September 15, 2016
Originally published in the Alaska Dispatch News on Sept. 15, 2016
As I reflect on Tuesday's events, which resulted in closing two schools for the day due to violence on our streets, I am overwhelmed with the amazing support of our community. Wednesday morning, students at Chugach Optional Elementary and Central Middle schools were greeted when they arrived by positive sidewalk-chalk messages born out of a grass-roots effort started by a University of Alaska Anchorage student.
Parents, students and staff were delighted to be served free hot chocolates and coffee from a Kaladi Brothers Coffee van parked in the parking lot. The Anchorage community supports its public schools, which was evident on Wednesday.
It's important to me that our students know good will prevail. Something negative happened on Tuesday. Those things are going to happen in life, but it's telling how our community responded: with love and support. That's what our students will remember.
Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful for our partnership with the Anchorage Police Department. We work closely with APD and it shares our values and priority of keeping our students and staff safe. Officers' quick action and prompt notification to my administration helped us make a quick decision, which was in the best interest of our students, families and employees.
— Dr. Deena Paramo
Anchorage School District