The Nome school board met Tuesday for its last meeting of the calendar year, to discuss a pair of large upcoming purchases, hand out awards for the month, as well as hear comments from a resigning teacher.
The board was presented with an $80,000 grant from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation for a proposal from Aaron Brown and Misty Tweet. The funds for their proposed outdoor fitness course, will go towards buying equipment and installing special flooring. The plan is to have the equipment barged in during the spring and then installed during the summer.
Also Tuesday night, awards for students and staff of the month were given out. Sara James represented Anvil City Science Academy, with MacKenzie Goodwin and Madigan Hargis winning for Nome-Beltz High school and Junior High respectively. For staff members, Randy Kreifel won teacher of the month and Dan Holmes won support staff of the month.
During the first public comment session, Nome-Beltz High School PE and Health teacher Matt Nylund got up to speak about an issue affecting teachers throughout Alaska.
“The state of Alaska does not recognize all basic skills tests from other states. I have had mine thirty years ago and those were not accepted from Colorado; they do not recognize thirty years of teaching experience and they do not recognize a current, valid license.”– Matt Nylund
He laid out the process that forced his early resignation from NBHS.
“They do ask that everyone take a basic skills test in their second year of teaching in Alaska. Although I agree that we want competent teachers, if we can be real, it’s been thirty years since I was behind a desk as a student, and I didn’t fair well on the basic skills test.”– Matt Nylund
Nylund called on the Nome School Board to write a letter to Alaska Commissioner of Education, Michael Johnson or to the State Board of Education, to invoke a policy change.
The first comment session also saw kindergarten teacher, Janet Balice, commend the upcoming Inupiaq immersion class and offer input on how best to implement it.
“But the best model, Ms. Kiminaq [Maddy Alvanna-Stimplfe] said, was to go K, 1, 2, 3. Then you have really taught the kiddos to be fluent Inupiaq speakers.”– Janet Balice
The board then unanimously passed all four of its action items, including the second of the larger-cost projects: Promethium Boards. Superintendent Jamie Burgess explains the purchase of these boards for use throughout the district.
“It’s basically like a giant iPad, but they do not require the overhead projectors, which also gives us a little more space in the classroom. Light bulb replacements for the overhead projectors are almost three, four hundred dollars and they only have a lifespan of a couple of years.”– Jamie Burgess
Burgess then went on to explain the benefits of these new boards.
“We’ll be getting what are called mobile mounts so the actual interactive displays can be moved down lower so that the smaller children can actually interact with it in the K-2 classrooms.”– Jamie Burgess
Lastly, the Board approved the 2019 audit before going into executive session for a superintendent evaluation of Burgess. The school board’s next regular meeting will be January 14th of 2020.
Image at top: Dan Holmes receives support staff of the month from Nome-Beltz Principal Jay Thomas during the last School Board meeting of 2019. Photo from Alisha Papineau, used with permission.