Friday, April 22, 2016

Lake and Peninsula School District

In my last post I announced that I would be accepting a job teaching in the Alaskan bush for the upcoming school year.  The school district that  I will be working for is the Lake and Peninsula School District.  I'm super excited to be joining the LPSD team and thought I might share a little bit of the information that I've learned about them, so far.

1.) LPSD is located on the Alaska Peninsula.

2.) None of the communities in the district can be reached by road.

3.) There are three national parks and two national wildlife refuges within the districts geographical boundaries. 

4.) The main office is located in King Salmon, which is where I used to live, but none of the district school sites are located there. 

5.) There are about 10,000 brown bears living in this region, which is more than the number of people. Eek! 

6.) Wolves, wolverines, moose, caribou, otters, whales, red fox, harbor seals, and sea lions are just a few of the other animals that call this region home. 

7.) The yearly staff inservice will take place at Katmai Lodge in Katmai National Park in early August.  I visited Katmai National Park in 2010 and wrote about it here.  It's also the place where the infamous Grizzly Man documentary was filmed. 

8.) The district operates on a standards-based system.  For you non-teachers, this means that students master skills/standards and move on to new grade levels, as opposed to receiving traditional grades. This allows for more flexibility and individualization.  Last year, the school I'm currently teaching at adopted this system, so I'm feeling pretty confident about using it. 

9.) Winters are not as extreme as they are in the interior region of Alaska. In fact, the winters will be milder than the ones we've grown used to experiencing here in northern Michigan. 

10.) Fall and spring are very muddy seasons and require a good pair of rain boots.  (Thankfully, Cody and I invested in Xtratuff boots when we lived in Juneau.) 

11.) Housing is provided to all teachers, with basic furnishings and utilities included. 

12.) Many people get around on ATV's or snowmachines because there isn't a need for cars at most sites (no roads). 

13.) Hunting and fishing are very popular because families in the villages still live very subsistence-focused lives. 

14.) Berry picking is another popular hobby, which I am stoked about because I love berry picking and canning. 

15.) There are thirteen schools in LPSD and I'll be working at Pilot Point!

Your turn...What are some unique things about your job/job location?
Currently listening to...Big Black Nothing - Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band


  1. Sounds so interesting. Milder winter than Michigan? That's amazing. Also, the school grading system sounds really interesting.

    1. Yup! This is the third place in Alaska we've lived and each location, so far, has had milder or comparable winters to northern MI and the UP. The southern coasts of AK are warmed by the ocean.

  2. Wow, that's a lot of bears and other animals living there. Have you seen a bear yet since you have been there? I can't imagine using ATV's more than cars to get around. Especially when it's cold outside.

    1. We're not there yet (moving in July), but we've lived in two other AK communities and bears were a weekly or even daily sight. We even had a bear living under our porch for while...which made trying to go to work in the morning a bit of an adventure.


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