Petersburg High School. (Photo by KFSK)

Petersburg’s School Board will meet this evening to set the upcoming school year’s calendar. Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter is proposing a calendar similar to this year’s. Kludt-Painter will also talk about recent attendance issues. Kids have been missing many school days this year partly for long family vacations. 

The school board will accept $75,000 of funding from Bill Neumann—aka, Swampy Creek Bill—who worked for three decades as an industrial arts teacher. He left the money to the school shop when he passed away four years ago. The funds will go to the high school shop program. They want to use the money to buy equipment, including band saws and welding gear. It will include equipment for both Mig and Tig welding—processes for welding different types and thicknesses of metals. That equipment will be bought locally. 

The school board will consider updating high school science credit requirements. The update would adopt changes based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Those are educational standards developed by 26 states and several national science associations. High School students would need three science credits instead of two to graduate but it won’t increase the amount of class credits needed overall.

The school board will consider changing the grading system for fourth and fifth graders. Right now, fourth and fifth graders get letter grades, A through F. But The elementary school wants to move them to a skills-based assessment, like the rest of the elementary school. They feel a skills-based grading system is more age-appropriate and would give a better picture to families on student performance. The policy would be implemented gradually, so current third graders would not get letter grades until they enter sixth grade. 

The school board will also discuss a three-year plan for the elementary school to give extra support to Alaska Native and Native American students. In last year’s evaluation, the state identified that demographic group as needing extra academic help. According to the assessment, about 67% of the school’s Alaska Native and Native American students need support with English and Language Arts and 62% need support in math. The school says the process is extensive and they might need outside help for the required documentation. 

You can find the full agenda here. KFSK will broadcast the meeting live and will post the recording on