New Year, New Ideas, and Lots To Do

Though we’ve just said goodbye to the 2013 calendar year, we are only halfway through the 2013-2014 school year.     As we begin the second semester, we’ll simultaneously be working to finish this school year well and preparing for next fall.    We will also begin 2014 using our strategic plan to consider how best to navigate this challenging time of transition in our school district, community and state.  Navigating the changes while remaining true to our core values is a deliberate and cooperative task for our entire little corner of Alaska.

One long-view idea we are considering involves leveraging our great community to expand educational opportunities for all of Alaska’s youth.  We have been talking to many fellow community members about the potential of using the Alaska Bible College Campus to host a residential program and rural Alaska academy.    The ideas we’ve been discussing focus on the Copper River Valley offering educational services primarily to students in rural Alaskan communities.   Our concept imagines increasing services to our local students in conjunction with the new programs we would offer statewide.

Our initial contacts with other educational leaders and influencers have encouraged us to draft a request for funds to more thoroughly investigate the opportunities, potential drawbacks, and needed resources.    With the help of Dr. Vickie Willie and Pete Peschang, we have been working on a grant request to be submitted in the first few weeks of the new year.   The CRSD Board of Education will be discussing these general ideas and grant request at the January 7, 2014 Board Meeting at the District-office.

If approved, the planning funds would allow us to dedicate resources for one or more employees to develop our ideas,  create a plan for implementation, and communicate with stakeholders.   At the end of the planning process, the Board of Education will determine if a residential program and/or rural Alaska academy will benefit our local students and provide a quality educational experience to other Alaskan youth.

Once we complete and submit the request for planning funds, we are looking forward to including all interested community members in the discussions.    We will hold meetings to update those interested in the planning process and get feedback.   We will also meet with other local entities that are interested in the proposal and want to share in the vision and possibilities for our community.    We will be inviting some of those interested to serve on a  planning council to help guide the development process.

The enthusiasm and interest that has been expressed thus far has been encouraging.  There are obviously still a lot of details and discussions that need our attention.  Please call, stop by or email us with your questions and ideas.

In our opinion, the Copper River Valley is a wonderful place to teach and learn.

Happy New Year!

CRSD Board of Education Work Session and Regular Meeting

The Copper River School District Board of Education will hold their regularly monthly Board meeting at 6:00PM in the District-Office Board Room on January 7, 2013.   There will be a work session beginning at 5:00PM.   The agendas include:CRSD

Work session:

  • 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 calendars
  • Residential Program Discussion

Regular Board Meeting New Business:

  • Calendars for the 2014-2015 & 2015-2016 School Years
  • 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative Resolution 14-04
  • Residential Program Planning Grant Proposal
  • Classified Hire – Special Education Aide Glennallen Campus
  • Classified Hire – Title I Instructional Aide Glennallen Campus
  • AASB Legislative Fly-In and Youth Leadership Institute

For more information about each agenda item, please visit the online agenda at http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/akcrsd/Board.nsf.

Please note, as part of the agenda, the Board of Education invites public comment on agenda and non-agenda items.

Please join us for the work session and/or regular meeting.

2013-2014 & 2015-2016 Calendar Surveys

As we get ready to celebrate the New Year we are giving you an opportunity to help schedule the next two school years. In keeping with past practice, the Board of Education is providing an extended opportunity for public comment on draft 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school calendars.   By visiting our website at http://www.crsd.us  (or click here) you will find a link to the calendar surveys.  6603043 

The Board of Education will consider all calendar input submitted at a work session on January 7, 2014.    Adoption of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 CRSD school calendars will be on the agenda for the regular monthly board meeting which will begin at 6:00PM on January 7, 2014.   Public comment on agenda and non-agenda items are invited at all regular board meetings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Blog Comments

Opening up the comments section for blog posts is both exciting and intimidating.  It will be exciting to interact with readers on various education policy and news items.  It is a bit intimidating due to the time requirements that may be involved and the tact required to maintain guidelines for an online conversation.    Obviously I don’t want to create more stress in my job than already exists :).  Online conversations and debates are useful, but can only go so far in creating consensus and progress.   

