News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday September 23rd 2017

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Welcome from the Faculty and Staff of the Bering Strait School District

Believe it or not we are approaching the mid-point of first quarter already! BSSD has had a great start to the 2014-2015 school year. We are in the process of implementing our new Cengage National Geographic Reading, English Language Arts (ELA) program that aligns with the Alaska English Language Arts Standards.

This year we will audit the district’s current math program to ascertain how well the math curriculum aligns with the new Alaska State Standards. It is essential that we provide every opportunity for BSSD students to increase basic understanding and reinforce math fundamentals. We have implemented Daily Math Skills (DMS) district-wide in grades K-8 this year as means of daily practice of reviewing and reinforcing mathematics fundamentals.

During our all-staff in-service in August, the entire BSSD faculty was trained in the proper implementation of the Cengage Reading Curriculum. Faculty is taking the initial weeks of this school year to familiarize students with the routines and procedures essential to the success of the new reading curriculum. On October 1-3, BSSD faculty will reassemble for further training on implementing the reading program. Administrative leadership and instructional teams spent considerable time and effort last year analyzing student achievement data and agreeing on uniform interpretations of data in an effort to make accurate, data-driven decisions regarding prescriptive interventions in student learning.

Through our focused efforts, district attendance rates rose significantly in FY14 at 73% of our school sites. The FY14 ASPI star designations increased as well, with nine of our sites being rated as 3-star schools or above. We reduced the number of one-star schools from four in FY13 to a single school site in FY14.

 

Jewel Wilson making a cyanotype (sun print).

Jewel Wilson making a cyanotype (sun print).

 

Currently, reading and math proficiency across the curriculum is the primary focus within the district. An analysis of district performance across the state on the Standards Based Assessment Test (SBA), identifies BSSD as having 50% of students reading at grade level proficiency last year. It is the goal of the district leadership to increase student reading proficiency rates to no less than 76% proficient in third grade over the next three years. It is well documented that a student who is not reading at grade level by the end of third grade is at a higher statistical probability of dropping out of school, incurring a criminal record, abusing substances, and is relegated to lower socioeconomic tax brackets than functional readers.

This year, math review is the primary focus area within the BSSD due to the fact that the math proficiency rate of the district over the past ten years has averaged below 50% proficiency. It is the goal of district leadership to bring student proficiency levels in math to no less than 80% by FY19.  We have a significant focus on cultural relevance as the tool to engage our students and build connections to the academic content across the curriculum.

Gary Eckenweiler showing students how to start a fire with a bow drill.

Gary Eckenweiler showing students how to start a fire with a bow drill.

 

State cultural standards are an integral part of teacher lesson planning and district in-service training. Last year we began intensive training of our bicultural staff, instructional paraprofessionals and elementary and secondary faculty together in cultural relevance and best teaching practices; this year the focus will be on the integration of state cultural standards into instruction rich in cultural relevance and application.

Please help us in welcoming the BSSD’s faculty and staff as you have the opportunity, they are all strongly focused on measurable student growth and sustained increases in student learning across the curriculum.

Wishing everyone in the region a safe and effective school year.

 

Respectfully,

Mr. Agenbroad
Superintendent BSSD

 

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