District Profile

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BSSD District Profile

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Mission of the Bering Strait School District: The Bering Strait School District will educate our children to become self-sufficient and contributing citizens through quality programs that reflect our children’s heritage.

The Bering Strait School District, in northwest Alaska, serves fifteen isolated villages on the Seward Peninsula, on the eastern end of Norton Sound and on two islands in the Bering Sea. Current enrollment is approximately 1800 students and is almost 100% Alaskan Native Inupiat, Yu'pik or Siberian Yu'pik Eskimo.

Although the number of students served is relatively small, the area served covers approximately 80,000 square miles. Most of the schools are accessible only by small bush aircraft.

VILLAGE SCHOOLS

The professional staff at each school varies from seven to twenty-one, including the principal. Village support staff includes Locally Recognized Experts, cooks, custodians, secretaries, community education coordinators, and educational aides for a variety of programs.

The District Office for the Bering Strait School District (BSSD) is located in Unalakleet. BSSD operates K-12school programs in:

These communities range in size from a population of 150 up to a population of nearly 900, while the student population in our schools ranges from 40 to 225 students.

In addition, the district has partnered with Nome City Schools and Northwest Arctic School District to maintain the Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center NACTEC. This program provides a wide range of programs in career and technical education through a facility in Nome.

SCHOOL BOARD

The Board of Education of the Bering Strait School District consists of eleven members representing all areas of the District. The School Board has the responsibililty of setting district goals, developing policies, approving school programs, hiring staff and conducting evaluations of the Superintendent.

ADVISORY EDUCATION COMMITTEES

Each community has an elected Advisory Education Committee (AEC) which serves as an advisory group for all local educational programs in the village. The AEC works closely with and makes recommendation to the School Board on matters affecting the school programs in the village.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

The District's instructional initiatives include:

The comprehensive approach to reading instruction used by the Bering Strait School District is Success for All. You need to know up front that if you teach anywhere in the range from K-8th grade, it is nearly certain you will teach a section of SFA. In fact, many Special Education and some secondary teachers also teach sections of SFA.

This represents the most focused approach to reading instruction our District has ever employed. We have support both within our own district (a reading facilitator at your school, 2 traveling District facilitators and District Program Coordinator who oversees the entire program) and from the SFA Foundation (4-5 foundation staff that do initial and ongoing professional development with our staff throughout the year). New and returning staff who will be teaching reading get 2 full days of intensive staff development before school even begins.

Our goal is to get all students reading at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade with no regression thereafter. This information is designed to tell you just a bit about the Success For All reading program in the Bering Strait School District.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Special Education programs and personnel serve between two and three hundred students. Certified special education teachers in every school provide services to all identified gifted/talented and special needs students.

A team of specialists provides support services. The service delivery models used range from resource room to full inclusion. Service providers fulfill the role of a generalist in delivering educational programs to students who are experiencing various disabilities. We also have three weekend G/T camps to provide an added service for these students. To assist you in determining whether or not you meet the requirements necessary to be a successful special educator in the BSSD, read the Special Education Question and Answer Brochure available from our Personnel Office.

State and Federal programs provide supplemental services to identified groups of target students. District programs include: Title I, Title II, Indian Education, Community Education and Migrant Education. These funds are secured through annual writing and approval of grants.

TECHNOLOGY

The Bering Strait School district is proud to be on the leading edge of technology. The district's Educational Technology Department is focused on technology as a tool for education, not technology for technology's sake.

A wide range of innovative programs are run from the BSSD District Office, including itinerant teacher training in technology integration, distance learning and curriculum construction initiatives, collaborative document and website creation, the Student Broadcasting Team, and many video conference courses and events.

The Ed Tech department is essential to the continued improvement of the district, and works with all departments to improve their use of data for decision making and to increase the efficiency of their workflow.

TAXES/LAND

Currently there is no Alaska State income tax. A sales tax is levied by most villages. This amount varies from 1% to 5%. The Bering Strait School District recognizes that most of the land surrounding each community served by the District is owned by the village corporations established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Before using those lands for any purpose including hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, woodcutting, snowmachining, etc., teachers should contact the appropriate village corporation to determine if non-shareholders are allowed such access or if a user fee must be paid.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

Teachers report for duty around mid-August and work a 192-day contract. This includes 180 teaching days, 5 paid holidays and 7 teacher work days. School is usually out by the last week in May, depending on local calendar variations for vacation time and other calendar adjustments.

INSURANCE

The District provides a very comprehensive benefit package which includes medical, dental/vision coverage, life insurance, disabililty protection, and tex-sheltered benefits under its cafeteria flexible benefit plan. BSSD Employee Health Plan monthly premiums are approximately $60 for singles or $110 for families. Teacher and administrators starting work in August will be eligible for all benefits on September 1.

PAYROLL

Payroll is distributed monthly on the last working day of the month. Teachers and administrators starting work in August will receive their first check at the end of August. Electronic fund transfers or deposit is available for payroll and is encouraged. All teachers and administrators are required to participate in the Alaska Teacher Retirement System. Mandatory employee contributions of 8.65 percent are deducted from salary but enjoy tax-deferred advantages.

TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES

A. Certification - A valid Alaska teaching certificate is required! Applications for certification are available through the Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development - Teacher Certification Department in Juneau. The State of Alaska also requires fingerprints of all applicants. The contact number in Juneau is (907)465-2831. The teacher who is hired to work for BSSD must submit an official copy of the Alaska teaching certificate no later than 20 days after the beginning of school.

B. Physical Examination - All new teachers are required to have a current (within the last 6 months) physical examination before the first day of work. The results of this exam must be reported to the Personnel Office on the BSSD Medical Exam form. Returning teachers are required to have a physical every 3 years.

C. TB Test - This former statuatory requirement has been rescinded. An annual TB test is no longer required.

D. Transcripts and Verification of Service - Placement on the salary schedule depends upon training and experience. Official transcripts, showing all college level work, must be sent to the Personnel Office. In addition, official verification of previous teaching experience must be reported on the BSSD Verification of Service Form. The District accepts only full-time (140 contracted days) teaching experience in an accredited school that required a teaching certificate. Up to six (6) years of experience are accepted for persons having a Bachelorʼs degree ($51,821), eight (8) years for persons having a Masterʼs degree ($59,900), and ten (10) years for persons having a doctorate degree ($67,856), in accordance with the Negotiated Agreement. A beginning teacher on the salary schedule with a Bachelorʼs degree starts at $42,149.

E. Placement File - Credentials ordered from your placement office should be sent directly to the Personnel Office at the time of application.

F. Contract - When offered, must be signed, notarized and returned to the Personnel Office or Recruitment Team within the time stated in the contract cover letter.

G. References - All letters of reference should be sent along with application to the Personnel Office. Background investigations may be performed as a condition of employment.

If you are interested in a teaching or administrative position with the Bering Strait School District, please complete a BSSD application and send to:

Ted VanBronkhorst, Director of Human Resources

Bering Strait School District

Post Office Box 225

Unalakleet, Alaska 99684

Phone 907-624-4309

Fax: 907-624-3078

e-mail: tedvb@bssd.org


The District Title IX, ADA and 504 contact person is:

Ted VanBronkhorst, Director of Human Resources

Bering Strait School District

Post Office Box 225

Unalakleet, Alaska 99684

Bering Strait School District is an equal opportunity employer.

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