SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Tongass School of Arts and Sciences
By Miguel Torres


October 18, 2008

I arrived to Ketchikan with my family in the summer of 2006 and looked at several schools in the district. I was most impressed with the atmosphere of the school and was intrigued by the curriculum, Integrated Thematic Instruction. My son, Marco and my daughter, Lisa recently graduated from Tongass and my son, Emo, is currently attending the third grade.

I became aware of the challenges the school had in the past and felt that one of the ways to impact change was to be involved with the school. This year the school implemented some major changes which included the hiring of a new principal and the several new teachers. I have been extremely excited about the focus and commitment of the new staff, alongside the existing teachers. I attended several Celebrations of Learning the school offered last year and was amazed by the understanding of subject matter the students displayed. Based on the looks on the faces of the large number of parents and guests in attendance, these Celebrations were incredibly successful and educational.

My son and daughter, Marco and Lisa, have grown immensely in the display of many of the lifeskills taught at Tongass School. They did very well at Tongass with their test scores and continue to do well at Schoenbar. I am equally proud of my son, Emo, as well.

In listening to both candidates for President during the recent debate, the support of Charter Schools was echoed by both. There is a need for competition in school districts throughout the US. Yes, I am aware of the recent shortfall of a small percentage of students in the recent AYPs. However, I am confident that the new changes taken on by the Tongass School will go a long way in addressing and improving future test scores. I appreciate the support that our Superintendent and our new School Board president offer to the Tongass School. As a parent, I welcome the members in the community that have not visited our school to stop by and meet our wonderful new Principal and take advantage of the programs that Tongass School is offering to the community. Our before and afterschool program has been a success. The new Pre-Kindergarten program has been a success. Tongass classmates excelled at last year's 5th and 6th grade, Battle of the Books. I am very happy that my children were able to experience the type of education offered at Tongass and I look forward to Emo's success at the Tongass School.

If you are a parent that has a child attending the Tongass School that is experiencing problems, I challenge you to get involved with your children in their education. Take time to talk to their teachers and the staff at Tongass. Make your concerns known to the Academic Policy Committee that meets twice a month. Visit the school and help your child grow. Most of all, read to them. Invest in your child's education and you will reap the rewards in the future. I know I am extremely rewarded by my children's performance. My wife and I both know, however, that our children need to know that we are a part of their education.

Miguel Torres
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Proud parent of two recent Tongass Graduates and a current 3rd grader."

Received October 16, 2008 - Published October 18, 2008


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska