Penny Vadla speaks at a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education on Monday, July 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Penny Vadla speaks at a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education on Monday, July 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

School board sets goals for year

During the 2021-22 school year, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will focus on developing the district’s five-year strategic plan, building strong community relationships and crafting a comprehensive plan to address district facilities, per board goals unanimously approved during the board’s Monday night meeting.

The goals come as the district works to transition from a school year that was completely disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as leadership transfers to new KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland.

KPBSD’s current five-year plan outlines the school district’s mission, vision and guiding principles from 2017 through 2022. The next plan will run over years 2022 to 2027.

District priorities identifed in the plan created five years ago include ensuring students achieve “high levels of academic growth,” allowing for learning systems that are personalized for each student and providing a high quality learning environment.

“KPBSD will inspire all learners to pursue their dreams in a rigorous, relevant and responsive environment,” that plan says.

The board also identified building stronger relationships between the district and the Kenai Peninsula’s legislative delegation, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, borough administration, families and the community as another goal.

To do this, the board wants to have regular visits to schools, which were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic, attend local school site council meetings, “hold community conversations,” and establish relationships with local tribal councils and remote communities, among other things.

Holland said during a Monday school board work session that it is a personal goal of his to improve board visibility at some of the district’s more rural schools and to build stronger relationships with tribal communities.

“So, reaching out further and more and making sure that we are getting to communities that are a little bit more underrepresented traditionally,” Holland said.

Efforts by the board to strengthen its relationships with the community will come after a school year that saw a contentious relationship between the board and some members of the community, who felt that the district’s COVID-19 mitigation protocols went too far.

The board’s third goal is to develop a comprehensive plan for district facilities in partnership with the borough.

Holland said that it is not meant to mean that the borough will dictate how maintenance of district facilities will run, but rather that the district wants to better communicate with the borough.

“Collaboratively, the Borough and the KPBSD will review their respective process for determining routine maintenance, major rehabilitation, construction, and major repair of school buildings,” the goals say.

Facility maintenance is an ongoing challenge for the school district. The district identified almost $30 million in critical projects in March 2020. However, those projects were left in limbo during the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects were resubmitted by the district to the borough earlier this year and would impact 38 of the district’s 42 schools.

“We are going to start coordinating our needs and desires together so that, as we move along, we’re in sync,” Holland said Monday. “We have our plan, they have a plan, let’s sync those up the best we can.”

The board’s approved 2021-2022 goals can be found on KPBSD’s BoardDocs page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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