PUBLISHED: 3:49 PM on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Advisory committee launches public process
Thunder Mountain High School
The first of nine meetings of the new high school advisory committee is set from 6-8:30 p.m. for Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Tlingit & Haida Regional Vocational Training and Resource Center.

The committee is comprised of about 30 community and school members, nearly all of who are either students or parents of current or former students.

The purpose of the advisory committee is to anchor a several-month public process that will result in a proposal to the Juneau School Board for a secondary education program to be implemented in conjunction with the opening of Thunder Mountain High School in August 2008.

"This is one of the most important issues to affect our future," Peggy Cowan, superintendent said.

"We want to ensure the community's voice is heard on how best to meet the needs of Juneau's diverse student population. An advisory group that represents a cross-section of Juneau and a well-managed public process will help this happen."

The advisory group and the public process will be facilitated by former Colorado Principal of the Year Dave Schmid and his associate Linda Fiorella, an instructional specialist who teaches at the University of Colorado, Denver.

The public will have the opportunity to learn about and respond to a variety of current research-based "best practices" in secondary education as part of the process.

The series of advisory group meetings and related public forums, called, "Next Generation: Our Kids, Our Community," will occur from December through April. The forums will be held at every school and at a number of community locations.

The advisory committee is expected to consider public comment, review secondary models that could implement community goals, and present a recommendation to the school board by May 15. It's expected that the principal for Thunder Mountain will be hired by the end of March in order to have a full school year to implement the program for the new facility, which can accommodate over 800 students.

A Web site detailing the process, meeting times and dates, and associated research will be posted shortly.