FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is planning a new program, “Ignition,” for freshmen and new students to start the 2012-13 school year at area high schools.
Aug. 21 will be the first day of school for kindergarten through grade nine, as well as new students in grades 10 through 12. Aug. 22, will be the first day of school for returning students in grades 10 through 12.
Ignition is designed as “a transition program that helps students build relationships and make a positive shift to high school,” according to a district press release. On the first day, freshmen and new students will meet with mentors, attend group activities, tour buildings and familiarize themselves with class schedules.
More information about the various Ignition schedules and activities on the first day of school are available at respective high school websites.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Around town, students can be found digging, pulling, plucking and planting in gardens run by Calypso Farms.
This summer’s active school gardens are at Hunter Elementary School, Randy Smith Middle School and Woodriver Elementary School. Kid crews of a maximum of 10 people work to grow and harvest food.
Sarah Furman, school garden coordinator, said the kids enjoy the work for different reasons and are learning as they go.
“If you asked them, they would all say it’s really fun, because you get to make friends and eat good food,” Furman said.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Last year, West Valley High School students unearthed a whopping 500 pound of potatoes from the school’s garden plot.
It was a notable feat, helped along by many people. It took years to achieve, according to science teacher Kate Doran.
“It’s gone through a lot of people and a lot of ideas,” she said.
When the garden began about six years ago, Doran said people were wondering how to use it, then people had to prepare the soil, which took a couple of years.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Students from Fairbanks and Anchorage are taking home awards this week from the annual National History Day contest.
Krishna Nautiyal of Fairbanks won the Salute to Freedom award. Hanna Hellen of Anchorage and Cory Johnson, Erich Hoefler and David Swenson of Fairbanks won outstanding state awards.
A team of three Anchorage students — Hallie Whitmore, Mia Keyser and Challis Debenham — won the Naval History Award with their documentary about the famed 1839 slave revolt aboard the trading ship Amistad.
The Johnson, Hoefler and Swenson trio’s group documentary on Bill Koch and the revolution of skate skiing earned them the outstanding award. Heather Damario, the trio’s West Valley High School teacher, expressed her excitement in an email to Maida Buckley, Fairbanks’ History Day coordinator.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Every day is funny for Sandra Kowalski.
Her four boys and two young grandchildren surely add to the hilarity, but there are no questions as to where Kowalski gets a steady supply of laughs each day — middle school.
Kowalski is principal of Randy Smith Middle School in Fairbanks. She began working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District four years ago, and she won the Fairbanks Principal Association’s Secondary Principal of the Year award this year.
Kowalski said she can appreciate middle school-aged humor. She also said that while many middle schoolers’ parents are exasperated by their children, the preteens’ teachers often are in heaven.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — During the first week of school in August 2010, students in an eighth grade physical science class at Randy Smith Middle School made a startling discovery — racist names on an Alaska topographic map.
Students were moving through various stations, set up by teacher Jayne Naze, outlining the different topics to be covered during the term when student Trent Johns noticed the derogatory place name, “Negrohead Creek,” near Minto, on a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map.
“That’s racist,” he said aloud, garnering the attention of his classmates.
“I first thought he (Trent) was kidding, and I went over to see if it actually was true,” Tayllor Geil said.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Diana Lanni, an eighth grader at Randy Smith Middle School, is a national winner in the Letters About Literature contest, the Library of Congress announced.
The contest includes a $10,000 prize awarded in her honor to the Noel Wien Library.
Lanni and thousands of other students across the country wrote letters to living or dead authors, describing the impact of their literary creations. Lanni wrote to poet Robert Service, who died in 1958, about his poem “The Three Voices,” published in one of his collections.
The fine other national winners wrote to the likes of George Orwell, Mark Doty and Tim O’Brien.Read full article
I have known your poem “The Three Voices,” since I was just a small child. I don’t even remember the first time I heard it. Back then, it was just the soothing rhythm of your words that mattered to me. Something familiar, something calming to help me fall asleep at night. I always loved it when my father read poetry to me, and “The Three Voices” was my favorite. I memorized it without even noticing.But now that I’m older, now that I can understand the words, it has come to mean so much more to me. One line, “cling with my love to nature, as child to the mother-knee,” has meant more to me than any other. I remember as I read it, being a very little girl, at daycare, clinging to my mother’s knee, begging her not to leave me. But I always let go.Thinking about this has let me let go of other things, and know that letting go is not the end of the world. I can now look at something, and know that I don’t need it, that I can let it go, and everything will be all right.When I’m upset about something, I often find myself reciting this poem to myself. It inspires me in my writing, and my music. When I can’t remember how to play a song on my guitar, I fit the words of “The Three Voices” into my melody, and after awhile, the chords come more naturally.When I read the lines of your poem, I can feel the hard packed dirt and roots under me, feel the warmth of the fire on my face, and feel the very longing you describe. All my memories come rushing back, and I remember something forgotten each time I read it.Once I remembered (as I read the lines about the wind), a year when I went to Chitina to go fishing with my family. I was very little, and I had insisted on sleeping by myself in a one-man tent. The wind was blowing like a hurricane; so hard and fierce that I feared I would blow away and end up in the river, but I was also too stubborn to admit that I was too little to have my own tent, so I sat awake all night. I had forgotten this until your poem brought it back to the front of my mind.“The Three Voices” has helped to shape who I am as a person, and to remind me of my love for nature when I’ve spent too long indoors. I live in Alaska too, and spend a whole lot of time out in nature, at family cabins, or just camping. So I know just how beautiful and enchanting this world can be. And like you, I know that the places where some people say there is nothing, just the middle of nowhere, there is really everything, and the center of what really matters.I have gazed up at the stars so many times in my life, and heard them singing to me too, and I always feel so lucky to live in Alaska. Thank you for being my teacher.Your reader,
Diana Lanni Teacher: Chris Pastro Randy Smith Middle SchoolFairbanks, AlaskaHere is "The Three Voices," by Robert Service
The waves have a story to tell me, As I lie on the lonely beach; Chanting aloft in the pine-tops, The wind has a lesson to teach; But the stars sing an anthem of glory I cannot put into speech. The waves tell of ocean spaces, Of hearts that are wild and brave, Of populous city places, Of desolate shores they lave, Of men who sally in quest of gold, To sink in an ocean grave. The wind is a mighty roamer; He bids me keep me free, Clean from the taint of the gold-lust, Hardy and pure as he; Cling with my love to nature, As a child to the mother-knee. But the stars throng out in their glory, And they sing of the God in man; They sing of the Mighty Master, Of the loom his fingers span, Where a star or a soul is a part of the whole, And weft in the wondrous plan. Here by the camp-fire's flicker, Deep in my blanket curled, I long for the peace of the pine-gloom, When the scroll of the Lord is unfurled, And the wind and the wave are silent, And world is singing to world.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — Sandra Kowalski and Mary Cofer have been named principals of the year by the Fairbanks Principals Association.
Cofer, named elementary principal of the year, served the district for 24 years before retiring this spring as Arctic Light Elementary School’s principal. FPA President Kyra Aizstrauts announced Cofer’s honor at a school board meeting Tuesday. The audience rose to a standing ovation for her recognition.
Cofer served as Fairbanks Education Association president for two years when she was a teacher.
Aizstrauts called Cofer “a champion of public education.” She also said Cofer’s support for students with deployed parents has been outstanding.Read full article
FAIRBANKS — As Superintendent Pete Lewis helped introduce the matter of ratifying the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District teacher contract at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, he alluded to his pleasure with the resolution.
“If you have no questions,” he said to board members, “Please, get ‘er done.”
The Fairbanks Education Association ratified the agreed-upon contract on May 7. At a meeting, teachers voted to accept a two-year deal that included a 1.5 percent increase to their salaries and a $1,500 stipend for teachers who didn’t move up a step on the salary schedule this year. Next year, the teachers will receive a 1.75 percent increase to their salaries, with a $100 increase to each salary schedule cell, and a $1,500 stipend for teachers who won’t move up a step on the salary schedule.
The previous contract expired June 30.Read full article
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