nome school board

The final Nome Public School’s Board of Education meeting of the school year discussed graduation, past school trips and sports meets and future educational programs for students and teachers alike.

The school district is “at this point in time” preparing to hold graduation in the school gym without any COVID-19 restrictions at all, Superintendent of Schools Jamie Burgess said.

The district is closely watching the progress of the statewide Senate Bill 111, which aims to improve Alaskan youth literacy at an early age. The bill has recently passed into the House of Education Committee and is currently being reworked.

Student representative, Guadalupe Callahan shared some highlights from this year’s student calendar, including the NYO state meet, the Esports state win, the art class’ completion of their Nome-themed mural, and the student trip to Hawaii where they participated in cultural exchange activities with local Hawaiian students.

“Conversing about how different we are from each other made me realize that we really aren’t that different from each other. And we really are, as the Waianae High School students say to me “the other family from across the ocean … the middle schoolers we visited in Honolulu really inspired me, and everyone on this trip to really get in touch with the land we live in and prosper on it,” Callahan said.

They are currently working on funding to make such a trip happen again in the future, Nome-Beltz principal Jay Thomas said.

Funding for three titled programs last year, 2A, 1C and 4A, rolled over into this year, and the district has ample funding to pursue a wide variety of educational programs, Director of Federal Programs and Instruction Megan Hayes said.

For teachers, the district is planning to send teachers to the Summer Academy, a Power School Training in Boston and host onsite training for teachers here in Nome, Hayes said. They are planning to send the district’s principals to a leadership conference in Anchorage.

As an additional training program for teachers, Anvil City Science Academy Principal Lisa Leeper is helping to organize a Multi-Cultural Art Institute for teachers both in the Nome and in the Bering Strait School Districts. 

“Spread the word because I just feel like it’s going to be a really wonderful institute. We are going to make drums, hopefully, and have singing, cultural dance and movement, story telling. Each morning, starting with a culturally responsive education plenary, things like that,” Leeper said.

The class would be worth three graduate level credits.

For the student programs, the district is contemplating new ideas such as close up programs for migrant students and more literacy nights, Hayes said.  The district also will still be providing tutoring and swimming lessons with the same money.

The last rollover grant, Hayes described as a “creative grant” which can cover a variety of things to better the student experience at the Nome district, such as the purchase of the new piano for the high school, continued support of the recreational ski program, and a wellness room for Nome Elementary School. In her principal’s report, Elizabeth Korenek-Johnson described the idea of a wellness room in more detail.

What we’d like to do next year is have a mindfulness class for all our classes. … Working on a lot of SEL things, a lot of regulation, dysregulation things; being aware of ourselves and when we are dysregulated and what strategies we can use to calm ourselves. A lot of that type of stuff, breathing techniques, that hopefully we can start to incorporate on a larger, schoolwide level,” Korenek-Johnson said.

The Nome School Board passed all three of their action items: an approval of the second reading of board policies, an approval of classified exempt contracts for FY23 and an approval for fuel purchase for FY23.

The next Nome Public School board of Education meeting is on June 14. As usual, the public are welcome to attend and comment.

Image at the top: Nome Public Schools Board of Education met on May 10, 2022. Photo by Miriam Trujillo, KNOM (2022).