Main Elementary School is growing. That’s what the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s Board of Education heard at its regular meeting on Monday (1/22) from Main’s principal, Angela Chervenak. She says it’s common for the school to get more students at the beginning of the new year, and 2018 is no different.
So far, the elementary school’s welcomed eight new students. Chervenak told the board having the students join the school is both a challenge and a joy.
“Many of them come from the Philippines. So they come with some English and they come with a passion and a willingness to learn and work.”
Not all students start school with basic English skills, which can be a challenge for teachers. Kate Shoemaker teaches fifth grade at Main and has a group of the new students in her class. She says two of them didn’t know English when they joined her classroom.
One of the ways she’s found to help them is by having some of their classmates who speak Tagalog help them with their work. And, she says, so far it’s going smoothly.
“It’s really neat to see these students step up as leaders and translators.”
Shoemaker told the board she tells her students all the time that having a second language is important and that they should practice it. She also says having students helping their peers has been a good solution to students not having as much time with classroom aids as teachers would like.