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Meet the candidate: Sami Graham

Sami Graham is running for a seat on the school board in this year's municipal election.
Sami Graham is running for a seat on the school board in this year's municipal election.(Courtesy Sami Graham's campaign team)
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 3:18 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sami Graham is running for a seat on the school board. Alaska’s News Source asked her to answer some questions about her campaign. Here’s what she said.

What school board seat are you running for?

SCHOOL BOARD SEAT E

Can you give me a short description of yourself?

I am an Alaskagrown experienced educator. I was born and raised in Anchorage and graduated from West High as did my own three children. I have a heart for kids and a heart for Anchorage. I have served as teacher, counselor, asst. principal and elementary school principal with over 35 years experience, a Master of Science and a Master of Ed Leadership, and I am dedicated to the children of Anchorage. Wife, mom, grandma, friend, elder, gardener, Alaskan.

Why are you running for school board?

I am running for the school board because I am concerned about the lack of student achievement. 40% proficiency is alarming. We will need a community wide effort to address to help get our students back on track. I believe in the partnership between home and school and feel students and parents need a voice.

What will be your focus on the school board?

Student achievement is paramount.

I will focus on boosting student achievement equitably.

Rigorous curriculum, excellent instruction, engaging students through strong sports, Arts and extracurricular activities, vibrant Career Tech Ed, and parent vetted curricula is imperative.

Do you think students should be back in school, learning virtually, or a hybrid?

Yes, the data is clear that children learn best in a classroom. Hybrid options allow for some students to remain remote if that is necessary for their family. Parents need options.

The data coming out of the ASD Virtual school is alarming. 10% of the grades are f’s with another 6% incomplete.

The program is not sustainable.

Should students in school be wearing masks?

ASD should follow CDC protocols for opening schools. Private schools have been open in Anchorage all year by following protocols: masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and less movement between classrooms.

Do you think children were left behind this school year? How can they get back to grade level?

Yes, many students were left behind and it will take a community wide focus on student achievement to get our students back on track. Creating a culture of achievement by setting high expectations, data driven decisions, building superior teachers through professional development and shared ideas, holding educators accountable, monitoring and measuring student outcomes, small class size, instilling a love of reading, and open all neighborhood school libraries ALL summer will start the path to excellence.

How do you plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic in schools?

Following CDC and state guidelines in the schools is important to address [COVID-19].

What’s the largest non-pandemic issue facing the district and what do you intend to do about it?

We were at 40% proficiency in reading and math BEFORE the pandemic. We have an $841,318,521 budget. We should be able to address our student achievement issues within the budget.

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