Below are a few guidelines I’ve compiled by looking at other similar blogs and using our existing board policies.   Please note the following:

  • profanity will not be published;
  • complaints about specific personnel will not be published;
  • complaints about specific public officials in our state or federal government will not be published;
  • offensive comments targeted at racial, ethnic or political groups will not be published;
  • spam comments that are clearly off topic will not be published;
  • student names will not be published;
  • complaints about school policies or practices will be published but will not take the place of the formal complaint process outlined in CRSD Board Policy 1312;
  • insinuations and false assumptions regarding motives will not be published;
  • debate will be allowed within civil and respectful individuals;
  • CRSD personnel maintain the right and discretion to review and publish comments based on our judgment;
  • Links to other internet sites are not endorsed by the CRSD.


This blog endeavors to inform, educate and facilitate the exchange of ideas.  The views, opinions and information contained in posts and comments do not represent formal action by the Copper River School District Board of Education.  Their opinions and values are best expressed by the action taken at formal board meetings each month.  You can access the agenda and minutes of Board Meetings by clicking here.   The public is invited to provide comments on agenda and non-agenda items at the beginning of each board meeting.

I enjoy a robust conversation, so I plan to encourage, not limit, the conversation as much as possible.  Much like letters to the editor and the opinion pages in national newspapers, online communication is not an effective conflict resolution strategy (hint hint KTUU and GCI).   Ultimately, I hope the online dialogue sets an example for our students of a deliberate conversation by people with varying opinions.  If we don’t set a positive example of the civic process, the evening news shows will.

If you have any feedback, ideas, or suggestions regarding guidelines for a school-district sponsored online conversation please share them in the comments section below. 

Superintendent Snippets

For the past year we have worked hard to upgrade our district’s website.  Much has been accomplished but we have hopes of doing much more as part of our effort to connect our schools, families and community.   

Our blogs have been a work in progress.  Our vision for the blogs has evolved with use.  We have observed that school blogs are appreciated as a source of school news and announcements.  Each school blog is linked to the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages.  “The Current” was originally created to be a place for district-wide news and announcements.   We have struggled to give it its own identity while not overshadowing the individual school blogs.

Our plan going forward is to continue supporting “The Current” as a place for district-wide announcements and news.  Additionally, we will also use it to continue passing along announcements from other community organizations that serve students and youth.

Another need that has become apparent is a blog that facilitates an easily accessible forum for policy news, explanations, and requests for comment.   As we’ve monitored the use and feedback from our school blogs, we have decided to experiment with a separate superintendent’s blog.

“Superintendent Snippets” will primarily focus on policy, education news, highlights and district-wide administrative issues.   I imagine I’ll also periodically share pictures, stories and other observations from my perspective as I travel about the district.  There’s a story to be told every time I visit one our classrooms – especially kindergarten.  We have dedicated teachers and wonderful students, the perfect recipe for a good story.

At times other district-wide staff and board members may blog on this site.   Teachers and support staff may also be asked to share their perspectives on various policy and education news items.   Finding opinions won’t be hard.  Finding people with the time and desire to write and the courage to publish is anot1386984296her story.  


All of the above is accomplished by amateurs.  None of us are social media experts.  All of us have full-time responsibilities.  Some of us take a long time to write.  Our other daily responsibilities don’t become more manageable because we blog.    We do hope that you’ll be better informed, more encouraged to give us feedback, and feel genuinely connected to our school district.

We’ll try to post regularly.  Be patience with us.  There are times when deadlines and quick turn-arounds required by the state and federal government will occupy more time than you think.  We’ll try to get ahead, develop routines and keep interacting with the blog, including your comments.  


Please use the comments section below to offer your own ideas and suggestions for future blog posts. 

Thanks,
Michael Johnson