My name is Denise Thomas and I have taught in the Bering Strait School District for the past nine years. I have taught in Savoonga, Teller and Unalakleet. Currently I am the Coordinator of Assessment for the Bering Strait School District. Even though I am not in the classroom this year I have a continued passion for the success of the students in the Bering Strait School District.
Testing throughout Alaska and the nation is undergoing a great deal of change. The High School Graduation Qualifying Examination (HSGQE) is one of the state required tests that 10th grade students must take. Also, 11th and 12th grade students that did not score proficient in each of the following content areas of reading, writing and math must retest in that content area. If an adult has received a Certificate of Achievement (COA) she or he may also retake the test. Passing all three sections of the HSGQE is one of the requirements a student must fulfill in order to receive a diploma.
This year the HSGQE retest will be given October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. BSSD has placed a great deal of time and energy into providing students with the necessary educational resources to pass this test. The importance of regular attendance greatly impacts the success of a student on this test. Students need to attend school so their teachers are able to provide instruction, exposure and increase student’s knowledge base in these three content areas.
As with all components of our student’s education, it is a team effort. Each school in BSSD needs the continued support and encouragement that parents/guardians provide their children. This year’s HSGQE retest date is quickly approaching. I would like to stress the importance of this test and ask for your continued support in getting your child to school on time these three days. Finally, please discuss with your child the importance and impact that passing the HSGQE will have on future plans and opportunities for your child.
Coordinator of Assessment
Bering Strait School District
Members of the BSSD Faculty and Staff,
As your Superintendent and fellow educator, I look forward to meeting you in Unalakleet in the very near future, as we celebrate and prepare for the beginning of another school year.
In the month that I have been in the district preparing for this season of work I am constantly reminded how fortunate we, as educators in BSSD, are to be engaged in the most significant industry on earth, working in the most interesting and beautiful state in the union, and working for the best district in the state.
I am excited about this year like none other; I believe BSSD is poised for academic greatness. I believe we have the personnel, tools and training to be one of the most academically successful districts in the state at giving the gift of literacy to our customers, and actually impacting and changing the lives of people, through the skilled delivery of instruction.
As with the change of any administration, there will be some changes in operation, practice and procedures, and a few course alterations in priorities and vision; but the core mission of imparting a love for the shared idea, the wonder of discovery and the art of communication have not changed. Your job, the one you are educated and certified to perform, remains the same.
Your job, beyond the health, safety and socialization aspects of human management, is to dedicatedly with strategic intent: use every proven methodology at your professional disposal to impart the fundamentals of, and appreciation for, READING to every student in our district. Reading in every subject and content area is your fundamental job and the primary purpose of your employment as an educator is BSSD. Research is very clear: Reading is the key to the opportunities, application and wonder of all things academic. It is also the primary determinant limiting or advancing the potential and future opportunities of those students whom we either succeed or fail in making literate, in the 12+ years they are under our tutelage.
As district leadership, we are dedicating most of the upcoming pre-service activities this year to a rededication, of all faculty and leadership to the district’s research based reading curriculum, Success For All (SFA). Please come to the table with an open mind, in the spirit of continuous improvement of self, process and mission, where SFA is concerned. Student literacy is the fundamental target that we will collectively apply our professional art and science to, purposefully, strategically, with precision and brilliance, this year and every year, until the number of students graduating every grade level proficient in reading out numbers those that are not.
I look forward to meeting each of you in Unalakleet. Travel Safely, Its about time to change the world one child at a time and literacy is the key in BSSD.