Superintendent’s Corner

August 20, 2018

Dear GCSD Families and Community Members:

Today marks our first day of classes in Galena. All of GCSD’ s programs are doing very well. Our school choice homeschool support program (IDEA) is once again experiencing an increase in student enrollment. Enrollment at GILA and SHS appears akin to last year. Upshot, GCSD’s enrollment remains strong. GCSD is anticipating, once again, our largest enrollment district-wide. The continued increase in our enrollment numbers speaks volumes to the quality of services that we provide our families statewide and, more importantly, to the variety of educational options that we offer for families to determine the most appropriate educational plan for their students.

On July 1, 2018, GCSD finally (after years of grant applications) received 7.6 million in state funding to remodel the GILA Headquarters Building into a state-of-the-art math and science facility. This was the district’s number one priority in our six-year capital improvement plan. GCSD plans to begin construction next May with a move-in date for the start of the 2020-21 school year. During their August 22, 2018 meeting, the GCSD School Board will consider the next iteration of the six-year capital improvement plan. The proposed number one project is an energy efficiency upgrade to the aged GILA Composite instructional facility. If approved by the Board, GCSD plans to submit an application to the Department of Education and Early Development’s Major Maintenance Capital Improvement Project grant program on September 1 for potential funding for this project. GCSD and the City of Galena are proud of the continuous improvements to our facilities. These improvements allow greater utilization of these buildings in support of the district’s educational mission.

During their August meeting, the GCSD School Board will review district summaries and school summaries from last spring’s administration of Alaska’s state assessments in English/language arts, math, and science. This was the second year of the PEAKS English/language arts and math assessments. Statisticians caution against assuming trends, patterns, etc. when there are only two data points. We must exercise caution when comparing these results with the results from spring 2017 because of the lack of longitudinal data. Of course, GCSD will use these assessments to determine areas within our English/language arts, math, and science curricula that provide data points worthy of celebration and conversely data points that provide an opportunity for improvement. Outlined below is a snapshot of the district and state results.

Families will receive individual student reports in the mail. Your school’s principal will have school results. If you would like to discuss your child’s or your school’s results, please contact the principal of your school.

In closing, I want to thank all of our families for partnering with GCSD in the education of your children. The district is extremely proud of the educational services we provide families statewide, and we could not do it without your input and guidance. Thank you for that support, and thank you for providing to your school’s principal any improvement suggestions that you might have; GCSD is always looking to improve educational services to our students and their families. And please feel comfortable contacting me at the phone number above or the email address below if you would like to discuss any aspect of this letter in greater detail, or if you would like more information on any district initiative.

Respectfully yours,

Jim Merriner, GCSD Superintendent


Letters from the Superintendent

August 2018 Parent Letter 08/20/2018
July 2018 Parent Letter (Galena) 07/02/2018
 April 2018 Parent and Community Member Letter 02/23/2018
 February 2018 Parent Letter 02/23/2018
January 2018 Parent Letter 01/26/2018
 December 2017 Parent Letter 12/15/2017
November 2017 Parent Letter 11/21/2017
GCSD October 2017 Parent Letter 10/05/2017
September 5 2017 Stakeholder Strategic Plan Letter and Draft 2018-20 Strategic Plan 09/05/2017
 GCSD August 2017 Parent Letter 08/12/2017
 GCSD May 2017 Family Letter 05/12/2017
 GCSD April 2017 Family Letter 04/24/2017
 GCSD Strategic Plan Stakeholder Survey Letter 04/17/2017
 March 2017 Parent Letter 03/21/2017
 February 2017 Parent Letter 02/20/2017
 January 2017 Parent Letter 01/20/2017
 December 2016 Parent Letter 12/19/2016
 November 2016 Parent Letter 11/18/2016
 October 2016 Parent Letter 10/20/2016
 September 2016 Parent Letter 09/15/2016