Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

I know that this is a cliché, but it seems as if every year passes more quickly than one preceding. One thing remains constant, however—I couldn’t be more proud of this school, staff, and the community we serve. There is truly no other place I’d rather be and no other thing I’d rather be doing. I’m very excited to take this opportunity to share some new initiatives happening at Seward High this year.

Welcome to the Newest Member of our Staff:
Stephanie Withrow is a 2006 graduate of Seward High. I was very impressed with her ability to articulate her genuine passion for being part of this staff and desire to support our vision for student success. She also brings a wealth of experience in office management, customer service, and teenagers. She will fill both positions that Kim Reierson left in her retirement as our Attendance Secretary and Library Aide.

Dates for Your Calendar:
New Student/Freshmen Transition Camp August 22nd at 6:00 PM
First day for students August 23rd at 7:45 A.M.
Open House August 30th at 6:00 P.M.
Labor Day holiday (no school) September 5
Picture Day September 14
Teacher Collaboration/Early Release September 14

Fall Sports:
Seward Seahawks’ football, cross country running, volleyball, and swimming seasons have already begun. If you are interested, and are not already participating in one of these activities, it’s not too late! The Alaska School Activities Association requires that student-athletes participate in ten (10) practices before they are eligible to compete. Also, all high school student-athletes must have a current physical BEFORE they can begin practicing. Contact the school for times and locations.

Big Changes:
We’ve taken on a couple significant changes this year. The first is our Modified 8 Block Schedule. This will change some paradigms about how we do business. Students will be enrolled in all eight periods for the entire school year unless we make schedule changes with input from students and their parents.

We’ve also created a class called “Personalized Learning” in which we’ll enroll all Freshmen and Sophomores and the handful of Juniors and Seniors who want/need it. This course will be supervised by a certified teacher, but will not earn academic credit. Some students will use this period for study hall, some for intervention, and some to work on their Distance Delivery courses. Our Modified 8 Master Schedule will allow students to earn seven credits over the course of the year. Upperclassmen will have this time to pursue a work study or mentorship within the community through our Home Release program.
Finally, through several conversations with the staff and the Seward Area Site-Based Council, I made the decision to close the campus for all freshmen during the school day. In past years we learned that students who walk have a very difficult time getting to Safeway and back without being tardy. The other option is for them to ride with an upperclassmen who has a car. I fielded many concerns from parents of freshmen about this unsupervised time with older students. This means that freshmen students must either pack a lunch or take advantage of our school lunch program. This policy will be in place beginning on the first day of school. Of course, parents always have the right to excuse their child(ren) from classes.

Final Thoughts:
As Seward High’s principal I have endeavored to establish an open-door policy with all members of our larger learning community. I am committed to continuing that philosophy. I genuinely look forward to hearing your questions, comments, and/or concerns and will always make time to accommodate them. I can be reached at twalker@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or by phone at (907) 224-9077.

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