Summer Activities – Snippets 5-29-14

School is out and summer fun has already begun.   Teachers and administrators worked over Memorial Day weekend to clean-up, pack-up and complete all the paperwork associated with the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year.

Schools in the CRSD will be closed over the summer for cleaning and maintenance.   A few pre-scheduled events will be taking place at one or more campuses as arranged by other organizations and community groups.

The CRSD District Office will be open most of the summer Monday-Thursday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

Please check our website for school supply lists and other 2014-2015 school year related information.   Our Facebook page and blogs will be periodically updated with information and announcements throughout the summer.

Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are partnering with other community organizations to host many great summer activities for youth. The fun starts on May 28, 29, and 30th with the Youth Environmental Summit at the Copper Center School field.   For a list of other WISE/BLM events, please visit our website at or the WISE website at

All of us at the CRSD wish you and your family a safe and happy summer.

Snippets 5-22-14

As predicted, the graduation ceremonies at Kenny Lake, Glennallen, and Slana Schools were spectacular. Families, friends, faculty, staff and students all celebrated together the graduates of 2014 with lots of smiles, handshakes, hugs, and photographs that you’ll see in this week’s Copper River Record.

Again this year several members of the CRSD team will be either moving into new roles or leaving the district for other opportunities. There will be parties, pictures, and pats-on-the-back as these folks transition into new jobs, locations, and positions in the district. Please check our website for pictures of the parties and tributes to these individuals.

Though the students and teachers will be enjoying vacation this summer, there will still be a lot happening in the district and community. To stay informed of summer board meetings and preparations for the 2014-2015 school year, please visit our web page. We’ll also be using our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and email to keep you current on CRSD news.

Thanks to several local organizations, there will be great learning opportunities for students in the community. BLM, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, W.I.S.E. And local tribal councils will be conducting camps and other outdoor events. Please visit their websites for more information. The CRSD will also post announcements sent our way for these types of events on our Facebook page.

The work of the 2013-2014 school year was accomplished by cooperation between homes and schools. Thank you to all who have contributed time, effort and thought into making the CRSD a great place to learn.

Featured: Info for Parents | OnGuard Online

Featured: Info for Parents | OnGuard Online.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 4.32.41 is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.”

The internet has opened up many wonderful ways to communicate and learn.   Rural Alaskans are especially fortunate to be able to connect with family and friends using Skype, FaceTime and other video-calling web services.   As with other areas of life, the benefits of the internet will be exploited by deviant people.

The CRSD employees aggressive filtering software and policies to protect our students and their information.

Responsible parents will also employee a variety of measures to protect their families online.   “ is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.”  

If you haven’t already, please follow this link to take the first step in protecting your family for online dangers.   Summer vacation is great time to implement safeguards for online activity.

Re-post of Snippets from April 28 with Extended Review Dates

As I’ve noted here before, the teachers and staff in the Copper River School District focus on answering five essential questions for every student, every day.    Those questions are:


1) What do we want students to know and do?   Answer:  Effective Curriculum

2) How will we teach them what we want them to know and do?  Answer:  Effective Instruction

3) How will we know if they’ve learned what we want them to know and do?  Answer:  Effective Assessment

4) What if they don’t learn it?  Answer:  Effective Interventions

5) What if they already know it?  Answer:  Effective Enrichment


To answer question number one, Alaskan school districts begin with the Alaska English Language Arts and Math Standards, which are very similar to the Common Core Standards and used for the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.  These standards articulate expectations for students in each grade level leading to college and career readiness upon graduation.      Alaskan students in grades 3-10 will be assessed on these standards beginning next school year.

Using the Alaska and Common Core Standards as a basis, teachers in the CRSD select curricular materials that will assist them in teaching the standards and preparing students for next year’s state assessments.    Sample resources from several vendors, including traditional textbook and digital-based resources,  have been requested for teacher, parent, and community review.

Beginning next week through the summer, those sample resources will be available for review at the CRSD district offices between 8:00-4:00PM, Monday through Thursday. In addition, links to online resources will be available via the CRSD website.  Those reviewing the materials will also have the opportunity to submit comments that will be reviewed by the Board of Education’s curriculum committee.

Depending on the feedback as well as teacher and administrator input, the Board may vote to approve one or more curriculum vendors at the June or July Board meeting.  At their April meeting, the Digital Learning Resources Committee recommended to continue using Edgenuity as a curriculum vendor for the 2014-2015 school year.  The Board approved the committee’s recommendation at the regular May Board meeting.   To keep up with state requirements and provide an internationally competitive education well into the future, the CRSD will continue to review, adopt and effectively implement relevant curricular materials.

Teachers draw upon multiple resources to deliver instruction that prepares students to successfully complete classroom assignments and equips them for yearly growth.   Whatever resources are adopted for classroom use, our teachers and staff will spend countless hours tailoring their instruction to meet the needs of each individual student.

If you have any questions regarding the sample curricular materials, please contact Tammy Van Wyhe, Director of Teaching and Learning Support.   You can also find out more by visiting our webpage at

Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate in the curriculum review process.


The Most Optimistic Night of the Year

Last week in this space we celebrated educators.  This week we get to celebrate graduates.  A lot has changed in the brief time these students have been in school and yet, people frequently point out how quickly the time has passed.

Just 15 days after this year’s seniors started kindergarten, the world changed dramatically on September 11, 2001.     Back then they were too little to remember much about that eventful day.   Now, as they are finishing high school, the world they are entering continues to be changed by the war on terror, the fight for liberty and an economy that has become increasingly global over the last thirteen years.

Even in our little corner of the world, life has changed since the first day of school on August 27, 2001.   When this year’s graduates entered kindergarten, there were 716 students in the CRSD as compared to a projected 424 for next year.   In 2014 the CRSD has approximately 30% fewer employees than it did in 2001.   During the autumn when this year’s graduates started kindergarten, the Copper Valley was just beginning to feel the impact of a declining oil production with the closing of pump stations.   Now, the loss of jobs, increased cost of energy and economic recession have left a lasting mark.

So while considering all of these changes, it is a good time to ask some questions about the K-12 education these students have received between 2001 and 2014.    As the graduates make decisions about the future, we must ask, are they prepared?   Has living in the Copper Valley equipped them to live, work and raise a family?  Will they be good citizens and contribute positively to 21st century society?   Is our little corner of Alaska still a desirable place to raise children that will live in a world very different from the one that existed just fifteen years ago?  For us in the CRSD, we ask, are our programs, policies and classrooms adequate for a world that is changing?   As parents and guardians, we all ask, have we instilled the values and relationships that will make life abundant?  I look forward to the graduates themselves answering these questions for us.

Change is often difficult and in the brief time between kindergarten and 12th grade our graduates have grown up in a period of historic transition.   If the changes in the world cause you to worry, take time to attend one of the CRSD’s graduations this week.   I can think of no evening with more optimism than when graduates walk into the room, receive their diplomas, and celebrate the potential for their futures.    I guarantee, you’ll leave the ceremony with a smile and lots of reasons to celebrate the class of 2014.