Board of Education meets

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The agenda included the board calendar for 2018-2019 and a discussion on school safety and security.

    The kindergarten pre-registration numbers total 237 students.  Glacier Valley Elementary had the most students, 50, and Sayeik, Gastineau Community School had 48 students registered.  Auke Bay had 46 students, Juneau Community Charter School 11, Mendenhall River Community School 29, Harborview Elementary 24, Montessori Borealis Public Alternative School nine, and Riverbend Elementary School 20 students.

    Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller honored retired officer Blane Hatch for his work on behalf of Juneau Schools.  "They provide very important roles to keep the schools safe.  They serve as teacher, counselor and cop for students from kindergarten to high school every day."

    The officers provide guest lectures on bike safety, stranger danger, forensic science and the drug awareness resistance education also known as DARE. 

    Sarah Jahn will succeed David Means as Director of Administrative Services. 

    Board President Brian Holst said he appreciated the CBJ Assembly decision to fund the Juneau Douglas High School Automotive Program for $40,000 this year.

    While the football program debt has been paid off at JDHS, the Thunder Mountain football program debt remains at $96,000.  The two schools will field a joint football team this year.

    Mr. Scott Nelson was named principal at Riverbend Elementary School.

    The Board decided to hold several board meetings for the 2018-2019 school year at Thunder Mountain High School.

    A family engagement coordinator position will help connect with area families.   A five year grant of $2.2 million will pay for the costs.  It was written by the Alaska Association of School Boards.  It is called the STEP grant.  Seven communities are involved in the funding Juneau, Sitka, Hoonah, Angoon, Kake, Klukwan and Hydaburg.  .  Board member Andi Storey said one of the focuses should be the transition from middle school to high school.  Another focus will be college readiness.  The schools hosted a meeting June 12 to discuss collective thinking and exploration of solutions.  The emphasis is to collaborate and coordinate together. 

    Mr. Holst said he was pleased the district is proactive with groups outside the schools.  "It is critical to the success of our schools.  We must recognize that we can't do it alone."  He said the community partners are all interested in advancing the condition of youth in this community.

    There were 2,669 discipline actions this past year.  There were 2,338 discipline referrals for the 2016-2017 school year.  There has been an overall decrease over time.  The 2014-2015 school year was the low point with 2,588 referrals.  There have been fewer at middle schools and high schools.  The school with the most referrals was Glacier Valley with 723.  There were 28 drug related incidents with 27 of them related to marijuana this year.  There were also 11 incidents that involved a weapon.  Police got involved in 44 positions and six involved EMS.  Unsafe and disruptive behavior were the most common problem with 386 incidents documented this year.  In school suspensions dropped from 103 in 2015-2016 to 48 in 2017-2018.  The number of out of school suspensions dropped from 2018 in 2015-2016 to 134 in 2017-2018.

    Supt. Miller said the six year capital improvement plan was approved by the facilities committee.   He said roof projects will be a priority.

    Board member Dan DeBartolo reported new high tech locks would cost $450 apiece plus the cost of installation.  Some teachers had expressed concerns that some classrooms doors don't lock.  He suggested the board hold a retreat that discussed school security.

    "It was more common that we thought it would be," Board member Emil Mackey added.  He said training is also apart of new security measures.

    Steve Whitney said at Parkland School they lacked student counselors, basically three times the recommended average.  He said his concern is the focus on hardware would miss the overall broad picture.  "There may be more effective ways to actually approach this.  I would hate to put $5 million to make a building secure when $50,000 could help find kids in trouble."

    Ms. Story said the CBJ and the school administration are working on school security assessments.  She said a Board retreat would be a good way to discuss ideas.  "We want the public to be informed."

    Holst said he wanted to provide deliberate attention to this issue until each member was satisfied with the solutions.

    Dr. Miller said a safety and security plan might be best addressed by various committees of the board.

     

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