The Anchorage School District needs to take a more active role in decreasing issues of truancy within our schools. When teachers and staff observe a student with suffering attendance, there needs to be more proactive measures taken to prevent them from being left behind. Numerous factors can lead to students missing school. Still, the teachers and staff need to have community engagement to be able to communicate with families to address the problem effectively. Finding the source of the problem will allow staff to provide adequate resources to struggling students and create a healthy and safe environment for students to thrive.
One of the issues we face is recruiting and retaining teachers for our schools. We need to foster a more supportive environment for new teachers. This can be done by creating a supportive community infrastructure, having experienced teachers directly mentor young teachers, and providing a more manageable work-life balance. We also need to continue considering restructuring retirement plans, allowing for new teachers to have Post Retirement Pension Adjustments. It is incredibly challenging to recruit and retain quality teachers when they are concerned about the stability of their financial future.
We are in stressful and frankly frightening times regarding our school systems. Policies are coming out of the administration in Juneau that has compromised our ability to properly fund our schools and take care of our students and teachers. The Anchorage School District needs to be firmly entrenched within the communities in which the schools occupy. Elementary schools are pillars within neighborhoods. Teachers and families need to be able to rely upon each other for support in order to educate our kids to their fullest potential. This requires leaders in the ASD needs to engage leaders within communities around Anchorage, not placing all the pressure on teachers to fulfill this necessary outreach. The work-life balance and effectiveness of our teachers could improve drastically if community members can shoulder part of the load teachers are forced to carry outside of official school hours.