Parent-Teacher Conferences Cancelled Due to Earthquake

The second conferences supposed to be held this year have been cancelled due to a tight schedule caused by the earthquake and in anticipation for Alaska’s unpredictable weather.

¨The school board has decided to cancel conferences to make up for the lost days,¨Dimond Principal Tina Johnson-Harris said.

Since the large 7.0 earthquake that shook Anchorage and our academic agenda, both students and staff struggled to finish up their first semester.

Despite the time lost due to numerous days off, brought on by damages that made our schools too hazardous to occupy, Anchorage proved resilient through those five days.

Students diligently studied to make up for lost time, teachers revised their lesson plans in order to make them more compact, and the whole community came together to help others in a time of need.

We as a city have worked together to move forward.  However, the state statute requiring a 170 day school year still stands.

The Anchorage School District calendar consists of 172 days, meaning that “We have two days built in for bad weather,” said Superintendent Deena Bishop in an interview with Anchorage Daily News back in December.

While the state has agreed upon working with the district and allowed them a three-day buffer to fully allow all repairs and clean up at schools to be finished, Alaska’s unpredictable weather still raised concern.

To make up for the two extra inservice days that the district likes to have on standby the half day and Friday off, originally meant for conferences, have been revoked.

The half day scheduled for the 20th of February and the state released professional development day on the 22nd were initially meant for parent-teacher conferences and for teachers to receive more training on curriculum and topics relating to their specific department.

Since the state has allowed the district to make these changes students will attend school as normal, instead of taking both a full and half day off. Nearly a standard full week, excluding Presidents Day off.

“My parents have never really gone to my conferences before, so this doesn’t really affect me,” Senior Gwenna Nichols said.

However, many students and especially their dedicated parents who depend on the intel and interactions of conferences will be disheartened.

“My parents always go to my conferences”, said senior Emily Campbell.

“They’ll be dissatisfied that they won’t be able to talk face to face with my teachers,” said Campbell on the fact that this year many parents will miss out on meeting with the people who spend so much time with their children on a daily basis.

However there is a simple solution.

“My door is always open,” said Art Teacher Cullen Lickingteller.

Just because there will not be a set day and event for both parents and students to discuss their academic progress with teachers doesn’t mean there are not many opportunities for meetings between the two groups.

“Whether it be parents or students, they are always welcome to come and talk to me,” Lickingteller said.

Despite all that has happened this year, Dimond staff is always ready to cater to students and their families in order to make sure that they are well equipped for a very successful second semester.

¨Parents and students shouldn’t feel like they can only talk to their teachers on a select few days a year,¨ Lickingteller said.

Although it is helpful going to conferences for feedback and updates from teachers, there are many more opportunities for students to connect with them all year.

All it takes is a little initiative to make a big difference in the relationship between teacher and the pupil.

For more information regarding the earthquakes impact on Anchorage School District visit their webpage: