School District supporting staff: (Summer Training
Kuskokwim School District Media Center &
Technology Assisted Instruction staff:Check
(Media Center / Tech Team)
first site visit was Atmautluak on the 24th
of August. I was not alone for my first of many
journeys. John Wallace and Richard Taylor
accompianied me as we flew with Craig Air. We were
welcomed at their small airport with genuine smiles
and strong handshakes. They toted our gear to the
school by using a four wheeler as we walked along
the path made of dirt & gravel that later
turned into a sturdy boardwalk just wide enough for
known as one of the Tundra Villages. It is located
13.5 air miles west from Bethel. Located on the
Johnson Slough, it connects to the mighty Kuskokwim
for easy summer travel. In the winter, there is the
"Famous" Atmautluak Trail that is so well groomed,
at times you can even take a 4-wheel drive vehicle
to and from Bethel. My husband, Tomas, and I have
witnessed this while mushing dogs. Besides, I can
see the traffic on this trail from the
window of our home.
struggled with getting the new airport system up
and running (so the computers can go wireless
within the school). How exciting it was when this
worked for the first time!
spent my day going from room to room working with
as many of the classes as possible. We worked with
AppleWorks or Microsoft Word. In addition, the
older students worked with finding and exploring
some preselected URLs. John Wallace. our very own
Mac Wizard, was kept busy working diligently on
their server and returned to Bethel the same day.
The time flew by asRichard Taylor and I ended our
trip with an inservice to work with a dynamite
is my backyard neighbor; I will be back!
see Atmautluak !
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am scheduled to leave for Kasigluk September
6th, overnighting twice (once on each side of the
river. Why? You'll find out as there is more to
the locals of Kasigluk, the site we know as Akiuk
is actually from the old BIA days. (Bureau of
Indian Affairs). Apparently the old BIA building
began sinking so they took it down. Some of the
residents relocated across the river to the site we
call Akula. I do believe this move was lead by a
gentleman we know very well for he is LKSD's
Superintendent, Bill Ferguson. There is now a new
school located at the Akiuk side, that is not
sinking, and is filled with over 80 students and
their staff. They do not have an airport (the kind
for planes for those techie folks out there) on
their side of the river so travel is limited during
freeze up and break up.
I spent the
first part of this combined trip at Akiuk.
Carl Williams met me at the airport on the Akula
side and we traveled across the river; Minus my
portable computers, for they flew to Saint Mary's
by accident. We set up a tech lab in their
exisiting lab thanks to Esai and went to plan "B".
I was spoiled that evening enjoying homemade soup
and fresh baked corn bread with Carl and Robin, one
of the many awesome teachers in LKSD! Have you ever
had an orange and onion salad before?
see Akiuk !
The next day
I traveled across the river to repeat my lessons
with the students and staff of Akula. Hopefully my
computers would join me there and they did, along
with Richard Taylor who would present an inservice
for their staff!
river trip included a couple of stops along the way
to Akula, where David would graciously
deliver hot cooked lunches to the elders of the
village. I was greeted by Felicia Griffith with
minutes to spare for she had to get back to teach
and Algebra class ASAP. In many of the smaller
sites, budget cuts and lack of secondary teachers
in various certified content areas force our site
administrators to become teachers in addition to
their already busy schedule! Go Felicia go!
visit, I was able to work with my first group of
kindergarden children. It's amazing how fast their
little hands pick up the use of using a mouse pad!
Of course, at this age, speaking only in Yup'ik, I
couldn't have done this with out the help of the
the staff - great flexible folks to work with,
quyana (thank you)!!!
was another gourmet meal with Felicia's homemade
spegetti. Richard and I added to the feast with
some lasagna and food that we brought with us. Yes,
we even enjoyed fresh salad; Well, as fresh as it
gets in the bush! Little Italy in the middle of the
We ended our
trip with an inservice for the teachers - another
great group of folks. I hope to add more to this
link in the future or even an additional link to a
webpage that David and a group of students from
Akula are currently working on.
see Akula !
Here ia a
link to a website that was created a couple of
years ago with the help of Scott Christianson.
see the Kasigluk Website !
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night, the phone rings, it's Pam Yancy, an ILL
(Itinerant Language Leader), calling me from
could you bring your guitar with you?" she
"What?" I exclaim in question being a novice
with guitar playing. Expecially performing!
Pam contiues to explain, "Teri Tibbet is here
singing with the students for they are going to
perform in front of their parents tonight. She
has invited you to join her."
So with my
guitar added to my gear, I forwarned Pen Air and
they loaded their Navaho with my projector, 5
iBooks, 1 Power Book, many reference books,
personal belongings and my guitar with no
Because I was
on a scheduled flight rather that a charter this
time, my trip included a couple of stops along the
way. When I arrived in Chefornak, I was greeted by
smiling faces eager to help me with all of my gear.
This site is one of the most convenient for the run
way is right next to the school. Within minutes of
my arrival I was engaged in working with students
and technology and continued for the rest of the
day! John Wachmann and Mandy provided a classroom
for me to set up my portable lab where Mandy and I
continued working together for the rest of the
Teri and I practiced and reminisced over some of
the old Girl Scout songs we learned during our
childhoods - yet at different coasts of our country
(now that was cool!). She is an outstanding
performer and is genuine in her love of music.
Teri's teaching me and coaching me along while I
was there was an honor! While we practiced, Pam
escorted a couple of students around the community
of Chefornak to take photos. There are some great
ones included on their webpage.
Before I send
you there I need to mention LKSD's secret talent.
