Meet the CRSD – Barb Doty

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 Barb Doty.

Barb DotyName: Barb Doty


Birthday: February 4th

Role in the CRSD: Librarian and Technology Assistant 

Primary Campus: Kenny Lake School

Where are you originally from? Colorado

Favorite Book/Author/TV Show: S.E. Grove

Favorite Music Genre: Contemporary Christian

Favorite Place in Alaska: Kenny Lake. It is home. It is beautiful, peaceful, magnificent and the people are wonderful as well.

Favorite Place Outside of Alaska: Germany. I lived there for about 2 1/2 years and it was an amazing experience.

Hobbies: Cooking, Gardening

Favorite Aspect of Teaching: Being able to greet the students when they get off the bus in the morning with a smile to get their day started. I am Blessed to have a great staff to work with.

One Interesting Thing About You That Might Be Surprising: I find pleasure in being able to do something nice for someone else.

Favorite Beverage: Coffee

Favorite Snack: Nuts

In One Sentence, What Advice Do You Have for Students? Do not get behind on your school work!

Barb Doty started working in the Copper River School District in 2006.   Ask anyone at Kenny Lake School and they’ll quickly tell you how hard Mrs. Doty works to keep things running smoothly. Send Mrs. Doty an email, buy her a coffee or take her a can of nuts to let her know how much we appreciate all she does to serve students and families in the CRSD.

Building Legos – September 17, 2015 Snippets

Who doesn’t like Legos?   Mom and Dad may not like Legos very much after stepping on one, but other than those occasions, even adults like to build things with Legos.

I loved Legos when I was a kid. I still like them.   Legos are a very versatile toy.   If you’re playing hot wheels, you can make garages. If you’re playing dolls, you can make a house. If you’re playing army and need to bomb the enemy, Legos can serve as both the ammunition and target.

This past Christmas, we, and I do mean kids and grown-ups, enjoyed several new boxes of Legos.   (FYI: Grandparents sometimes don’t know when to quit buying.)   My job during construction was to locate the small, hard to find pieces. While watching the building process, in this case an airplane, Legos reminded me of the progress and pitfalls of the 21st century’s version of curricular resources.

Screenshot 2015-09-14 11.47.26
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When I was young I remember Legos coming in a big box.   We had to use our imaginations to build something. These days, I think too much imagining is done for kids.   Now, most Legos you buy still come in a box, but typically with a picture of something from the latest movie. In the box there is a little booklet with step-by-miniscule step instructions.   The imagining comes after the building.   When I was a kid, even the building part came from our imaginations.

Technology advancements, whether in Legos or education, offer many benefits, but we must be deliberate.  We know this from our experience with other technologies.   The automobile, for example, is a wonderful technological advancement and has no doubt improved our lives.   But even something that we now take for granted did not come without pitfalls.   Our great-great grandparents walked more.   They visited longer when they went somewhere.   Before cars, people were more thoughtful about where they went and why. We weren’t dependent on oil and there was less smog.   Over time we have recognized some of these drawbacks and worked to minimize the negative impacts.   Research and development were applied to exhaust systems to make emissions cleaner.   Cars are getting more and more fuel efficient.     We are constantly encouraged to exercise.   Technology will continue to advance, but so should our understanding of how it impacts our lives.

If not careful, educational technology can become like instructions in a new box of Legos.   Kits are great, but they should nurture imagination and creativity, not replace them. Likewise, in order to nurture students’ creativity and imaginations, we should be specific in what we teach them about English, Math, Science and History.   Technology in the CRSD benefits the learning process through accountability, access and media.   I’m extremely proud of our teachers who are using it skillfully while minimizing the drawbacks.   Teachers are spending even more time interacting with individual students regarding content and learning skills.   In some cases, teachers have used technology to foster cooperative learning with classmates and even Skype in famous authors from far away places.   Like the car, educational technology will offer exciting opportunities and take us places we could not go without it.   We just have to make sure we know where we want to go and drive carefully.

The next time you see Legos, buy a box and use them to teach your student a valuable lesson.   As they’re building their new toy, tell them that’s the way school should be.   Legos don’t build themselves. Their teacher will provide the blocks or show where to get them, but students must do the building.   Talk with your child about the benefits and drawbacks that technology has in school, at home, in science and in other parts of society.   And then, after they’ve played with the new Lego toy, take it apart, put the instructions away, and see what they can imagine.

