Student count for school year stays above 100
The official student count for the 2016 -17 year is 113.05 kindergarten through twelfth graders. The academic year started off with about 125 students, the highest enrollment in almost two decades. But official head count is calculated by the State a few weeks into the school year.
“A lot of people ask me how you get .05 kids. That’s an average over a 20-day period of [the school’s] enrollment, so obviously we’ve got some fluctuation with the end of the cruise ship season, Superintendent Josh Coughran told the School Board during its regular session on Nov. 29.
“I had estimated 105, so that’s good news as well. We are seeing some extra funding [from the State] because of that,” Coughran said.
The exact amount of those funds will be announced at the board meeting in January “once the finance division of the state has released the final calculations,” Coughran said.

Vocational building RFP update
Plans for the school’s Vocational Education building are moving forward in the form of a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP was sent out in November by City Manager Scott Hahn with a deadline to return proposals by Dec. 6.
The plan calls for building that will house a modernized automotive shop, maintenance storage area and possibly an emergency generator. The goal for the vocational building is to develop programs that will lead to employment opportunities in Skagway. The programs may include carpentry, welding, and boiler mechanical training.
“This is uncharted territory for us,” Coughran said. “We are actually starting to see some real plans; I’m very excited about that.”
As of press-time, the Municipality had received four proposals. There will be a review committee formed to look over each proposal, Michelle Gihl told The Skagway News.

Grading policy update
In an effort to make report cards reflect student performance and progress in the classroom, a major overhaul of the grading policy has been underway.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on the grade policy update as a staff,” Superintendent Coughran said,”
The new grading policy includes foundational beliefs including: grading and report cards should be based on clearly specified learning goals and standards; evidence for grading should be valid; grading should be based on established criteria not on arbitrary norms; avoid grading based on averages in a 100-point scale, or with zeros; and focus on achievement and report other factors separately.
“I think anyone who has ever looked at an elementary report card and has seen the ‘G’s” and “P’s,’ it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story of the student,” Coughran said.

School Board to host Community Forum in January
The School Board discussed plans for a Community Forum to take place at the school on Jan. 31, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. before the regular board meeting. The meeting will cover the new grading policy, calendar events and other announcements. Pizza will be served. – SA