PUBLISHED: 5:50 PM on Wednesday, March 30, 2005
'Spring for the Arts' Gala opens a window to the world
The Juneau Community Charter School has always had more than one eye toward the world -Eand this year, as the school gets ready for their spring fundraising event, Juneau has the opportunity to turn both eyes - as well as curious palates and stomping feet - toward the wide and wonderful world out there.

As a charter school within the public school system, Juneau Community Charter School, teaching children ages K-6 in three classrooms, is not funded the same way other public elementary schools are. A charter school with fewer than 150 students (JCCS currently has 66) gets the same per-pupil funding as the largest school in the district, in this case the Juneau-Douglas High School. This means significantly less money per student than the other elementary schools, and a dire need to make up the difference through grants and fundraising - and hard work.

The Juneau Community Charter School not only encourages but to a large extent relies on parent involvement to get through the year in the black. Each family works in the classroom at least 5 hours each month, parents make up the Administrative Policy Council (the school's "principal"), and parents clean the classrooms every evening - just to mention a few of the tasks families are responsible for.

And the "Spring for the Arts" gala is no exception: From soliciting donations of art and crafts for the silent auction to finding and reeling in the musicians, to making the posters, it's all a family affair.

"It's going to be a total blast," said Kevin Sellers, the main organizing force behind 'Spring for the Arts.'

As it happens, this year, 'Spring for the Arts' coincides with the celebration of Diversity Week - a coincidence that seems like fate, considering the diversity the school strives for and encourages in every way. And you can see it in the plan for the Gala, too:

"We are going on a diverse ethnic theme," said Sellers about the evening's entertainment. "We cover traditions from the exotic Middle East, Far East, American Deep South, Northern Ireland, the Bible belt, and parades and other celebrations. The food theme covers the Pacific Rim with the emphasis on Thai cuisine."

There will also be a silent auction of a variety of items, from donated art to hand made batik fabric baskets and hand-knit Scandinavian children's sweaters. And an ice cream cart will be in place to sell cones to whoever gets a little hot after the main dishes.

This year's Gala includes performances by Children of All Nations, Juneau Tlingit Dancers, Stroller White Pipes & Drums and Highland Dancers, Daughters of the New Moon Bellydancers, Sam Burroughs' The Daddies, Traditional Thai dance by Chai Reungjan, Voices of Praise, Juneau Tuba Ensemble, and a dance band. Students from JCCS will also perform, both with song and violin playing.

The "Spring for the Arts" Gala, dinner and silent auction will take place in JDHS Commons on Saturday, April 2. Doors open at 5 p.m.; entertainment starts at 6. Tickets ($12 for adults, $8 for kids) can be bought from Hearthside Books, Rainy Day Books, any charter school family or at the door. Food is sold separately.