Now, whether you admit it or not, you’re itching to go build something with Legos.

Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say – The Washington Post

This article  from The Washington Post asks some very important questions.

“We can’t turn back,” Wolf said. “We should be simultaneously reading to children from books, giving them print, helping them learn this slower mode, and at the same time steadily increasing their immersion into the technological, digital age. It’s both. We have to ask the question: What do we want to preserve?”

Even as we incorporate technology-based resources into our curriculum, it is important that teachers provide students with paper-based reading selections.   Teachers in the CRSD have thoughtfully and deliberately designed their instruction around a balanced integration of technology that includes paperback reading materials and traditional textbooks.  Screenshot 2015-07-06 15.44.35

Adults can also take away some valuable considerations from this article by balancing our reading between short social-media length updates and long-form text.

I am interested in your thoughts about balancing what “we should preserve” and our society’s increasing immersion into technology.   Use the comments link below.
Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say – The Washington Post.

2015 School Board Candidate Statements – Snippets

School Board elections often fly under the radar.   The ballots often arrive during the busy hunting season and must be submitted by mail.   According to the Alaska Division of Elections website, turnout for the 2014 school board elections was 13.21% of the registered voters.

This year we have four candidates running for the CRSD Board of Education.   Each candidate was asked to respond to the following question: “What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Copper River School District Board of Education?”   This week’s edition of the CRSD Snippets is an opportunity for the candidates to speak directly to you, the voter.   Here are their statements as submitted (in alphabetical order, ladies first):

Jaime Matthews (Section I Seat B)

Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community, teachers, staff, and students by running for the CRSD Board of Education. I have been a very active parent in the CRSD the last nine years, playing various roles in our PTO, Advisory School Board, Technology Advisory Committee, and several of the activities my children have been involved in.

Screenshot 2015-09-09 09.33.18As a future board member, I look forward to providing input and working alongside the administration on the challenges and opportunities our district faces. Decreased funding and increased regulation are two big challenges. It is important to be efficient and get the maximum benefit out of each dollar for the district as a whole. As more regulation is implemented, this is a burden on smaller schools. Finding a way to partner with other school districts would allow the CRSD to meet the regulations at a shared cost.

Although we have some challenges, we also have many opportunities. A great community combined with wonderful teachers help shape our students to be responsible, well educated adults. Education is always changing and I look forward to helping shape that change for our school district.

 Cheryl Sparks (Section I Seat B)

As a member of the CRSD Board of Education, I would like to continue working for the community by creating a stable board presence. I feel continuity in any environment is very important so that you can continue to grow your programs. Right now, even in a very unstable economy, the school district is continuing forward, bringing more opportunities for students.

Forward thinking in a fast paced, ever changing world is the challenge that our staff at the school district faces every day and are doing an excellent job at meeting head on. They have increased the student numbers in the vocational education classes by moving away from the traditional class schedule to a new innovative schedule. Offering more online classes and academies through Chugach has opened many more opportunities than would ever have been possible in a district our size.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported me in the past, and would ask again that you give me the opportunity to be a part of the great team at the Copper River School District.

James Fields (Section I Seat C)

As a member of the CRSD Board of Education, I will continue to work towards improving the opportunities of our students and also work toward increasing student achievement. In a time of financial uncertainty it is critical that the CRSD continue to improve what we have now, and also be looking at what’s next in education. The Copper River School District is known throughout the state as a district of high integrity both in administration and education. It is my goal to continue pushing our district in a direction that will benefit every student that has the opportunity to be educated in our great district and community.

Increasing achievement in every student is a task that takes much more than board members; it takes every person in the school and community. It takes a culture surrounding students that says, “we expect more and we will help you get there.” That’s what I want every student to feel. I want the Copper Basin to have a culture of high expectations for our students so that they can achieve more than they think they can. Please help me in making this a reality in every student’s experience here in our community.

Mark Somerville (Section II Seat E)

I have lived full-time in the Copper Basin since 2006 and my three children attended Kenny Lake School from grade school through graduation. I have served on the CRSD Board of Education for three years. Over those 3 years the CRSD has gone through significant changes. Enrollment has dropped in all our schools; state standards have changed with increased expectations for our students and teachers; our curriculum materials have become outdated and required renewal; and our budgets have been greatly reduced. These changes have required the CRSD to seek new directions and most importantly new resources through which to provide content to our students so they may graduate prepared for their futures, whether they be college or workforce bound.

