Sayéik GastiNEWS

May 27, 2022

Hello families,

Well, we made it! Thank you for all of the support and appreciation you've shown our school community during a challenging school year!

As I watched the students and staff celebrate the end of the school year with Field Day yesterday I was overcome with gratitude for our school community, this school is truly a special place! Plus, no one's school has a better view from their playground than ours!

Today we said "see you later" to our 5th graders - we congratulate them and wish them well as they SOAR on to middle school.

I hope everyone enjoys the well-deserved summer break and I look forward to seeing everyone in August!

Take care,

Stacy Diouf


Sayeik: Gastineau Community School

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Counselor's Corner

Congratulations to all of us - we have made it to the end of the fastest/longest school year ever - at least it feels like that from this vantage point. Thank you for sharing your precious and beautiful children with us this year. It has been hard to say goodbye to your children as they head off to summer or to a new school.

As we wind up the school year, it is hard for this week to not be shadowed by the recent school shooting in Texas. It hits home even more as the children lost were the same age as our beloved students. While it is hard to talk about - and I don’t really have any words to describe this national pain that touches us all - I would feel remiss in saying nothing about it.

As I’ve navigated this week, I have found myself letting my eye contact with children linger a bit longer, giving an extra squeeze at the end of each hug, and doing my best to adore each of them just a bit more this last week. I can well imagine you are holding them closer and savoring your precious moments that much more, too. I also want to name the courage you have all found to send your children this week and honor the trust this implies. It truly feels sacred to me.

We have been thankful for and heartbroken at the presence of JPD in our building this week. Their presence certainly helps us feel safe when we have felt uncertain, but also has been a visual reminder of this tragic loss. I am enclosing some resources you may find helpful as your children may be aware of the shooting and as you may want to talk to them about it. I always find it helpful to follow their lead/need rather than jump in with my adult assumptions about what they want to know. Often, their questions are much more basic than the lengthy explanations I have imagined myself offering.

Here is a link to the National Association of School Psychologists website for some helpful things to keep in mind when supporting your child with news about violence. Also, I want to add that I think it’s lovely and appropriate to keep their innocence alive about some of the world’s darkness, especially in the primary grades. Your 4th or 5th graders may have heard from peers or social media.

I reviewed several resources and this seems to be the most fitting and succinct. Please, as always, feel free to reach out for more support. I know summer is coming, but I do check email at least weekly and will be able to respond.

Have a restful and joyful summer!

Deb aka “Ms. Spencer”

Library, Music & PE Spotlight

Ms. Ferguson - Library

  • I grew up in the Northwestern tip of New Jersey and first came to visit Juneau in 1984. I fell in love with the mountains, vast ocean and beaches of Southeast. I eventually returned and enrolled in UAS and received a K-8 Teaching certificate. I taught for 2 years in Pelican, Alaska. Ms. Spencer, and Mr. and Mrs. Haygood were teaching there while I was too.

  • I landed a teaching job at Gastineau in 2002. I taught 2nd (and 3rd grade once) for 10 years and I have been Teacher/Librarian for 10 years now. I received my School Librarian Certification from Montana State University.

  • I enjoy so many aspects of being an Elementary School Librarian! I love purchasing exciting new books for our many students’ interests and providing worthwhile titles for K-5 curriculum goals too. Reading and sharing so many books with K-5 students in the library is such a joy! Book Fairs and Battle of the Books are really fun and rewarding too! Gastineau can boast that our BoB Club has produced a winning team for the 3/4 or 5/6 District Battle 6 times over the last 10 years!

  • When I’m not at school or reading a book… I like to get outside. I hike the Douglas Island trails with my husky, Shanti. I’m also looking forward to gardening and going on plenty of long bike rides too! Let all hope it’ll be warm and sunny this summer, but if it rains, I’ll be happy to do some yoga and I’ll be sure to have a good book nearby. Hope you will too : ) Remember: Reading is FUNdamental!

Mr. Unzicker - Music

  • I moved to Juneau just before my 2nd grade school year. I have lived in Juneau for 41 years. I attended Harborview, Auke Bay, Floyd Dryden, JDHS & UAS.
  • This is my 5th year at Gastineau
  • My favorite thing about my job is watching students experience music through singing, playing instruments, moving/dancing, reading music notation, speaking, and listening
  • For fun I like to play jazz & classical guitar, ski, hunt, and fish
  • My favorite thing I did with my students this year was playing the recorders again after a two year hiatus

Mr. Miller - PE

  • I was born in Anchorage and grew up in Southcentral Alaska. I came to Juneau in 1990 to cover politics as a newspaper reporter.
  • After many years covering the Legislature I decided to become a teacher and first started teaching at Gastineau in 1999
  • 16 years ago I was lucky enough to become the school’s PE teacher and I’ve loved the job ever since
  • My favorite part of teaching PE is getting students to try new activities. I’ve taught kids to ride, skate, ski and roller blade. And there’s always something new to try each year!
  • Just like with the students, my favorite thing is to get outside!
  • Probably the most exciting thing we did this year was challenge the students to a floor hockey game. It was exciting to the last seconds and the kids won by scoring an overtime goal and blocking our last shot.

Douglas 4th of July Events

  • June 14, 5pm: Flag Day judging and recognizing homes, apartments, condos and businesses in South Douglas
  • July 2, 1-3pm: Bike, scooter, wagon, wheel chair decorating at the Douglas Library. We provide bike decorating materials, and chalk for sidewalk drawing. JPD will speak about bike safety
  • July 3, 5-8pm: Soapbox Derby show and Soapbox Derby Trials on St Ann’s Ave in Douglas
  • July 3, 6pm: Douglas Community Picnic at Sandy Beach: free burgers, hot dogs, side dishes, water. Watermelon Eating Contest and Sand Dollar Search
  • July 4, 1:30pm: Kids Parade - staging, meeting, and judging starting at 1:30pm for the start of 2pm Douglas 4th of July Parade. Kids parade assembling at Sayéik: Gastineau Community School North Parking lot at 1:30pm
  • July 4, 3pm: Soapbox Derby on St Ann’s Ave and kids field events on field

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