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Schools will be strong and diverse

Posted: Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thank you for the continuing coverage of the important, historic and challenging steps our district and our community are taking toward opening a new high school and strengthening high school success in our town.

There are a couple of key points that were omitted from a recent Juneau Empire story.

First, all smaller learning communities or academies, regardless of focus or flavor, will offer the general studies high school curriculum required by the Juneau School District.

Second, of the 1,400-plus students participating in high school options next year (not including next year's seniors who were not asked to choose), 75 percent will be participating in a smaller learning community.

Finally, when all high school students have been placed, the numbers show an appropriate and desirable demographic balance between the two main high schools. For example, both schools will have 14 percent who qualify for free or reduced lunch due to low incomes; about one-quarter of both schools' population will be students of Alaska Native heritage (27 percent at Juneau-Douglas High School; 25 percent at Thunder Mountain High School). About 15 percent of JDHS students will be English language learners, compared to 18 percent at TMHS.

It is gratifying to see that by accommodating families' choice to the best of our ability, that both schools will have a strong and diverse student body. We appreciate the community's involvement in this important process.

Peggy Cowan

Superintendent, Juneau School District

Juneau



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