The future for the CRSD looks to have many of these same challenges to contend with. My role as a school board member will be to review and vote on the direction the district will go to overcome these challenges. The CRSD must provide the broadest and most challenging opportunities it can for our students. We must also ensure our schools remain the integral part of the community they have always striven to be.

On behalf of our students and community, I offer a special “thank you” to each of the candidates for running for the CRSD Board of Education. Please remember to send in your ballots by October 6th.

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids How Was School Today Without Asking “So, How Was School Today?”

When you ask your child, “How was your day at school?”, what kind of response do you get?   Parents often want to know more than kids are ready to share.   Probably, at one time or another, every student has responded with a one word answers like, “fine”, “boring”, “great”, or hopefully not often, “terrible.”   Now that school has started, I hope this link will help with suggestions for how to ask “how was school today” in different ways to get a more enlightening response.   Let me know how it goes – use the comments link below.

Screenshot 2015-07-06 15.21.0825 Ways To Ask Your Kids How Was School Today.

September 3, 2015 Snippets – General Update

This week’s CRSD Snippets is a general update.   Please call or email your school Principal or the Superintendent’s office with any questions regarding the following news items.


The 2015-2016 is off to a great start. Here are just a few of the exciting highlights making the first weeks of school particularly exciting:

  • Students, Students, Students!;
  • There is a full schedule of shop classes for the semester, including: industrial enterprise, small engines/automotive, welding, construction trades, aluminum fabrication, woodworking;
  • Further good news related to vocational education is that, due to the Trek-based schedule, every vocational education course is at maximum enrollment!   Given the opportunity in their schedules, students will take shop classes;
  • Also due to the new schedule that provides students with more flexibility, we have less enrollment in online courses than at this same time last year;
  • Teachers were able to begin the year with training in traditional and technology-based resources for their classroom instructional programs;
  • Teachers have more and updated instructional tools to use in their classrooms;
  • More resources for parents and students have been added to;
  • We welcomed 10 new employees in the CRSD;
  • We have over 71 students new to the CRSD (including kindergartners);


By the end of the first week of school, schools reported a total district-wide enrollment of 426.   Here’s the breakdown:

  • Slana School – 13
  • Kenny Lake School – 76
  • Glennallen Junior/Senior High School – 162
  • Glennallen Elementary School – 126
  • Upstream Learning – 49


Last spring the CRSD Board of Education approved the purchase of two new activity buses that meet the federal requirements for student transportation.   The buses have been shipped and will arrive within the next couple of weeks.   The utilization of these safety-enhanced vehicles will provide more secure transport for students participating in activities outside the CRSD.


In 2014, the Alaska Legislature granted funds for the Copper River School District to study the feasibility of a residential-type program based on the former campus of Alaska Bible College.   The completed study is now available on our website at   You can download the file as a PDF or for iBooks.Screenshot 2015-09-03 14.33.54

The CRSD Board of Education invites your feedback regarding the report and potential residential school.   You can submit comments by email or at one of the Board’s monthly public meetings.   The Board will discuss the report and consider next steps during the work session on September 8th at 5:00PM.


The CRSD Board of Education will meet at the district-office conference room on Tuesday, September 8th for a work session and regular meeting.   The work session will included a report on student learning data, report on the start of school, and an update on the Trek-based schedule.   The regular business meeting agenda will include monthly reports and approval for new classified hires. The work session begins at 5:00PM and the regular meeting at 6:00PM.   The CRSD Board of Education meets monthly, usually on the first Tuesday.   Board agendas and minutes can be accessed through BoardDocs at

Important Dates:
(please check the web calendar for times and up-to-date information)

  • September 4th – Blending-Learning Parent Information Session at Kenny Lake School Hosted by Tim Shumway (visit for more information)
  • September 5th – GHS Cross Country Meet at Palmer
  • September 7th – Labor Day, No School
  • September 8th – Board Meeting and Work Session
  • September 10th – GHS Parents of Seniors Meeting 5:30PM
  • September 12th – GHS Cross Country Meet at Seward
  • September 17th-18th Hunting Break, No School
  • September 21st – Inservice, No School
  • September 23rd – WISE Changing Seasons at Kenny Lake School
  • October 1st – GES Visiting Author – Cindy Aillaud “Recess at 20 Below”