Stakeholders value partnership

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm writing to urge University of Alaska Southeast and Juneau School District to explore all options before terminating the agreement that has allowed the Juneau-Douglas High School automotive program to work in the UAS Marine Technology Center.

While I don't presume to know the history of the negotiations, I do know that losing what seems to be a vital K-12-postsecondary partnership, and losing such a well-taught vocational opportunity for high school students, hurts us as a community.

If I could preregister my own elementary-aged students for a single class during their high school careers, it would be Steve Squires' auto shop class.

Squires is a generous, caring and resourceful educator who models what our young people need to really become lifelong learners. He approaches systems and problems with a pragmatic, can-do attitude, while keeping abreast of technological change and modeling that excellence is within all students' reach.

What would it take for UAS and the district to be able to showcase this program as not only an award-winning automotive program, but as an emblem of a partnership with a solid commitment to all students, even those who presently, as teenagers, aren't ready to pursue a college curriculum?

If either or both parties in this negotiation see a way to re-open the conversation, please know that many of your stakeholders - K-12 students, teachers, parents and longtime supporters of UAS - would like to know that every reasonable option had been explored before the agreement had been terminated.

Tom McKenna


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