It is not "Little House on the Prairie Anymore"
By Dr. Deena Bishop
I grew up in the 1970’s watching Laura Ingalls navigate life in Little House on the Prairie, located in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the year 1870. I considered her a kindred spirit. She was a middle child, as am I. She was a tomboy of sorts, as am I. She challenged, yet charmed, the adults in her life as she grew to understand and navigate the world around her. I may have done this a little.
Laura was a good student in her one room school house with classmates as young as 5 and as old as 16, taught by a teacher who was not from her home town. Laura was not the smartest, the prettiest, nor the most popular girl--she was in all aspects of the word--a typical student. Laura’s everyday life was different than mine in many ways too. She had to walk great distances though fields to get to school, I rode a bus. She carried her own lunch each day to school, I had a choice to purchase or bring my food from home, and she was sent home to her parents once or twice for her mischievous behaviors. My parents were only called on the phone, once or twice.
Winter 2018 Message
Dear Students, Families, Employees, and Community Members,
Welcome to the Anchorage School District. By supporting our teachers to be engaging and inviting we’re providing the best possible learning environment for students. When students know their teachers care about them and that school is preparing them for their futures, they are motivated to learn and grow. Having access to classes and programs relevant to their lives and experiences is also essential to meeting the challenges before them.
Whether you’re a student, employee, parent, or community member, all of us want to have a voice and be heard. When it comes to what we want our schools to be, there is no “us” and “them.” It is all us. We are on the same team striving to meet the same mission. As partners with families, ASD schools are shaped to put the needs of students first. We do this by asking, “What is it we want our students to know and be able to do after they graduate?”
Research tells us that there are both academic and nonacademic decisions that are keys to whether students are successful in school. Indicators of personal success in students are not so different than those of the adults in their lives. They include self-worth, engagement, and having purpose in life. Students and adults alike want to be listened to, have meaningful relationships, and see that they are working together to reach common goals.
Students who see purpose in their learning work hard to achieve academic goals. Those positive learning experiences grow out of positive relationship experiences with teachers and other trusted adults. These experiences can go on to motivate positive actions such as helping fellow students and benefiting our society as a whole.
The Anchorage School Board and Administration are committed to providing an open learning environment where students and employees feel safe, cared for, and that they belong. Providing rich academic content is an absolute must for our students to learn what they need to know to be successful in life. But having a welcoming space in which we work and come to school is equally important. We belong together, and together we are keeping Anchorage schools a great place to be, to learn, and to develop life skills.
Dr. Deena Bishop