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Updated Community Meetings

Dear Eagle River Elementary Families and Staff,

It has been an honor to be your Principal for the past two school years and a devoted fan of our little school for over 40 years. I love our community and the population of families who choose to bring their children to our school either through the Neighborhood, Preschool, or Optional Programs. Before the earthquake, the highlight of my day was standing at our entrance each morning to greet our students, parents, and staff as they walked in so I could comment on a new haircut, pull someone aside who looked upset to check in or to just say hello and smile so people felt cared about as well as noticed.

Our school felt like a family to me with staff who loved their life's work and had mostly been there over ten years, many families who sent their children to the school for multiple generations and a communal sense of safety, both physically and emotionally, for all of us to be able to grow from the spot in which we arrived in because we were accepted for who we were with all of our strengths and all of our weaknesses. To have families feel comfortable enough to share struggles, for teachers to be able to ask for help when they needed it and for students to have been shown unconditional love and acceptance no matter what the situation brought all of us together in such a positive way. I know now that I didn't appreciate it enough while it was happening because I really miss all of us being together in one space.

The earthquake shook up more than the ground when we were moved to three different sites. I have tried my best to meet our population's needs these last two months but traveling to Birchwood, Homestead, and Ravenwood on a daily has been difficult. Our current system is unsustainable past this school year and our students, families, and staff deserve better than what we have temporarily put into place with our very best intentions. The school will not open next year and we need to come up with a solution of how to best support our stakeholders - this is where we need everyone's help and input.

Some isolated incidents of negativity at public meetings, on social media and through the mainstream press about our situation have not helped us get stronger as a community and I urge each of you to rise above that approach as we move forward and demonstrate to others that we are solution-based, have positive intent, and care about communicating our ideas to others in a way that is inclusive and can be heard. We are excellent problem solvers, we know what's best for our community and we need to have our voices heard.

Please join me on one of the below-listed dates to share your ideas and suggestions with the district so together we can make a great plan that supports our students and staff in the best ways possible. Please note that the dates and locations have changed from the previous email that was sent out.

Elementary (Eagle River Elementary)
February 13 -- 6 p.m. -- Eagle River High School, 8701 Yosemite Drive

February 20 -- 6 p.m. -- Eagle River High School (Summary of input)

Meetings have also been set to discuss the changes for Gruening Middle School. We invite you to attend those meetings as well if you have a student who may be transitioning into or who is already in Middle School or High School in the Eagle River area.

Secondary (Chugiak/Gruening)
February 12 -- 6 p.m. -- Chugiak High School, 16525 S. Birchwood Loop Road

February 21 -- 6 p.m. -- Chugiak High School (Summary of input)

Lisa Prince