This entry actually took me until September to write (I had a hard time coming to terms with how things ended) but I’ve moved it to the proper order in the story timeline.
First off, when I finished my work and left Tuluksak in May, the day after the end of school, I jumped straight from there in Juneau for what would be the last visit with my kiddo for who-knows-how-long, and then right into the craziness of living with the Executive Director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival. Also, I was trying to drink in as much of that Sitka summer as I possibly could, having a feeling I might be back up here sooner than I would want to be…
And I was closing out my business of four years: Sitka Community Schools. That brought a bit of sadness, and a lot of logistics, like finding a home for hundreds of roller skates, and basketballs, and on and on.
And, I’ll tell you, those last days of my contract were strange ones. I know that whatever final report I wrote would be read by very few people. I kind of know this going in, but it still kind of adds to the steady hum of futility that surrounded this project. For instance, after the end of school, the state was holding a multi-day meeting of school district employees to also answer the same questions – but this was not a thing I was invited to.
A little side note here – I’ll learn that the next school year nothing that came of that meeting was implemented in the District. Another big expenditure of money and time that led to a dead end.
I did show my report to the principal of the school, a day before I left. Though she (the principal) had stated that her intention was to live out her life in Tuluksak, by the end of the year she was extremely alienated from her staff, and starting to act a little erratic. In the end, she took a job in another District, so the last month of the school year was bizarre: many of the teachers just stopped teaching (very few were returning). There was a tacit agreement between students and staff that, as long as the students kept quiet and slept or watched their phones, then there would be no expectations for schooling. As I left the school on my last day for the airport, I went to say goodbye to the principal, but she had my report in her hand and was shaking it at me while crying that “it wasn’t fair that I was blaming her for everything that went wrong.” Huh? I wrote nothing in that report that had anything to do with her (you can see for yourself, the report is attached). I thanked her and gave her a hug anyway, and put Tuluksak in my rear-view mirror.
So, yeah, I had some hard feelings leaving that situation, and I had plenty of good things ahead of me, so I did just leave it behind.
And, we gotta close that chapter. So, let me share with you what I wrote as my final report. Keep in mind that I had something like 40 pages of notes, but I know that nobody would want to read the story that would come from that. So what I did was boil everything down to to five bullet points, and fit it into four pages. There’s a lot of things that I could have provided citations to, and plenty of background information that I could have added, but I wrote this for a small audience of folks that I figured were familiar enough with the school and the District that I could cut to the chase. So, with all that ado, here’s the report: