DISTRICT NEWS & NOTES
November 3, 2020
Hello School District Family,
Winter is here in full force!!! I’m loving the snow and temperatures that are warm enough to enjoy fun, outdoor activities. I hope each of you are enjoying the seasonal transition.
Thank you, again, for your incredible support and patience as we continue to move through a global pandemic school year. I’ve heard from many principals that parent-teacher conferences went well. Many plan to continue the Zoom option for conferences even after we return to in-person school because it proved to be a very convenient way for parents to connect with teachers. Principals also tell me students, families and staff continue to grow their remote learning skill sets, and while it’s still not an ideal situation, everybody is doing their best to not only make it work, but to create engaging learning experiences.
With the COVID-19 case rates rising dramatically, I encourage our entire school district community to keep your personal bubbles as small as possible, to maintain 6 feet of social distancing, to consistently wear a mask, and to frequently wash your hands. Being vigilant with these mitigation efforts will go a long way in protecting students, staff and families.
If you do find yourself becoming ill, please do not send students to school sick or come to work sick. There are many test sites now available across the borough, and we encourage everybody who is symptomatic to get tested.
Although the holidays will be very different this year, I look forward to November and December and connecting with staff and families in new ways as we celebrate the season.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board's newly elected members April Smith and Maggie Matheson and re-elected Tim Doran took their Oaths of Office before Judge Lyle on October 26, 2020.
The board has been reorganized as follows:
Timothy Doran, President
Jennifer Luke, Vice President
Erin Morotti, Treasurer
Chrya Sanderson, Clerk
Margaret (Maggie) Matheson, Member
Matthew Sampson, Member
April Smith, Member
Colonel Stuart Williamson, Eielson Representative
Colonel Christopher Ruga, Fort Wainwright Representative
To Be Filled, Regional Student Council Representative
It’s been such a beautiful fall, but winter is here! That means at any time we could experience freezing rain and icy roads in Fairbanks and across the borough.
Even though we are in the middle of a global pandemic, the school district will respond as normal to inclement weather, regardless of our operational zone.
If schools are closed, all students will stay home. There will be no expectation of remote learning because we often experience power outages and many households could have connectivity issues.
If we implement Alternate Bus Stops/Routes, students that are currently attending in person school and riding a bus may have alternate pickup and dropoff locations. Be sure to check the district's Alternate Bus Stops and sign up for Late Bus Notifications.
Families who need another adult to pick up your students from the alternate bus stop at the end of the day should complete a permission slip with your school’s front office now.
If the start of school is delayed to allow more time for travel in the morning, families can find each school’s delayed start schedules on the school website. In the event of a delayed start, schools typically begin 1.5 hours later than normal.
We will utilize all our normal communication platforms to inform families and staff regarding school closures and delayed starts.
More information, including the Inclement Weather Decision-Making Chart and school bus notification information can be found on the district website.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Kids Voting North Alaska is working in conjunction with the District to offer Kids Voting for students in the interior. Students should contact their teacher for a Voter ID. If your teacher isn’t participating, students can also call Teaching & Learning at 452-2000, ext. 11422 for an individual Voter ID. Check out the resources, and learn about Kids Voting contests and scholarships on the Kids Voting page.
Alaska Digital Citizenship Week
Last week, many of our students and teachers participated in the Alaska Digital Citizenship Week. This annual event is dedicated to focusing on the responsible use of technology to engage effectively and ethically in the digital world. Although it’s great to have that annual reminder, users should always be making smart, safe, and kind choices when using digital tools and interacting online.
Our students are adept at discovering how to use a device or program, but they’re still learning how to use these tools appropriately. Being a good Digital Citizen takes practice and requires that all users understand the power of digital tools. “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Parents, teachers, and peers can support our students by modelling positive online interactions, talking to students about positive online habits, and addressing inappropriate behavior or use of the digital tools. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our students to successfully and safely navigate the digital world. To learn more about Digital Citizenship and how you can help your student be successful, check out these resources from Common Sense Education and the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
AMY GALLaWAY: Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence
She is at it again! Congratulations to West Valley High School teacher, Amy Galloway for being selected for a Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.
From the dozens of educators that NEA affiliates select, an expert panel chooses five to receive the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Horace Mann Awardees receive $10,000, and special recognition at the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. The panel selects one of these finalists to receive the NEA Member Benefits award and $25,000 at the gala.
With the recent snowfall, here is the process for snow removal.
After a snowfall the bus drop off and student drop offs are the first priority.
The following evening, work begins on staff and visitor parking lots. This usually takes a couple of nights and then student parking lots are done last.
If it starts snowing with significant accumulation any time during the process, we start over again with the bus and student drop offs.
From the initial snowfall it takes approximately a week to complete snow removal at all locations.
On October 21st, 2020, four student panelists joined the latest installment of the Fairbanks Coalition Builders, Open Circles conversations. Those in attendance were impressed with the clarity the students demonstrated and the practical knowledge that they shared so honestly. The students drew from their own experiences and from their observations and conversations with others.
That evening, student perspectives were elevated by the voices of Jarrenn Littell, Emmanuel Jennings, Ezra Adasiak, and Nanieezh Peter who each responded to questions about diversity, equity and inclusion from their perspective. When asked “How can educators and adults become better listeners and fully engage with you?” They all spoke about the importance real listening and understanding. Ezra said students don’t need “not a pat on the head sympathy, but empathy in action” especially when it comes to dealing with stress as a student during COVID-19. Everyone agreed that students can tell when an adult’s interest and respect is authentic.
Each Open Circle event is different and everyone is welcome to attend. While some of the format remains the same, the conversations go in new directions based on the guest panelist, the questions and who joins the conversation. If you have not attended one of these meetings yet, you will have another opportunity to join us on December 2nd, 2020, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Visit the FNSBSD Diversity Page for more information and a link to the next Open Circle event.
Human Resources is currently offering one-on-one interview coaching, resume/cover letter assistance, and FNSBSD job application assistance. This service is FREE and available to all employees and community members. Interested individuals can schedule a session (Zoom or in-person) with multiple spots available each week.
*Please note that when the District is in the RED Zone, all assistance will be conducted via Zoom*
To sign up, follow these 3 easy steps:
1) Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com: https://signup.com/go/MiagzjA
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone.
For more information on any of these events, contact HR at 11326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Month: Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month
16th-20th: American Education Week
SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION:
School Board Action Reports:
Monday, November 2nd
6:30 pm: School Board Work Session: Chinook Montessori Charter Renewal, Review & Discussion
Tuesday, November 3rd
6:00 pm: School Board Regular Meeting
Friday, November 13th
All Day: InService-No Students
Monday, November 16th
6:30 pm: School Board Work Session: Third Quarter Options
Tuesday, November 17th
6:00 pm: School Board Regular Meeting
Monday, November 30th
6:30 pm: School Board Work Session: North Star Colleg
Tuesday, December 1st
6:00 pm: School Board Regular Meeting
Wednesday, December 2nd
5:00 pm: Open Circles: Conversations Around Issues of Race and Equity: These Open Circles events are open to everyone and are designed to welcome people into an ongoing conversation around current social topics. The goal of each meeting is to raise awareness and provide our community a way to engage in powerful conversations.
Operational Zones and District Medical Advisory Committee
The school district is currently in the Red Operational Zone. The borough case rate trends continue to increase. Those trends were the primary factors considered by the district Medical Advisory Committee this week to make district operational zone determinations. Dr. Mishelle Nace is the committee physician chair and provides regular updates to the Board of Education.