Meet the CRSD – Tim Shumway

Each month the CRSD Snippets will highlight one of our dedicated employees.   We will randomly draw a name so that every employee in the district has the opportunity to be recognized for his or her unique and essential role in providing a quality education in our rural environment.   This month, we are pleased to present Mr. Tim Shumway.

Name: Tim ShumwayTim Shumway


Birthday: August 20th

Role in the CRSD: Junior-High and High School English and Social Studies

Primary Campus: Kenny Lake School

Years in the CRSD: Started in 2012-2013

Where else have you taught?

Johnnie John Sr. School – Crooked Creek, Alaska
Aniak Jr./Sr. High School – Aniak, Alaska
Mt. Blue Middle School – Farmington, Maine

Where are you originally from? Farmington, Maine

Favorite Book/Author/TV Show: Leaves of Grass by: Walt Whitman

Favorite Music Genre: Bluegrass/Americana

Favorite Place in Alaska: Too hard to pick just one-any wild river, any snowy mountaintop

Favorite Place Outside of Alaska: My home state of Maine, specifically the crystal clear lakes and beautiful pine forests

Hobbies: Rafting, fishing, road trips, fantasy football

Favorite Aspect of Teaching: The motivation and dedication of the staff and students – it is fun to work with such driven adults and kids!

One Interesting Thing About You That Might Be Surprising: I don’t remember what I look like without a beard.

Favorite Beverage: Diet Pepsi

Favorite Snack: Salt & Vinegar Chips

In One Sentence, What Advice Do You Have for Students? Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know,” but have the courage to go and find the answer!

Mr. Shumway started working in the Copper River School District in 2012.   Send him an email, buy him a Diet Pepsi or take him to a bluegrass concert to let him know how much we appreciate him serving students and families in the CRSD.

Advisory School Boards

One of the best resources for accountability and support in the Copper River School District is a seemingly little-known group of parents that meet regularly at each school.   These groups, unique to each school, invest many hours during the school year to stay up-to-date on policies, budgets and school activities.   Known as the ASB, these Advisory School Boards function under the direction of the CRSD Board of Education.crsd logo

Board Policy 8000 states that:

The Advisory School Board shall seek to learn the will of the people of the community and to represent their interests in actions taken by the Advisory School Board.

The Advisory School Board shall develop an effective working relationship with the school personnel, particularly the principal or designee. The administration and the Advisory School Board are expected to work together cooperatively for the betterment of the local school. This relationship should ideally be modeled on the relationship between the School Board and Superintendent, i.e., the principal shall be the executive officer of the Advisory School Board and administrative head of all parts of the school.

The ASB provides three primary functions: 1) Advise – give input and suggestions on policy and process related issues; 2) Listen – listen to and consider the opinions and input of constituents in the school community; 3) Partner – support and collaborate with the principals, teachers and school staff.   Creative ideas and challenging issues are best resolved at the classroom and school level. The ASB functions as a direct connection between the Board of Education and families. In many instances, ASBs have also provided a suggestion or question that has helped the BOE implement effective policies and solutions.

Each time the ASB meets, public announcements are sent out through the school office.   ASB meetings are open to anyone willing to attend and participate.   Their agendas are timely and pertinent to current events and issues.   You can also contact individual ASB members to share your opinion and provide suggested solutions for various issues and policy questions.   Communicating with local ASB members is also a great way to stay informed.

Below is a list of ASB Members and their email addresses.   You can also find their contact information on the school’s website.

Glennallen School

Janice Maslen –

Jamie Matthews –

Dollie Waters –

Kenny Lake School

Fred Dahl – (via Shaun Streyle)

Marnie Graham –

Robin Underwood –

Slana School

Amanda Abraham –

Tammy Boutte –

Darla Loomis – (via Linda Bates)

Upstream Learning

Becki Buss –

Kari Rogers –

Kelly Shorten –


My paternal grandmother was a sharecropper in middle Tennessee.   She grew up in severe poverty and received only a basic elementary education.   She became an adult during the depression era.   Yet, despite spending most of her time farming and canning, she had beautiful handwriting.     With her hands she could dig potatoes, hand-wash laundry in scalding water, and yet peel an apple so thin you could almost see through the peelings.   And, she could write beautifully.   She corresponded with friends through handwritten letters that were excellent in both form and prose.    

If she were still alive today, I’m sure she would still be writing letters.   Unfortunately, I’m afraid some of her descendants would have a hard time reading her attractive cursive, and I know many of her great-grandchildren would be unable to pen a legible response.  

Most of us don’t write much by hand anymore.   We sign a few checks here and there, maybe take a few notes, but very rarely do most people write a long-form letter or document by hand in this day and age.   Most will agree, handwriting is in decline and because we write so little as adults, it will probably only get worse.   So, what does this mean for handwriting instruction in school?

First, let’s be clear: We are still teaching handwriting in the Copper River School District, both print and cursive.   We plan to continue teaching these skills.   Students start learning to write in kindergarten and are expected to write legibly through 12th grade.  

Nationally, there is a debate about the place of handwriting instruction in the curriculum.   Neuroscientists and educators are conducting research to pinpoint the specific benefits of handwriting and keyboarding in the learning process.   Though more research is needed, the early indications are that handwriting and keyboarding activate different parts of the brain.   Both have benefits, but in different ways.   So far, the research confirms what veteran educators have known for years: Writing by hand is helpful in the learning process.  

When a student writes, he/she has to slow down, focus and think more carefully about the subject.   A common complaint in math class is, “Why do I have to write out the problem?”   The answer? Because rushing through the problem will result in careless mistakes.   Taking the time to copy the problem is part of the mental process of getting from the problem to the solution. The same principle applies to other subjects.   Rushing through the learning process leads to careless thinking.   Writing by hand helps us think more carefully.

Among other things, handwriting also aides in memorization.     The articles linked below list some other benefits, including giving students the confidence necessary to keep learning.

The fact is, handwriting and keyboarding are both important skills for students in the 21st century. To neglect either will hinder students.   The next time your student has homework that requires a hand written response, check their handwriting.   If it is sloppy, ask them to rewrite it. It is good exercise!

Below are links to related articles: – The many health perks of good handwriting. – What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades – Printing, cursive, keyboarding: What’s the difference when it comes to learning?