Kodiak PTSA Formed to Facilitate Communication

[listen here]
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The founders of the Kodiak District Parent-Teacher-Student Association, or PTSA, will be on KMXT’s Talk of the Rock Tuesday afternoon discussing their organization and what they hope to accomplish through the Kodiak Community Education Alliance.
Ron Gibbs, himself a retired teacher, is the vice-president of the Kodiak Community Education Alliance, which is formed as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. He says a Parent Teacher Student Association differs from a PTA, in that it’s area of concern is the entire school district, and not just individual schools.
“There’s been a lot of changes come down the pipes with education, and that’s where there’s a lot of frustration and confusion and questions about the new grading system, evaluation process. A lto of these are coming as mandates from the state or the legislature and so as the district works to incorporate those changes, there’s been some gaps in that communication where people have question and they don’t necessarially know where to get answers, and that’s where we’re trying to help out with that.”
Erik Linschied, president of the Kodiak Community Education Alliance, is also a retired teacher. He outlined the five goals the group has at this point.
“When we started talking to the community it kind of boiled down to a couple different things. There are five things. One is that there is just communication with everybody in the community, along with the school board and central office. And then the second is how we support school board communications – that was another concern. And then, a culture of trust, and that’s number three, number four is understanding the grading system, and number five is promoting teamwork.”
In regards to goal number 1, Gibbs said the policy regarding free communication between the public and the school board members is already being address.
“We brought that up as a concern, and so the board, they way they work with that is they have a policy review committee. And they did a rewrite on it. This process has been going on for eight months. And they did a rewrite, and really put to rest most of those concerns. It was a good rewrite. It went from the beginning opening draft saying, “Staff members, parents and community members should submit comments to board through the superintendant. And vice versa. Now, it’s, “Individual communication between board members and community are expected.”
Linschied and Gibbs both see the new language as an improvement, but they would like to see it have a better defined protocol for when and to whom private communication to a school board member are shared. In that vein, Gibbs says he’s asking for a postponement on adopting the policy.
“We are also requesting that the board defer action on this until next month, so that the new board member has a chance to come up to speed and learn about that and hear what’s going on. It’s been going on for eight months, so it would be helpful to let him have a chance to assimilate that, too.”
You can hear the complete conversation with Gibbs and Linschied on this week’s Talk of the Rock.

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