Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Habra to speak on the state of school district


Haines School District superintendent Tony Habra will make “State of the District” presentations for the community this month, spelling out where the district stands now and how it will progress in the coming years.

Presentations are set for 5:30 p.m. April 25 and 6:30 p.m. April 27 at the public library and noon on Friday, April 28 at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in the Pioneer Bar and Restaurant.

“I believe the district is the community’s schools,” Habra said. “(The presentations) are my way of talking to the community and making sure they have the opportunity to ask questions. Are we spending money wisely? Are we doing the right things? How far off am I? The devil is in the details.”

When he was hired last summer, Habra promised to follow a three-year plan to get to know the district and address where it could improve. The first year calls for “exploration” to identify issues, the second for “consolidation” to determine how to address the issues, and the third for “innovation” to act on the issues.

In his first year, Habra identified statewide changes in the teacher evaluation process – including eliminating the requirement that 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would be based on students’ test scores – that have left “a void in the evaluation system.”

“What is it that we need to do to fill the void?” Habra asked.

District administrative regulations have time requirements for homework per grade, which Habra said needs to be reconsidered. He said parents and members of the School Advisory Council have complained that the time requirements are stressful for families.

Habra also said the requirements are written “as opposed to what the research says is best for students. Further, as an individual stressor between school and home, homework, its amount and usefulness, consistently ranks as a major concern with families I have spoken with.”

The third issue Habra identified is making students aware of employer expectations.

Habra said he was “disappointed that there were people who felt blindsided by the decisions that had to be made, so we will work on ways to get information out more effectively.”


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