I have been working at Fireweed Academy since 2006 and was a Fireweed parent prior to that. There was no Little Fireweed way back then but my two girls attended 3rd-6th grade long ago. They tease me that they graduated from FWA and I don’t seem to be able to. Now I’m just waiting for my grandkids to attend! I have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Syracuse University and I’ve worked as a drug and alcohol rehab social worker, a commercial fisherwoman both in Cook Inlet and in Bristol Bay, and just prior to working with Fireweed Academy I was the Executive Director of the Homer Council on the Arts for 6 years. Having escaped Los Angeles, my husband and I have lived in Homer for 35 years.
Message from our Principal
First of all thank you all for your patience and flexibility this year. This letter finds its way to you a few weeks later than I would normally send it. I am a little bit behind the curve and will eventually get caught up!
On behalf of our staff and the Academic Policy Committee, I would like to welcome you to Fireweed Academy. Over the years, our school has taken pride in providing a unique educational program that makes our school special. We strive to provide a learning environment in school and through remote learning that develops a community of learners through our focus on the school’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values:
- Constructivism: learning that is constructed through experience and experimentation, rather than just acquiring it through lecture and rote memorization.
- Project Based Learning
- Theme Immersion: providing an in-depth study of questions and subjects.
- Multi-level groups: including age groups, to best provide for the needs of each individual student.
As we begin this challenging new school year, we will be welcoming new staff and reconnecting with our returning staff!
This year, we welcome one new classroom teacher to our school. At Little Fireweed, Erin Pollock is our new Kindergarten teacher. Raised in Hatcher’s pass, Erin is a true Alaskan having grown up in a cabin without running water or electricity. She is a perfect fit for Fireweed, having earned a degree in Outdoor Studies. Did I mention she also plays the ukulele? Erin will be working along side Sam Kirby, Mo Wilkinson, Kara Bakken-Clemens and Sharlyn Young. At Big Fireweed, Shannon Riley is joining the team as our new resource teacher. Some of you are already familiar with Shannon, who worked at Fireweed a few years ago as our Interventionist. She has returned to our school after having taught two years with the North Slope Borough School District. Shannon will be working side by side with our returning staff: Katherine Gustafson, Jon Kulhanek, Stephanie Zuniga, Carolyn Norton, and Margie Scholl. Last, but not least, Janet returns as our splendid secretary to help support students, parents, and staff alike.
As with any successful school, we continually seek to improve our academic program, as
well as the school’s cultural environment. This year, we will continue to implement Restorative Practices in our effort to make sure that every student’s voice is heard while helping to restore relationships and build a community of compassionate kids. Even with the challenges presented with social distancing, we will continue to support our use of cooperative learning, in which students work with one another to develop their academic and social skills through Kagan Structures. The use of Kagan Structures require students to be actively engaged in lessons and promote respectful and responsible behaviors that support a safe and positive classroom environment, as they work with partners and teams.
Experience has taught me that having a strong relationship and partnership with parents and students is vital to the success of a school. We’ll need to get creative in our use of parents volunteers this year. Hopefully, we will help you identify ways that you will be able to support the school, at school, on field trips, or even in the comfort of your own home. I am looking forward to meeting and working with you, so that we can build upon the success that Fireweed Academy has enjoyed. Together, we will continue to offer a unique academic experience for our students, while providing parents with a great choice for their child’s education.