Teachers draft accreditation plan for JDHS

District seeking parents' input after surveying adults, kids

Posted: Friday, September 01, 2000

Juneau-Douglas High School teachers will prepare a draft school improvement plan this month as part of the school's accreditation process.

Teachers and other staff have formed committees on topics such as instruction, discipline, technology and staff development. A draft plan will be presented to the public Oct. 13, said Assistant Principal Kathryn Milliron.

Seventy-two parents, 34 other community members, 50 teachers and 87 students have filled out opinion surveys about the high school. But that's just a fraction of the people involved in the 1,700-student school. School officials said they'd like to see more parental and other public involvement in creating the improvement plan, both before and after the draft is written.

The parental survey results may not be representative, teacher Laury Scandling said at a faculty meeting last week. She suggested focus groups in which parents discuss their concerns in depth.

"I'm going to take that and run with it," Milliron said. School officials also may go to shopping malls to ask for public opinion on the high school, she said.

Lance Carpenter, facilitator of the JDHS parent and staff site council, said, "People feel like if the parents aren't involved, the institution will have its own agenda, and it's not what everybody wants. Part of accreditation is to put everything on the table."

Surveyed parents and teachers rated the school fairly highly in its standards and assessments, partnerships with families and businesses, and in fostering healthy attitudes and behaviors. But respondents were less satisfied with the school's strategies to achieve Native and other minority students' success.

Most surveyed students said school was challenging and teachers had high expectations. But a large majority of students said drugs, alcohol and cheating are problems at JDHS. And many students didn't believe the discipline process was fair.

JDHS and its predecessor have been accredited since 1927, according to the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation is an endorsement of a school's ability to educate its students.

This is the first time the school is using the association's performance-based model, established in 1990. In the past, accreditation looked at topics such as courses, library books, student activities and the building. Now it considers the academic performance of students and how to improve that. The association requires schools to come up with an improvement plan every six years and report on progress yearly.

When Carpenter asked teachers last week if they had all the resources they need to do the best job they can in the classroom, no one raised his or her hand. If schools want more money, they'll have to tell the public how it would be spent, he said.

To participate in developing the school improvement plan, call Milliron at 463-1950.

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