Some of Kodiak’s local students are getting hands on experience in real world research these days. The Kodiak Island Borough School District has recently partnered with NASA and other organizations to help monitor earthquake forecasting sensors with the hopes of someday being able to predict when and where earthquakes might occur.
Early Friday morning, a group of four eager Kodiak High School students sit in front of lap tops in the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s conference room. Strewn around them are engineering sketches, designs, and scribbled numbers and notes. They aren’t skipping class – in fact, due to a district-wide teacher in-service, school wasn’t even scheduled that day, or the two days prior. And while many of their classmates were probably still sleeping in, these four were hard at work, on their own time, communicating with NASA scientists and workin g to make earthquake forecasting a feasible reality for Kodiak, and the world.
“We’re doing this for school, but we’re also doing this for the scientific community. And it’s like real contributions – it’s not just like a science project that somebody’s already done. We’re actually innovating, we’re actually putting forth results and things that people can use that can help the world.”
That’s Junior Richie McKinney, one of the four lead students partaking in Trillium Learning’s American Bridge Project – an initiative that promotes real time, real world projects with big name partners and school districts around the country. In this case, KIBSD is working with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, Intelesense Technologies and the European Space Agency to help collect data from the world’s first two Global Earthquake Forecasting System Sensing Platforms, which were placed on the island last month. One platform was put in Old Harbor Village, and the second one is visible on the roof of the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium in Kodiak. Continue reading
More than 50 students at Kodiak High School participated in a sit-in protest Friday morning. During second period students lined the hallway outside the office in what they called a nonviolent protest of the high school’s attendance policies.
Senior Stephanie Price said a number of students had voiced concerns this year about the school’s attendance policy, specifically the administering of in-school suspensions, or ISS, after a certain number of unexcused absences. She admitted that some of the information leading up to Friday’s protest wasn’t accurate on the students’ part, but still felt the protest was beneficial in promoting better communication with the high school’s administration.
“I think the protest in general was a learning experience for both the students and the teachers. I think the students realized that we should be more prepared when trying to make a point. And we had valid points but a lot of things were brought up that weren’t really involved with the ISS rule. And I think that from the administration point, they see that communication with the students – proper communication, just really friendly – is really all we want.”
Chris Aguirre is the new principal at KHS this year and said the students definitely made their voice very clear during the sit in and explained some the school’s policy regarding attendance and ISS. Continue reading
Kodiak High School will have a new principal this fall, but it won’t be an unfamiliar face. Chris Aguirre actually began his administrative career in Kodiak back in 2005 when he moved to the Island for a year to be the district’s career and technical education director.
“Which was just a great start and actually helped me tremendously in my career.”
A family issue made Aguirre move to New York after that first year in Kodiak, where he spent roughly eight years working in public education. He was the founding principal of New York City’s City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology – an early college high school that provided college credits to graduating students.
“And when I got through my first graduating class and wanted to actually spend a little more time with my wife and family I went into higher education. And I had a great experience but decided that where I below was in public ed.” Continue reading
The regular season came a close last week for Kodiak High School’s basketball teams. Both the boys and girls are at Colony High School this weekend for the Northern Lights Conference tournament, where they hope to earn tickets to the state championship later this month.
This season the players were able to practice and compete in a recently renovated gym at the high school. Amy Fogle coaches the Lady Bears and said she was pleased with the changes to the gym, which included new flooring and bleachers.
“I think all the improvements we’ve made have been great. I think the floor is really, really nice. I do like the bleachers; it’s nice to have the rails for the older population and getting up and out of the stands. It kind of feels like you’re on top of the crowd, sitting up high. It’s pretty high up there. Anything new and clean is always exciting.”
David Anderson coaches the boys team and had similar thoughts about the improvements.
“Well as much as we get to practice in it, it’s great. Playing in it, the kids love it. It’s a new floor, gives them a little new bounce in there and I think the capacity it holds in there is just awesome. I think it gives a different perspective with the bleachers up as high as they are. You’re looking down on the players instead of looking at them. And you can kind of see what’s going on the floor out there. So I think they did a great job.”
Up on the mainland, both teams have a first round bye in the region tournament and will begin game play Friday afternoon.
It’s so far so good for the Kodiak High School renovation project. At least that’s the word from the construction manager Bruce Walter of Wilson Engineering. Walter provided an update to the borough assembly during its work session on Thursday, and said the project is about 30 percent complete.
“We’ve contractually been into the contract 10 months and construction nine months, which puts us at 30 percent of a 32 month project. Completion for the project is still scheduled for November 2015 and to date we’ve issued no change orders extending that deadline.”
In terms of finances, Walter said they are doing fairly well with the $62 million construction budget, and have only tapped into a small amount of the project’s $2.5 million contingency budget.
“To date we have awarded $152,000 in change orders, which represents .24 of the contract sum or 5.8 percent of our construction contingency. So contrary to what’s going around out there on the street, I think our budget and our contingency are doing quite well.” Walter said there are nine phases of the project, and five of those phases are currently underway. He said there have been a few hiccups along the way, including moisture issues with the basement locker room and the discovery that the entire gym floor had to be replaced, both of which prolonged completion dates. The gym has since been finished and use of the downstairs locker room was turned over to the high school today. Continue reading
Kodiak College will see some changes in 2014. Long-time Director Barbara Bolson made the decision to retire this year and move closer to family in Washington.
Bolson leaves the college after more than 27 years in education, eight of those working here in Kodiak. When Bolson first moved to the island it was originally to take a job as an administrator at Kodiak High School, but after one year moved over to the college where she has served as director for seven years.
“I originally came to Kodiak for just a one year contract. But as many of us do, fell in love with the place, and one year led to another and this will be, I’m just finishing up my eighth year. So I stayed here a little bit longer than intended, but I have had a wonderful, wonderful experience. But it is time to get a little bit closer to family. I’m having a grand baby in May that I’m real excited about and so I want to be a part of that grand baby’s life. I had a real close relationship with my grandmother and she really had a huge impact on my life and I want to be that kind of grandmother to my grandchildren too.”
During Bolson’s time with the college, she and the staff helped the educational institution expand in many ways, including tripling the student enrollment and almost doubling the faculty. Continue reading