Support pours in as Bethel school reopens

first_imgAyaprun Elitnaurvik students returned to school today after four days without classes following the Kilbuck fire.Long lines of headlights stretched outside the Lower Kuskokwim School District office Monday, as school buses and parents lined up to drop off their kindergarten through third-graders.Cars line up outside the LKSD office, dropping off Ayaprun students as they return to school after four days without classes. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.KYUK’s Anna Rose MacArthur interviewed Joshua Gill, director of personnel for LKSD, in the parking lot as he and other LKSD staff directed traffic.Listen to hear their conversation about Ayaprun’s first day back in class.Download AudioKYUK: So this seems kind of amazing that less than a week ago the fire happened, and now it’s Monday and you’re back in school. Is this a fast turn around for this type of event?Gill: Absolutely. I think so. But I also think it’s the spirit of LKSD. We chip in across the district. We had stuff flown in from Eek. We had things from all over the school district that was brought in to get these kids back in the classroom.KYUK: Have you been able to talk with any of the parents or kids and hear what they’ve been saying today?Gill: Unfortunately, no, I’ve been out here directing traffic. But I did see a few smiling faces walking into their classrooms this morning, so it was really good.KYUK: Today have you heard from teachers what the plan is?Gill: It’s basically, we’ll get kids back in, learn their new routines, cause they’re going to the bathroom in a different place, just get those patterns set up— where they’re going to eat lunch, where they’re going to play on the playground. All those things established and just get back in the school routine. It’s almost like the first day of school.KYUK: And what about the state of the Yup’ik materials? Where have those materials come from?Gill: All over the state. I know there’s stuff coming in from Fairbanks, Yukon school district, throughout LKSD schools. We’re getting pieces from all over. We’re gathering them and seeing what we and finding the holes of those things we still need to do. But it’s amazing. You’ve got a staff in there, a very veteran staff, a very dedicated staff. They were in there creating stuff all weekend long for their kids for at least this week.KYUK: It’s amazing, I’ve gotten emotional all this week thinking about this. Why so you think that it is such an emotional event?Gill: The burning of the school affected everybody. It affected everybody across the delta in some way or another. And I think that really the outpour from the community of stepping up, and not just the community but the state, of people coming together and just supporting these kids has been amazing. It absolutely has been amazing. I think about it every day when I open up my email, and there’s five more emails of people saying what can we do to help? And we’re talking from people from the Lower-48, across the state, and here on the YK.We were in here all weekend working, and just seeing the parents in here, working for their kids, seeing the community members, teachers across the district coming in, saying “What can I do for the day to get these kids back in the building?”KYUK: And lastly, when you said that they were working here all weekend, what does that mean? What were they working on?Gill: Setting up their classroom, getting ready for the kids to be in the first day. What a lot of people don’t realize for a primary teacher is those little things—the name tags on the desk, the routines on the wall, those pieces that they need to have a successful day, especially their first day.As Ayaprun’s kindergarten through third graders begin classes at the LKSD office, the fourth- through sixth-graders are starting school at Gladys Jung Elementary.last_img

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