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Nome Board of Education wraps up a successful year

December school board meeting. Photo by Miriam Trujillo.

The last Nome Public School’s Board of Education meeting capped off the year with recognitions.

Superintendent of Schools Jamie Burgess celebrated the three members of the board, Darlene Trigg, Nancy Mendenhall and Sandy Martinson, who had been given the experienced board membership award by the Association of Alaska School Boards.

“We’re very lucky that we have some board members that are very dedicated to, not only just simply serving on the school board, but developing their knowledge and their expertise so that they are the best board members possible,” Burgess said.

In her student report, senior Lupe Callahan highlighted the senior art class painting a mural at the high school and the music department’s first Christmas concert.

This will be the first concert that they will be holding since (the) COVID shutdown back in 2020,” Callahan said.

Nome Beltz athletes, as well as artists, had a successful year, according to Callahan. The Nome-Beltz Volleyball team competed in State for its first time since 2018. Wrestling regionals, took place in Nome. Both Nome’s girls team and boys team took first place.

In her principal’s report, Elizabeth Korenek-Johnson, highlighted the year’s success with teaching students an Inupiaq phrase each week. She noted that they had input from several Inupiaq dialects, including those of King Island and North Slope.

In addition to celebrating, the Nome Board of Education addressed areas where they had room for improvement.

Board member Dr. Barb Amarok brought up that the vaccination rate at Nome Elementary School is considerably lower than the vaccination rate at Nome-Beltz and the Anvil Science academy. She asked if that was because of the initial age requirements for the vaccine and if the vaccination rate at NES was increasing.

Burgess pointed out that NES students were too young to be eligible for the first two rounds of the vaccine but vaccination rates among NES students are indeed increasing with the lowered age eligibility of the vaccine. Burgess stated the school district is still hoping to make mask wearing optional if NES reaches an 80% percent vaccination rate and the community of Nome’s transmission rates go down.

“That means we will have to drop down into the single digits for active case counts. So that would mean there is a very low transmission risk,” Burgess said.

Board member Darlene Trigg advocated for more parental involvement in Nome School’s preparations to send students to college. She suggested that the conversation regarding what a student wants to do in college is something that should happen before Junior year and that should happen with parents.

“There’s a lot of places where, what the family’s expectations is in comparison to what the teachers are seeing what the students are … there’s just a big gap there, and I think a part of preparing students for what may come after high school is engaging the things that families see as well,” Trigg said.

The Nome Board of Education passed both action items on their agenda. The Board voted to approve the FY21 Audit, which was presented earlier in the meeting, and to approve the FY22 budget revision number 1.

The Nome Board of Education’s next regular meeting is on Tuesday, Jan. 11. As always, the public is invited to attend and to comment.

Image at top: The last Nome Public School’s Board of Education meeting capped off the year with recognitions. Photo by Miriam Trujillo, KNOM.

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