October 30, 2017
Welcoming students, staff, and all industry and community guests, Dr. Deena Bishop, Superintendent of Anchorage schools highlighted the success of the King Career Center, its students, and the mission to continue to grow the opportunities for students through expanding opportunities at KCC. Speaking to the industry partners, parents, and community stakeholders, Alaska Commissioner Department of Labor, Heidi Drygas, said, “The Department of Labor looks to the Anchorage School District as the leader in the state of Alaska in preparing students for industry and skilled jobs.”
KCC graduate, Elijah Hickok shared his experiences at KCC and beyond. He graduated in 2017. While at KCC, he was in Mr. Yelverton’s Collision, Repair, and Refinishing class. In speaking about his teachers, he also said to Ms. Julie Vincek, counselor, “I couldn’t have made it without you.” After Elijah spoke, Ms. Vincek commented, “Because of his success here at KCC, his great attendance, strong work ethic, professionalism, and good grades, he earned an opportunity to complete a semester of on-the-job-training with Ryan Cropper, owner of Able Body Shop.” Mr. Cropper is also an alumni of the same class. “Due to his exceptional work while out on OJT,” said Ms. Vincek, “he was offered an apprenticeship position to be an auto body repair technician. So, he is getting paid while being an apprentice!”
“KCC opened in the fall of 1974. In 1990, the meeting room was added, and in 2013 and 2017, construction trade and transportation shops were remodeled,” reported KCC principal, Lou Pondolfino. He also shared with the attendees the deliverables—the return on community investment in KCC:
Current enrollment at KCC is 920 students. There were staff reductions this year, so enrollment decreased, too. A new class has been added, diesel power technology. There are after-school exploratory classes available for students. These are eight different offerings of one-week each, primarily for freshmen and sophomores to give students an overview of pathway options. In total, there are 26 courses offered.
“We raise the bar high here at KCC,” explained Mr. Pondolfino. “We have a 95 percent attendance expectation. If a student is going to be absent, we expect a telephone call to let us know.” He also said the school is personal-device free. Students are strongly encouraged to dress in appropriate attire and each Wednesday, the school observes professional dress day. “KCC is your job,” he said, “which is our message to our students.”
“What do we know about CTE and student success?” asked Mr. Pondolfino. “CTE concentrator students—those who take at least two courses in a career path have a 94 percent graduation rate.” Junior and senior students attend KCC from all Anchorage schools. “A big part of a student’s success here,” he explained, “is attitude. Our students are pleasant and demonstrate a worklike attitude while at school.” Students at KCC make the choice to be there. “Our students are here because they want to be,” said principal Pondolfino. “They are committed to KCC.”
The staff at KCC is also committed and highly qualified. Many are dual professionals; 19 of 34 hold Type M certifications, that is they are industry certified and have a special certification to teach in Alaska schools. All 34 are certified within their industry standards.
Also improving and expanding, KCC is looking to:
Transitioning to a full-time comprehensive high school or blended learning environment means:
In the meantime, coming this spring is an expanded workplace experience program.