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Connect

Posted: September 4, 2013 - 12:05am

The superintendent of the Juneau School District handed out buttons saying “Connect” when he started his work here.

One high school coach still has hers.

“You learn more about your students on a 35-hour ferry trip than you do in the classroom,” she said.

That is connecting.

I do not have any children going to Floyd Dryden or Dzantik’i Heeni or anywhere in the Juneau School District.

Even as wild as the’70s were for me, kiddos from that period would be in positions such as teacher, janitor, school bus driver or possibly even the school board member.

And yet, all the students are my children so to speak as I follow their athletic endeavors in the Sports section.

So I was dismayed by the empty seats at Tuesday night’s Floyd Dryden site council meeting.

Middle school sports are about to be extinct.

Maybe that is why there was a lack of club coaches there. It is possible more youth will go to clubs. Unfortunately, some of the best athletes do not have the financial opportunities of their peers.

There was also a lack of high school and middle school coaches. Middle schools are one of the feeder programs of the Crimson Bears and Falcons. They are also the feeder supporters, the student fan base that fills the gyms and walks the hallways.

There was also a lack of parents. The emails and phone calls asking if I was going to be attending the site council is significantly larger than the number of heads counted Tuesday night.

Middle school sports are shockingly close to being labeled as only intramurals and even a bus trip across town to the only other middle school will be strictly viewed as life threatening to the budget of the JSD.

Middle school sports are walking that Green Mile to being regulated from out-of-town travel forever and no one is coming to pay their last respects.

In all fairness, there were coaches and parents present. I applaud them.

The policy for middle school sports travel this year is one travel opportunity per sport. That travel will have to be approved by the principal. Travel is restricted to the “A” team only. No airplane tickets unless it saves money and days away from school. The school is responsible for the pay of the substitute teacher who fills in for the traveling coach, not out of the district operating fund. Grades must be maintained at a C average, with no Fs. The money fund-raised has to be in the bank before the team travels. No school promotional behavior or boundary exemptions.

The travel for beyond this season is what was addressed at a meeting two weeks ago when a policy was brought to the board by the superintendent banning middle school travel completely. This policy underwent a first reading.

Proposed policies go through two readings. The first policy allows the board to walk away from it and the public to think about it. Usually a committee is formed and ideas and buffets and snacks and a specific language are formulated; this sometimes takes a year of targeted meetings, writings and research.

Last night’s site council meeting was to let the public address its concerns, in two-minute time allotments crammed into an hour before another meeting.

On Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., the second reading of the travel policy for middle schools will be addressed in the FD library. At the second reading, it becomes approved or not.

And after site councils at DZ and now at FD, where parents are standing up and saying “No, no, no, we want our sons and daughters to travel,” someone is only hearing “Yes, yes, yes, do not let our youth travel.”

The superintendent and the Site Council say they have heard no one speak out against middle school travel, yet it has been placed into a policy that will be heard for the last time on Tuesday.

After this it can become etched in stone on the facades of every institute of education in our community,

“No travel forever... f.o.r.e.v.e.r.”

Young athletes will be only able to compete against little John John or Jane Jane from his own class and forbidden to challenge Joe Joe from anywhere past the shorelines of Gastineau Channel and Eagle Beach.

No process has been put into place, no committee put together drafting language or considering it or listening to the parents’ voices.

It was suggested that the public send letters concerning this matter, before Thursday, to schoolboard@ci.juneau.ak.us, and they will be taken into consideration.

I say send letters, launch balloons, march along the streets of the Capitol and, most importantly, ATTEND TUESDAY’S MEETING!

I suggest being on time to the 6 p.m. meeting (okay 6:15 but be early or you miss something) as they begin promptly with no ifs, ands or buts.

And unfortunately, one of my biologicals is not on the school board, at least as far as I know.

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