Ketchikan: Survey: School Board faces difficulties

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2002

According to a survey of parents, officials and staff in Ketchikan, the Ketchikan School Board faces an uphill battle to rebuild its relationship with the community.

The "QS2 District Inventory," compiled from interviews with about 75 residents, including teachers, administrators, parents and local officials, recently was presented to the board by Bruce Johnson of the Association of Alaska School Boards. The inventory is one step in AASB's Quality Schools/Quality Students Initiative toward building a strategic plan for the Ketchikan School District.

In addition to interviews, AASB representatives perused district policy manuals, board meeting agendas and minutes, and student test results, according to the report.

The results identified several issues of concern in the district. One of those concerns is a reported history of unilateral decision making.

"This trend continues in the minds of some constituents, and ... current attempts at shared decision-making are (seen as) simply lip service rather than a concerted effort to be inclusive," the report states.

The report also states that, although constituents trust individual schools, teachers and school building administrators, that trust doesn't carry over to district administrators or the School Board.

"However, many constituents indicated that they felt the existing board was trying hard to build trust," the report states. A lack of trust in district financial data also was reported by constituents, according to the inventory results.

The report also listed positive aspects of the district, among them that the current board is seen as more approachable and receptive to community input; the district has established a standards-based curriculum and a curriculum development process; school choice is available; and the special education program is no longer under state sanctions.

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