Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School Welcomes ANCCS With Open Arms
ANCCS and ASD personnel worked diligently before spring break to make the move possible and welcome students back into the classroom for the start of the fourth quarter on March 15. “I can’t say enough good things and gratitude for how hard everyone has worked to make this possible,” said ANCCS Principal Sheila Sweetsir. “We had three days to move a whole school and they came in and swiftly packed us up and made it happen.”
The next step, said Sweetsir, is to make it work smoothly for the students and staff for the remainder of the school year and through next year. The new location only has 14 classrooms and ANCCS has 15 teachers.
“We have combined our second-grade classes and our preschool is going to be over at Mountain View Elementary,” she said. “It is not as big of a space, but we will do the best that we can with what we have.”
Sweetsir said there were some reservations from parents when the process started, and the school sent out a survey in hopes to address those concerns. With the surveys completed Sweetsir will be able to ease those concerns when she meets with parents on March 4, during an informational meeting.
East is also no stranger to Native culture. Their Elitnaurvik Within East is a program that was established in 1987. It is a school-within-a-school supplementing the traditional curriculum and offering alternative classes for Native students. EWE incorporated Native values and issues, and successfully addresses different learning styles in its activities, course offerings, and work components.
With most of the move complete the next step was the blessing to bring in “good energy and to bring our positive self with good intentions” to the building, said Sweetsir.
That piece was handled by Native Elders Agnes Baptiste and Lucy Brown during a ceremony Wednesday morning. Using bird feathers, the duo and those gathered gave thanks, blessed and cleansed the building for the coming year and the return of students.
“ANCCS will be a part of East. It’s truly an honor to be a part of the East High School team,” said Brown as she led the ceremony in the East High hallway in front of the stained glass. “You all are now a team and will work together and move forward.”
Sweetsir said it couldn’t be better under the circumstances. “We are here, and it feels really welcoming. I am excited”