Klukwan School has started off the school year with stronger enrollment numbers than the past few years. Eighteen students in grades K through 12 attended the first week of classes in August. There’s also a new teacher.
“So what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna take the glue and color the glue…and you can put it on one side, you can put it on both sides,” on a recent Friday afternoon, new teacher Tiffanie Patton led Klukwan’s younger students in an art project centered on symmetry using colorful glue.
Patton previously taught for a year in Hydaburg, on Prince of Wales Island. She and her four children make up a good portion of the new faces at Klukwan School. But there are about four other new students this year.
“Well it’s great, it allows you to do more activities, have discussion, a little more variety,” said lead teacher Kathy Carl. “And it’s newer kids so there’s more social and group interaction.”
Carl says enrollment jumped from 12 at the end of last year to 18 at the start of this school year. Carl teaches grades 7 through 12 and special education.
Klukwan is in Chatham School district, which also includes schools in Angoon, Gustavus and Tenakee.
“They’re starting a one-to-one [technology] initiative in Chatham, so there are new computers ordered for grades six through 12 so each student will have access and have their own laptop,” Carl said. “And we had a whole bunch of iPads ordered which are on their way.”
Carl says it looks like there will be enough iPads to bring the school’s technology one-to-one in all the grades. She says she’s looking forward to using both old and new kinds of tools for learning.
It’s a Friday, and students are having fun with art and games. Seventh grader Jaden is playing chess with his brother. He has in front of him a picture he drew in Mrs. Patton’s class.
“I drew an Eagle — a Tlingit Eagle — a peace sign dream catcher and a regular dream catcher.”
Jaden says the school year is going great so far. Some of his favorite parts are “pizza, making new friends and doing art.”
Carl says what she enjoys about Klukwan School is the community.
“You have a community with the kids, a sense of family,” she said. “You have the ability to really focus. You’re not caught up in all the rigmarole and red tape of a larger school. And at Klukwan we have a lot of flexibility to deal with individual child’s needs and meet them where they are. They don’t have to go with the pack. Everyone can move at their own pace.”
She hopes that school family will keep growing even more.
Klukwan School is looking for volunteers interested in coaching basketball or running other after-school extra-curriculars. They are also looking for a community member to fill out the five-person advisory school board.