AdvancED is a non-profit organization of educational professionals that conducts on-site reviews of schools.

Petersburg’s School Board at their meeting this week chose a new president and heard reports from school administrators. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

It was a relatively short school board meeting. Two of the five school board members were on travel and unable to attend. The school board did vote in Mara Lutomski as the new President and Sarah Holmgrain as Vice President, and Cheryl File as Secretary-Treasurer. The board decided to wait to choose committee assignments until more members were present.

This is National School Lunch Week and students at Stedman Elementary School have been harvesting vegetables from the garden located behind the school. Students have been eating the vegetables in the salad bar and had a harvest soup served this week for lunch as well.

Principal Teri Toland says the students got a lot out of the garden this year.

“The kids have been out digging potatoes and onions and carrots and having a lot of fun with that,” Toland said. “We appreciate Christine Sargent and her time and effort with our students in our school garden and all fall we’ve been enjoying produce from our garden in our salad bar. It’s beautiful, it’s fantastic.”

Activities are in full swing at the middle and high schools. Jaime Cabral is the Activities Director for the district.

“Right now we have middle school girls basketball, boys basketball, cheer, wrestling, swim, volleyball, National Ocean Science Bowl, middle school robotics going right now,” Cabral said. “So, it’s the heavy part of our year, we have about eight, nine activities rolling, so they’re busy, they’re working. Kids are involved, staying on top of their grades.”

Cabral visited Wrangell on Tuesday along with the senior class and the social studies teachers as part of the students’ Alaska History unit on Alaska Natives. Cabral says they visited the Nolan Center, which houses the Wrangell Museum, and they went to the Carving Shed and the Chief Shakes Lodge.

“Wrangell was awesome, it was the red carpet,” Cabral said. “We got to see four totem poles that they are copying to make new replicas and it was really impressive to see how big they were up close and personal and the smell of the cedar was really, really good.”

Middle and High School Principal Rick Dormer gave an update on high school accreditation through a third party company, AvanceED. AdvancED is a non-profit organization of educational professionals that conducts on-site reviews of schools. A team made up of administrators from other schools in the state visited Petersburg High School in 2015. The high school was graded on 32 specific indicators, including how students are interacting in the classroom and interviews with staff and students.

Dormer told the school board that the high school did well.

“That is a very good score I was told,” Dormer said. “It is a good score which doesn’t surprise us because I think we have a great school.”

The accreditation report gave the high school very high scores on maintaining relationships with the community, having small class sizes, offering a variety of classes, having highly qualified staff members and doing a good job with technology.

Dormer says having an accredited high school looks good for college placement.

Areas where the school could improve include a formalized improvement process and monitoring communications about the student learning. The district will be going over some of these recommendations during a two-day strategic planning meeting in November. They’ve invited a director from the Association of Alaska School Boards to town for the meeting and are also forming a committee for the event.

The Strategic Planning Committee is looking for more community members to get involved. If you are interested you can get more information at the District Office.