• FtF banner: Boy pointing. Caption: The real promise of public education flowers when we commit to REACH EVERY CHILD.  

    Reach Every Child

    "I went to school for physics, and I was going to be a particle physicist. I tried teaching for a little bit, and I found that the intellectual challenge of actually trying to reach everybody in a classroom was as challenging as the hard problems in science." So said Eric Matthes, science and math teacher at Pacific High.

    In the late 1990s a study of over 17,000 mostly white, prosperous people with good jobs and health insurance, looked at their childhood experiences. How many "adverse experiences" did they have? The study looked at 10 "ACEs" -- Adverse Childhood Experiences -- that children face in American society:

    1. Physical abuse
    2. Sexual abuse 
    3. Emotional abuse
    4. Physical neglect
    5. Emotional neglect
    6. Mother treated violently
    7. Household substance abuse
    8. Household mental illness
    9. Parental separation or divorce
    10. Household member in jail
    The study found that two-thirds of ordinary adults suffered abuse or neglect as children -- and almost 40% were burdened by two or more of these hardships as kids. The more ACEs they experienced as children, the more their health was impacted. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer directly correlate with the number of childhood problems these people faced.
    So the "intellectual challenge" that all public schools face, is how to reach the kids who are most at risk, and help them grow into healthy adults who can contribute to society. In this brief video, Eric and others speak about the progress that is made in Sitka simply by welcoming kids to school, hearing their stories, accepting them as they are, trying to keep stress levels low, helping them nutritionally, and giving them opportunities to earn credits or partial credits for excellent work.

    The same principles apply when we consider children who may not come from traumatic experiences, but who are still individuals whose needs are unique and whose learning styles vary. One mother articulates her hope that each of her children have different needs ... and her hope was that schools and teachers would see them as individuals and approach their education with sensitivity to those needs.

    We hope you enjoy this aspirational message about our mission and progress in reaching every child.