Board of Education meets

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A new name for Juneau-Douglas High School and creation of a list of priorities for the state legislative session topped the agenda for the monthly meeting of the CBJ Board of Education tonight.

    The JDHS students met with elders and leaders that represent the Aak'w Kwaan and T'aaku Kwaan at the Douglas Indian Association tribal offices last Spring.  They expressed an interest in why the school had not been given a Tlingit name like other district schools. 

    The students were gifted a Tlingit name Yadaa.at Kale.  This translates to beautiful adorned face.  The name references a Tlingit narrative in which Yadaa.at Kale represents one's sense of gratitude and utter relief as the face of the mountain and safe harbor comes into view after a long, perilous and trying journey.

    Juneau Douglas is located at the base of this mountain.  The school administration recommended acceptance of the Tlingit name as it would remind the local community of its history and heritage. 

    Students felt it would be welcoming for the school to add the name, add cultural acceptance, and highlight the long traditions of the Tlingit people.  School officials said students became more and more insistent of having a Tlingit name.  Students took an interest in the project, learned the procedure for the name change, and gave a lot of effort to make this happen.

    David Katzeek said all peoples have ancestors and there is something in a name.  "The Tlingit people have been giving names to the land for over 10,000 years.  Most of the time you give names to places because you love it, you have memory of it, and have a relationship with it."

    "To me this is one of the greatest efforts in education because you will acknowledge and accept people that have generations of historical trauma."

    Katzeek said he has two names and they are not trying to take away the name of Juneau-Douglas.  He graduated from JDHS in 1962.  "I'm here to encourage you and let you know how much I appreciate your consideration of this gift of a name.  It is just not for us as Tlingit people.  It gives the heart of why were doing what were doing."

    He said the name shows high esteem for the school from the Tlingit people.  He remembered a teacher at JDHS who told him there was nothing he couldn't do and nothing that he couldn't achieve.

    The Board approved the first reading of the name change and will take a final vote at the January 8 board meeting.

    The Board supported the creation of a Superintendent candidate profile to help identify a permanent superintendent.  The board plans to make a decision on how to proceed with the search at the January meeting.  The board discussed leadership, honesty with transparency,  communication skills, experience as a teacher and administrator, budget work, and other qualities.  They held an hour long work session earlier in the day to discuss the position.

    The profile will include a desire for experience like administrative complexity in large budgets, leadership, being a positive role model for staff and students, and being an instructional leader with vision.  Under management, an emphasis on decision making capability, a willingness to delegate and experience with collective bargaining.  Under communications, an emphasis on visibility in classrooms and schools, transparency and honesty and be proactive in communications.  In supervision, to add accountability and high expectations for staff with a strong work ethic, leading by example, and emphasize that parents connect with their child's learning and have meaningful participation.  The candidate must also be active in the community and demonstrate state wide legislative leadership capability.  They decided not to restrict the profile to mention local candidates only.

    Project Three Squares, an effort by Superbear and Foodland IGA to help feed local families, was highlighted on the monthly spotlight of success.  They send food home with students at the Christmas break, spring break and the summer break.  They accept donations from the sale of reusable bags that include a local artist rendition of the Mendenhall Glacier.  Employees also make donations.

    Interim Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss has scheduled listen and learn sessions at each school site this month.  She said the input from staff is very valuable.

    The Board approved the first reading of a budget revision to allow for the return of retirement and benefits.  Employees who cashed out their retirement funds before they were vested in the retirement program.  The district share of forfeited funds if about $513,972.

    The district also received one time funds from the Legislative Operating grant of $592,979.

    The Board also requested the Assembly fund school district at the cap.  The district had an increase of seven students and nine more students who need intensive needs.  They requested an additional $136,385 from the CBJ.

    State legislative priorities this year include a plan for Juneau schools to implement recommendations from the Tlingit Language Revitalization Task Force, more funds to insure more students read at grade level by the end of the third grade.   They suggest funding summer school for second graders who are struggling in reading.  Priorities include early, adequate and predictable funding of public education, support for STEM education, fund for school infrastructure needs,

     

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