We believe culturally-responsive teaching practices and social-emotional learning are essential to the learning experiences of all students, and must be woven into curriculum and instructional practices. Co-creating responsive schools with the community is essential to the connection between schools and families and requires thoughtful collaboration with the community.
In the 2009-10 school year, individuals from the local Tlingit community identified a need for the district to be more culturally responsive in our teaching practices. We formed a committee to explore the needs regarding culturally-responsive education in partnership with individuals from the local Tlingit community.The ACT standards are one of many ways that we are working to address the identified needs, and its implementation continues to embed community engagement. For example, at our alternative high school students make culminating presentations to peers, family, and community members in lieu of final exams.
Students from Sitka High School identified a need to increase the educational use of technology in classrooms around the school district in order to better prepare students for life after graduation. The district hired a consultant to conduct an audit of our technology infrastructure and use. We used these findings to implement a comprehensive plan to embed the use of digital tools into the fabric of everyday learning. We developed our ACT standards to build equity of implementation around the school district.
Art is not something that we simply do, it is part of who we are in the world and in relation to one another. Grounded in research that emphasizes art’s power in improving both community and individual health, and the importance of art culturally to our community, the Sitka School District is committed to embedding art throughout a student’s experience.