finding a way to continue to provide athletic opportunities to the broadest number of students.

Over the past three years, football programs at JDHS and TMHS have faced deficits in activities accounts despite significant fundraising efforts and generous community support. At the beginning of the 2017 football season, accounts for both teams were in the red. JDHS had a negative balance of $5,689 and TMHS a negative balance of $100,821. Both schools fielded only Varsity teams and travel schedules were reduced to three out of town games for each school to reduce costs. Estimated annual budgets for each team are about $70,000. The district established procedures for budgeting, planning fundraising activities and tracking account balances and teams have shown good faith efforts at fundraising, but the school district and community have been unable to financially support two football programs.

During this same time period, participation in football has declined, following a nationwide trend. This has led to underclassmen playing Varsity football against upperclassmen, raising safety concerns for players and reducing the opportunity for player development through a Junior Varsity program.

If the request is approved by ASAA for football and football cheer, the district will begin the process of consolidation and work through a long list of decisions that will need to be made by the beginning of the next football season. A consolidation of football teams in Juneau would likely move the district back into Division I as part of the Railbelt Conference.

Artist chosen for Sayéik Gastineau Community School Monument
Sayeik Gastineau Logo

By Katherine Rose, KCAW-Sitka - Sitka artist Nick Galanin has been chosen by the City and Borough of Juneau create an original work for a Native burial ground monument at an elementary school.

The monument will be located outside the front entrance of Sayéik Gastineau Community School in Douglas, Alaska. During renovations in 2012, five graves were uncovered there. It became clear the facility was built atop a Native burial ground. In the wake of this event, the City and Borough of Juneau said the goal of the monument is to help the community “find forgiveness, restore peace, and to evoke spiritual help.” The monument is being designed in consultation with the Douglas Indian Association.

For his part of the monument, Galanin will create a ceremonial fire dish that will hold an eternal flame. The dish symbolizes the Tlingit practice of feeding and comforting ancestors by placing food into the fire. Galanin will carve the dish out of wood and then cast it in bronze, following customary Tlingit design. “I think it’s important not just to be involved but for communities to recognize the histories,” he said. “So much of it that’s not spoken about or taught or passed on through the retelling of history.”

Galanin was busy at work on another piece when KCAW called. “The totem pole that we’re carving right now that you hear in the background is also another project I’m going up over on Douglas Island in Juneau,” he said. “Same sort of history, the Taku village that was burnt down purposefully to make way for a boat harbor. They’re both healing projects for the indigenous community, and even the community as a whole.”

Galanin was chosen to create the fire dish by a three-member Art Selection Panel through the city’s call for artist process.

Winter Weather Procedures

The City and Borough of Juneau and the Alaska Department of Transportation work hard each winter to clear and remove snow around our community. The Juneau School District appreciates the extra effort these agencies take in prioritizing the areas surrounding our schools. School maintenance and custodial staff shovel sidewalks and clear parking lots early each day. As homeowners, we can help by making sure that our sidewalks and driveways are clear for students on walking routes to school. Working together we can create a safe environment for our children.

Despite these best efforts, sometimes weather conditions make it necessary to close school. It is important for families to know how the school district communicates school closures or schedule changes. These same procedures are followed for other emergencies.

Remember - during inclement weather, even though school may be in session, you know the conditions in your immediate neighborhood and are the best judge of whether or not to send your child to school.

The decision to close schools is generally made by 5:00 a.m. by the Superintendent in consultation with the First Student Bus Company Manager, City and Borough of Juneau City Manager and the National Weather Service Juneau Forecast Office.

School closures or schedule changes are posted by 6:00 a.m. at www.juneauschools.org. An alert block with emergency information will appear in the upper right corner of the page. School-related announcements are also sent to local radio stations.

In the event of a school closure, automated phone calls, emails and text messages are sent to families at 6:30 a.m. The notification system uploads data from PowerSchool each night, so please make sure your phone numbers are current at your child’s school.

Families can help too. If you have knowledge of unsafe conditions in your neighborhood due to weather, please contact your school’s principal. Be prepared by dressing your child for the conditions each day. Please talk to your child about safe walking routes to school and staying a safe distance from the road while waiting at the bus stop. Reflective tape on clothing and flashlights help drivers see children on dark days.

Make an emergency plan with your children in the event that schools are closed, start late, or are dismissed early. Talk about where to go or what to do if a parent is not at home. Check with your school or www.juneauschools.org on the Parents page to find “snow routes” for your child’s school bus.

The Juneau School District appreciates your support in keeping children safe in times of severe weather conditions and emergencies.

High School Choice Time!

As an eighth grader in Juneau, you can choose the high school that best matches your interests, no matter where you live. Bus transportation is provided across the district to both comprehensive high schools.

Incoming freshmen are free to choose either Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS) or Thunder Mountain High School (TMHS). The Juneau School District offers other high school options including Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School (YDHS) and HomeBRIDGE correspondence, both of which require an application and interview. Those programs have additional requirements and may not be available to all freshmen. No matter which school you attend, all students can participate in competitive sports and activities. All three high schools are accredited and issue a full diploma.

How do students choose a high school?

Plan to attend High School Information Nights to find out about the unique programs of the different schools. Presentations will be held at each high school and students can attend one or both sessions. Staff from all schools will be at both evenings so you can learn about all high school programs.

Tuesday, January 23th at 5:30 pm @TMHS Wednesday, January 24th at 5:30 pm @JDHS

Complete a High School Choice Card to select the school you want to attend. Cards will be available at the information nights, at middle schools, and by clicking on this box.

High School Choice Cards are due to middle school offices by February 9, 2018. Make sure your parent or guardian signs the card before returning it to your middle school. Students not returning cards are assigned a high school based on where they live.

For more information about high schools in Juneau visit the High School Choice page in the Departments menu above.

Registration & Back to School Information

4 months ago


School starts August 16, 2017


The first day of school for grades 1-12 is Wednesday August 16, 2017. Kindergarteners start Monday, August 21 and first day for PreK is Wednesday, August 23. 

Have a great year!  

REGISTRATION

New students please register at your neighborhood school on Friday, August 4. 

New high school students can register now at Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain high schools.

ORIENTATION

JDHS ORIENTATION - By last name

August 8:    9-11 AM & 12-2 PM (P-Z)
August 9:  9-11 AM & 12-2 PM (A-G)
August 10:  9-11 AM & 12-2 PM (H-O)
August 11: 10-1 Freshman First & Welcome BBQ
August 23:  Open House 5-6:30 PM

TMHS ORIENTATION 

August 8:
8-10:30 AM (I-L)
12-2:30 PM (Q-S)
August 9:
8-10:30 AM (A-C)
12-2:30 PM (T-Z)
August 10
8-10:30 AM (D-H)
12-2:30 PM (M-P)
August 11: 12-3:45 PM Freshman First (lunch will be provided)
August 18: 5-7 PM Kick-Off Celebration

OPEN HOUSE DATES

August 10:  Juneau Community Charter School, 6-7 PM

August 18:  Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School, 12-1 PM

August 18:  Thunder Mountain High School, 5-7 PM

August 23:  Juneau-Douglas High School, 5-6:30 PM

August 30:  Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, 5-6 PM

August 30:  Floyd Dryden Middle School, 5-6 PM

September 6:  Auke Bay, Gastineau, Mendenhall River and Riverbend Elementary Schools, 5 PM

September 13:  Glacier Valley and Harborview Elementary Schools, 5 PM

September 20:  Montessori Borealis Public School, 5-6:30 PM