Sayéik GastiNEWS

December 16, 2021

Winter Break: December 23 - January 5

Staff Inservice January 6-7 (NO STUDENT ATTENDANCE)

Hello Sayéik: Gastineau families,

Happy Winter Wonderland! It's hard to believe we are days away from Winter Break!

Our wonderful staff has been busy completing mid-year assessments with students. It has been amazing to see the academic growth in our students.

A special thank you to the entire SGCS community for your support and flexibility this semester as we have weathered the ups and downs of the pandemic. We have all worked together to ensure that the health and safety of our kids remain the top priority and for that, I am very thankful.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2022!


Counselor’s Corner

It is so good to be back with your children in person. Thank you for sharing them with us; they truly are treasures! As we close out our first semester, I wanted to share some things from the counseling room and some general observations about our return to school.

Our weekly counseling lessons always focus on some element of Social Emotional Learning. In the K-2 classes we have been building understanding about differences and similarities and working on celebrating our differences. We have played games and interviewed our peers about ways in which we are similar and different. These lessons will lead into discussions about understanding conflict as a normal part of life and ways to deal with conflict in a healthy way.

In the intermediate classes, we have been doing some community building through games and discussions. I have been especially focused on using community circles as a way for everyone to have a voice. We are just beginning our lessons around conflict and I have enjoyed hearing student comments about their struggles with conflicts in their lives.

Finally, I would like to share some general observations. I imagine you, like us at school, have found the return to in-person full-time school a mixed bag. It is so joyful to have all the life back in the building - schools aren’t made to be without students - but things are also challenging. We are noticing more peer difficulties (hence the team building and conflict lessons). This is certainly understandable after a long time without regular socialization. We are also noticing that many kids are TIRED! I have supported more students this year by having them take a nap than in all my 7 years prior combined! Please be sure your student is getting ample sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of sleep for children aged 6-12. They also recommend ending any screen time 60 minutes before bedtime. For more information, this is a great article with suggestions for sleep routines:

Many thanks for the gifts you send to us each day. My best wishes for a healthy, joyous, and peaceful holiday season for your family.

Please feel free to reach out any time!

Deb Spencer, School Counselor



Is your child missing a coat, gloves, hat, etc.? The lost and found is overflowing! Stop by the bins outside the office to find your items.


5th graders participated in the Learn to Swim program at the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool downtown. For 10 consecutive school days, students were challenged at their individual swim level. Many skills were accomplished such as becoming more comfortable in the water, learning what to do if ever in an emergency situation in the water with and without life jackets, and lots of swimming technique practice. Students will be getting their "just right level" if families want to continue swimming lessons or onto the Glacier Swim Club if they meet the criteria.


2nd and 3rd graders were a part of a two-week formline design and drum making unit. Accomplished Tsimshian formline artist, Abel Ryan, of the Laxiboo (wolf) clan of Metlakatla, spent time teaching our students about formline design.

Mr. Ryan taught students the different elements and shapes found in formline as well as the rules and history of where formline design originated. He also gave an oral narrative about Raven and Eagle and demonstrated how to assemble a deer hide drum and drum beater. Mr. Ryan shared techniques on how to concentrate and become in tune with their bodies and breath when drawing and painting
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Students created a design by first drawing a model on graph paper, then translating it to a paper weaving. In the weaving, they repeated the design so it became a pattern. They wrote the instructions, or algorithm, or code, for their pattern. Just what a coder would do for a computer program! Art and Math together!
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Kindergartners got in the holiday spirit with the Jingle Jog (with bells on their shoes!) in the hallway last week. Some classes were able to take advantage of ALL THAT SNOW and go cross-country skiing on the playground last week and we are hoping to get more classes out soon. This week, the 4th and 5th graders are playing floor hockey against the staff!

Friendly reminder that students are expected to have gym shoes for P.E. If your child has shoes they have outgrown and you would like to donate them, we can always use spares.


The dates for Sayeik: Gastineau School's Battle of the Books (BoB) are set!

  • 3rd/4th grade school BoB is Thursday, January 20th at 12:45-2:00 (5 teams competing)
  • 5th grade school BoB is Friday, January 21st at 12:45-1:45 (2 teams competing)

Because of COVID, multiple homeroom classes will not be able to mix and come to see the battle,
but parents of participants are welcome to mask-up and come to support their students during this event in the school library. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Ms. Ferguson in
the library.


A few of our 5th graders participated in the Juneau Robot Jamboree last weekend. Sarah Anderson, Eleanor Peterson, and Lucy Wall are members of Team Thursday. Along with the support of a few other teammates, they won the Robot Design Award. Their coach, Alyson Cooper (JEDC STEM Program Manager), shared that Team Thursday was selected for advancement to the state championship. What an accomplishment!


CBJ is now providing free at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (2 tests kits per family). You can pick them up at:

- All libraries (Douglas, Downtown, Mendenhall Valley)

- City Hall Cash Office

- Juneau Public Health Center

- Juneau Police Department

- Dimond Park Aquatic Center


  • Candy Cane Hunt downtown through December 19 (
  • Capital City Fire/Rescue Santa Rides on the fire truck - Saturday, December 18, starts at 6 PM at the Mount Roberts Tramway and ends at the Douglas Fire Station
  • City Museum hanging winter scene art kits available for pickup through December


The federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program currently provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. Households with a child who is approved to receive free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible. Additional eligibility includes households that meet one of the following criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Congress recently created the Affordable Connectivity Program (through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) a new long-term, $14 billion program, which will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Households enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as of 12/31/21 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit during a 60-day transition period.

Application and eligibility resources can be found here: