Tongass School of Arts and
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,
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.
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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