Principal’s Corner

We promise to …

• Help our students increase their math performance 4% annually and their reading performance 3% annually,
• Treat all students with compassion, dignity, and respect so that at least 80% will continue schooling with GCSD, and
• Personalize instruction for each student based on assessment data.

March 8, 2019

Dear GILA Parents & Guardians:

I hope this letter finds you and your family well.

I want to inform you about changes we will be making to our Aviation program of study beginning in the fall of 2019.  We are very excited about these changes.  However, we know that you and your student may be disappointed if their goal was to earn their traditional pilot’s license while at GILA.

We are always working to build and sustain our many career and technical education programs to meet the projected needs of industry.  We strive to prepare all of our students for entrance into University, for continued study at post-secondary training centers, or for direct entrance into the workforce.

The aviation industry and other industries predict significant growth in the use of unmanned aircraft or drones.  The Galena City School District (GCSD) has been aware of this change for some time and we were in the initial discussions of transitioning our aviation program to reflect this need.  The needs of industry (projected careers/jobs) always guide us as we maintain or improve our career and technical education programs.  The changes we are making within our Ground School, Flight School, and new aviation courses will reflect the future needs of industry.  This is the reason for our planned shift of the focus which will drive our new Aviation Program.  However, several other factors influenced this decision as well.

Historically, our aviation courses have been available only to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  Each year, an extremely small percentage of our Ground School students graduate into our highly competitive Flight Program.  Additionally, GCSD’s Aviation instructor is not returning next year and Certified Flight Instructors (CFI’s), who are willing to work in a high school setting, are very difficult to find.

Financial realities have forced us to make this transition earlier rather than later.  Governor Dunleavy’s proposed 19.4% (almost $5,000,000) cut to GCSD’s state funding compels GCSD to hasten this transition.  The changes to our Aviation program of study will go into effect in the fall of 2019.

We understand that not everyone will welcome this change.  However, we are confident that this move will benefit future students as we prepare them for careers and jobs in industries that involve piloting aircraft.  GCSD’s Aviation program of study will begin training some of the first “drone” pilots.  Students finishing GCSD’s two-year Aviation program of study in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) ought to have become licensed UAS (drone) pilots by passing their Section 107 test and to have logged many hours of UAS flying time, having mastered the various applications possible with unmanned aircraft in a number of different occupations.

GCSD teachers Paul Apfelbeck and Rich Reifsnyder are poised to launch this cutting-edge Aviation program of study this coming fall semester.

We are honored that you have made the choice to allow your student to school at GILA.  We are very proud of our student body and we know how proud you must be of your student as well.  We can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to be away from your student and for them to be away from you.

Every day we will work to improve the programs we can offer to your student.

As always, please do not hesitate to call me with any concerns, ideas, or questions.


John Riddle
Principal of Boarding School Operations
907-656-2053 ext 108
656-7193 (cell)

Letters from the Principal
 GILA Parent Letter March 8,2019
 GILA Parent Letter February 6,2019
 GILA Parent Letter August 22, 2018
 GILA Parent Letter March 3, 2018
 GILA Parent Letter February 24, 2018
 GILA Parent Letter February 9, 2018
 GILA Parent Letter November 27, 2017
 GILA Parent Letter September 5, 2017
GILA Parent Letter April 10, 2017
 GILA Parent Letter January 18, 2017
 GILA Parent Letter September 15, 2016
 GILA Parent Letter August 8, 2016