Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Dr. Bridget Weiss got an additional three years after a positive evaluation by the School Board.
The new contract runs through June, 2022. The vote was unanimous.
The Board set they got a lot of positive feedback about the performance of Dr. Weiss. Those included strong and consistent communication and outreach with key stakeholder groups, exceptional presence in our schools and community, service on the Mayor's Child Care Task Force on the importance of Pre-K education in Juneau, leadership on the Tlingit Language Revitalization Task Force showing commitment and engagement with the Native community, and responsiveness to teacher and staff concerns.
The Board listed five goals for Dr. Weiss this school year. They are an increase in the number of students reading at grade level by the third grade, enhancement of science, technology, engineering and math programs, increase and improve collaboration between the high schools, strengthen the Tlingit language, culture integration and community partnerships, and an increase in kindergarten readiness with support for early education.
Student enrollment stands at 4,657 students for 2019-2020. The district had projected 4,577 students. The actual enrollment will be finalized in late October. There are 10 more students in the district this year over projections. The board had projected a reduction of 70 students this year.
The increase in enrollment would come in handy due to the uncertainty in state funds this year. The state legislature and the Governor are in court over the issue of forward funding of education and a $30 million legislative operating grant. The Juneau share of this grant is $1 million. It would also require an additional $230,000 from CBJ cap funding.
The increased enrollment of 80 students would generate $807,565 in additional state funding. If the legislature loses the lawsuit and Juneau loses the additional $1.23 million, the actual deficit would be $422,000.
Dr. Weiss said an incident at Floyd Dryden Middle School raised awareness about school safety. Two students made threats against the school. Administrators now have the ability to lock the front door by using a key swab in the main office. The district is also using the program BARK. It is a system of monitoring district student use accounts for excessive profanity, weapon discussion, and threats of harm. Parents also have the option of purchasing this program to monitor their child's personal devices. BARK alerts the district if a student makes a threat of self-harm or harm to others. The board will maintain ALICE training this year. Alice is known as Active Shooter Response Training. Another focus is on cyber safety for staff.
In other actions, the Board approved the hire of seven new teachers.
The Board also supported three resolutions proposed by the Alaska Association of School Boards. They include an educational bill of rights for students that requires the state and University of Alaska to ensure all students in the state receive a quality education.
Another resolution supports a single-payer health care plan for Alaska to reduce the burden of health insurance costs on Alaska public schools.
A third resolution requests the legislature review the legal opinions and decisions of other states to require that state government provide support for public education, leaving the definition of the adequacy of support undefined.