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!