This week’s Snippets is a “quick update” version.
- Legislative Session – The Governor’s omnibus education bill, now called the “Education Opportunity Act” has been making substantial progress through the AK Legislature. The bill (SB139 and HB278) has passed out of both the Senate and House Education Committees. The bill has several school reform components, including an increase to the base-student-allocation, replacement of the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam, tax credits for education, and a provision allowing students to test out of high school courses. A separate retroactive bill repealing the HSGQE has been passed by the Alaska House of Representatives. Other stand-alone funding bills have also been introduced. You can learn more about the bill at http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/priorities/education/alaskas-education-opportunity-act.html.
- Budget – As explained in last week’s Snippets, the budget process largely depends on knowing how much revenue we will receive in FY15. School staff, administrators and other interested community members are discussing various scenarios and ideas for budget and staffing. April is a busy month in the process as the legislative session nears a conclusion. Please visit our website for more budget related information or call, email or schedule an appointment to discuss budget ideas and questions. Also, please consider writing or calling our legislators to let them know that an increase in education funding will provide badly needed relief during this time of economic challenge in our community.
- Staffing – Directly related to the budget is the amount of staff we can hire each year. It is understandable that each school is eager to know what staffing decisions will be required due to funding levels, enrollment and resignations. It is also expected that the district will have to make cuts due to dropping enrollment. The Board Personnel Committee, Administrators, and school communities will be involved in staffing decisions as the legislature passes funding bills. Please visit the district’s webpage or contact your local school office to find out when the ASB/PTO will be discussing the school’s FY15 budget.
- True North Academy – By the time you read this Snippets, the Board will have had a work session and voted on a new track of educational opportunity within our Upstream Learning Home Education Program. True North Academy is designed to offer students the opportunity to take online courses to fulfill graduation requirements and qualify for the Alaska Performance Scholarship. If the Board approves True North Academy, students can enroll full or part-time in True North Academy and choose from almost 250 different courses. Look for a new True North Academy website with more information soon.
- The Digital Learning Resources and Policy Committee will be meeting soon (or has met since the writing of this Snippets) to make a recommendation about the use of Edgenuity for the 2014-2015 school year. The meeting will (or has been) announced on our website, email, Facebook and local radio stations. The committee has heard a wide range of input from school staff, parents, and students. For more information about digital learning, please visit our website at: http://www.crsd.us/digital-learning-resources–research.html.
- Speaking of digital learning opportunities, the Alaska Staff Development Network, universities, and other entities are increasingly emphasizing opportunities to train teachers how to best “blend” their classrooms with digital curriculum resources. We are also developing a targeted and focused staff-development plan for the 2014-2015 school year that will support teachers using technology and the internet in their classrooms.
- Student Handbook – The CRSD Student Handbook is currently going through the revision process in preparation for publishing the 2014-2015 edition. If you have any suggested revisions, please call or email them to your local school principal. They will meet with their ASB’s and staff to review the suggestions and forward recommendations to the Board of Education Policy Committee.
- 2014-2015 Scheduling – Administrators and teachers are working on ideas for the 2014-2015 high school schedule. Though limited in their ability to make final decisions until a FY15 budget is adopted, they are looking at student needs and available staffing. Our goal is to complete the scheduling process by the last day of school for all returning 9-12 students.
If you have any questions or comments about the above Snippets, please call or email at 822-3234 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay informed by subscribing to our Facebook page, blogs and email list.
The Board of Education normally meets the first Tuesday of each month to conduct business. The Board invites public comments at the beginning of each meeting.
Enjoy the Spring and thank you for taking time to read the Snippets each week.