Nome School Board Opens Floor to Student Feedback; Credit for NACTEC in the Works

People sit around a table in a library

Student representative Devin Otton shared his Nome-Beltz classmates’ concerns with the Nome School Board at Tuesday’s Board meeting. The high school senior provided an extensive report.

“[There are] not that many electives. There’s only one Spanish class, and that’s just it. There’s no other languages… Maybe that can tie into students not liking school… Lots of students want art and a ceramics class.”

Other concerns from his surveyed peers included untidy bathrooms and school lunch quality and portion size.

Board president Brandy Arrington appreciated the student’s report.

“It’s so easy for adults to go and make decisions for you guys, but this is your education, and you guys also deserve to have a voice. So, I really appreciate all this feedback, and I know Bill does, too.”

Early in the meeting, Superintendent Bill Schildbach reported that students who attend the Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center, or NACTEC, statistically have a higher graduation rate. Currently, Nome students do not receive credits from participating in NACTEC. Vice President of the Board, Barb Amarok, would like to see that change:

“I think it would be great if we provided credit for attendance by Nome students at NACTEC: for them to get elective credit or some kind of credit for their time there… I know that’s been the difficulty: the amount of time that the classes require away from campus and the time they miss from courses they’re already enrolled in…”

The superintendent said he’s working with the Bering Strait School District on a plan for high schoolers to earn elective credit for NACTEC.

A substantial update on employee health insurance was not provided at the meeting, but Schildbach says (health insurance) bidding will be finalized in early January. He also shared with the board his search for application-based messaging software for Nome schools to streamline communication with parents, in light of Anchorage’s recent earthquake.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, January 8. There will be no work session for the month of December; the next work session is scheduled for January 22.

Image at top: Nome School Board members and student representative Devin Otton sit at the Board meeting on December 11. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.