Pam Yancy, born in China, as a small girl use to
sing the Chinese Opera with her Mom. To this day,
she still sings the memorized songs. Pam shared her
talents with us that evening in Chefornak.
excitement in such a tiny site. We have John
Wachmann to thank for putting it all together.
see Chefornak !
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on a Pen Air flight once again, I was off to
Kipnuk. Many airlines travel between
villages so it makes it easy to go from site to
site, when weather permits that is! Although it was
a beautiful day out on the coast, apparently the
planes were weathered in under fog in Bethel. As
Bruce Kleven wisely stated, "Now you see why I
don't wait for planes!"
The morning flight was canceled - golly - I guess
I'll just have to hang around Chefornak's students.
No problem! As it turned out, Teri, Pam and I all
stayed that day and left on the evening flight. The
down side was that now I didn't have as much time
as planned to work in Kipnuk.
As I was
dropped off in Kipnuk, once again I was greeted
with helping hands. This time it was the Post
Master (or at least his son I do believe). As I
walked down the boardwalk that lead to the school,
he drove my gear around on a trailer hitched to a
fourwheeler. It was door to door service with a
smile and a warm welcome! It was really great to
see Duane Gross while I was there for he and I
taught at Kilbuck together for years before he
retired. He introduced me to a husband and wife
team of teachers and I think I can mention at least
their first names here without their permission for
they now know all about me.... Thank you soooo much
Maria and Bob for welcoming me into your home while
I was in Kipnuk!
Bruce allowed me to put together a schedule that
kept me busy with a variety of students all day.
They are also on the road to success in designing
their own Website. They have a community volunteer
that will be helping them! Go Kipnuk!
been the largest site I have visited with over 200
students. The village is right on the coast and
wildlife is at their doorstep. It was
see Kipnuk !
note: So sad to say that Pen Air went out of
business this past year. The friendly skies will
miss their hospitality and kindness they continued
to display to all of their passengers even when the
times got tough!
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I have been talking with Gary
Baker, from Platinum, over the phone. Still
no go. I'm on Weather hold. A beautiful day on the
coast, yet here in Bethel, we are surrounded by
inclement weather! I shall try tomorrow. If it
comes down to it once I'm out there, Gary said he
could make arrangements for me to get to Goodnews
I also had a
chance to speak with one of my former students over
the phone who lives in Platninum now. His voice! I
didn't recognize it! He's grown up according to
Gary. It will be great to work with him once
More to come
so stay tuned to Suzi's Tundra Travel!!
wonder Platinum is worth more than gold on the
I made it out
to Platinum via a Craig Air charter shared by John
Wallace on his way to Tuntituliak and Richard
Taylor on his way to Goodnews Bay. I jumped right
out of the plane and into the classroom. That's
right! Only one classroom that is the home for 11
students, grade K up through 11th, 8 of the
students were in school while I was there. It is a
true sample of a one room school house. Gary Baker
does it all - WOW!
took the older students out to take photos of
Platinum, I stayed with the younger students and
Anna, their wonderful aid, to work on various
applications. They really liked the graphics in
Appleworks. The visit continued with training on
tips for using the internet and creating their web
page which you can see with just a click. The older
students used Microsoft Word to write short
informative paragraphs about Platinum. We saved the
work in html so you can read what they had to say.
see Platinum !
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I would like to
thank Jim, Don, and Daniel for sharing with Gary
and myself some delicious moose cooked on the
grill. Between the moose, potatoes, and fresh salad
that I was able to bring, we had a feast!
I can see why the name sake is in place. One of our
most beautiful sites! A quick flight across the bay
from Platinum and I was once again ready to go.
What a great group of folks to work with!
was time to fly. I jumped on a Hageland's
Aviation flight and crossed Goodnews Bay.
My pilot. pictured to the left, catered to
me as we flew around so I could take
photos out the window as you will see on
the web pages!
talk about an adventurous life. This guy
knows how to live. His home is in Hawaii.
He flies back and forth between Alaska and
Hawaii every two weeks leaving his
beautiful wife and family to fly small
planes in Alaska! I guess that's what they
call having the best of both worlds for
there is a world of difference between
Hawaii and Alaska!
After school I met with the staff and put a
schedule together that enabled me to meet with the
entire school while I was there. That night I had
an opportunity to go berry picking up on the
hillside. It was so beautiful that I stopped
picking berries to take some photos. Thanks Dale!
Food was not a problem during my visit. Kathryn,
AJ, Gary, you were all wonderful hosts! Thanks to
Gary, I will never eat a waffle the same way again
(; !!! AJ is another hidden secret in Goodnews Bay
with her musical talent. Listening to her sing
songs that both she and her sister wrote while
strumming the guitar was a perfect night of
entertainment. During a visit to the beach front, a
daring seal popped his head out of the water. Too
much commotion for him to stick around as folks
were preparing to go up river for the weekend. From
the mountainous background to the shoreline of the
bay and beyond, Goodnews is truley a great site to
apologize for not uploading this page prior to now.
I lost all the pictures that we took while I was
there. I was showing someone how the camera worked
and OOPS! ... a wrong button was pushed! Luckily we
had downloaded the photos onto one of the site
computers so Goodnews has the original pictures. I
do have some photos from my evening berry picking
and other miscellaneous shots that I can share with
you. So their web page went from just a few photos
to the following....
see Goodnews !
Goodnews Photos #3
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is one of ERA Aviation's twin
travel to the
engines over open water - the only way to
visible yet in this piture is one of the
most famous pilots on the Delta, Mike