Back-To-School Tips and Happy 100th National Park Service!
Back to School season means fishing in Chitna!
This is the first week of school for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and next week marks the first day of classes for the University of Alaska.
The end of summer vacation comes too soon for most Alaskans and it’s a bittersweet time for students and parents alike. It’s also an exciting time to learn new lessons and skills while seeing old friends and favorite teachers. Finally, it is also a good time to remember Back-to-School Safety precautions.
As traffic increases again for the school season, let’s keep the following tips in mind to make sure children and neighbors are safe on the road:
- Watch out for school buses! School bus drivers are dealing with dozens of kids and loud background noise while making frequent and sometimes unexpected stops. Keep a safe distance between them if you are behind one and yield when they are attempting to merge. Watch out for children waiting on the side of the road and at bus stops and make sure your children know to walk in front of the school bus, never behind.
- Obey speed limits, especially in school zones! Be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing streets or riding bikes along the road. Be aware that school activities take place at all hours, not just during school time. After-school activities like sports are good reasons to be cautious whenever you are passing through a school zone. Also keep in mind there are many teenagers who just became new drivers and are inexperienced or unfamiliar with the rules of the road.
- Remind kids to buckle up! If you are carpooling, remember to check that everyone is wearing a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt is not only the law, it saves thousands of lives every year.
- Be a good pedestrian! Talk to your children about being a smart pedestrian. Remind them not to jaywalk, cross during red lights, dart in front of traffic, or text while walking. That includes being especially careful of playing Pokémon Go!
- Put down your cell phone! There is no text or call more important than someone’s life. Distracted driving causes numerous fatalities every year that are easily preventable. Honor others by waiting to pick up your cell phone until you are stopped. (Texting while driving is now against state law.)
Thank Your Teachers!
Your teachers and staff are the skilled and educated professionals with whom children will spend some of their most formative years. We entrust our teachers with our most precious resources. It can be challenging to corral dozens of children and teens, teach them life skills and assess their learning within an eight-hour day. Most teachers spend even more hours, grading papers or refining their teaching skills. Thank your teachers today!
Get Involved with Your PTA!
Students perform better when everyone is involved in education. Join your local Parent Teacher Association or just attend a meeting! The Fairbanks Council of PTAs (FCPTA) provides support for local unit PTA members and training for those interested in PTA executive board positions. To find your local unit, go to
Education Policy Challenges Still Ahead
Rep. Kawasaki joins UA students at the Capitol
This time of year always reminds me of the important role education plays for the future of Alaska. As a graduate of Lathrop and UAF, I am proud of our local schools. The Alaska State Constitution directs the responsibility of education to the state.
While the state budget crisis continues to put pressure on educators and our local School Board, I am confident this time of crisis will be met with decisive measures to make sure school districts across the state and the University of Alaska are not always the first victim to budget cuts. Relying on cuts alone means hurting our families and future and potentially driving out some of the brightest minds in the state. I hope to hear from you this summer about any feedback on how education cuts may have impacted your family or work.
This Weekend in Fairbanks
Sandhill Crane Festival at Creamer’s Field: August 24-28
Back to School season also means birds are flying south for the winter! Come participate in family-friendly educational activities at Creamer’s Field this weekend. A full agenda can be found here: www.creamersfield.org/pdf/tvscf2016.pdf
National Park Service Centennial Birthday Party at Tanana Lakes: Saturday, August 27, 11:30am
Today, August 25, is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service! Come join me on Saturday, August 27, at the birthday party at Tanana Lakes Recreation Area at 11:30am to present a citation honoring the great work of NPS and its affiliates throughout Alaska, the best and biggest backyard in the nation. You can also still sign up for the NPS 5K Fun Run here:
Fairbanks Solar Tour at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center: Saturday, August 27, 10am-4pm
The world-famous Cold Climate Housing Research Center is hosting the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition’s Fairbanks Solar Tour this Saturday, 10am to 4pm, free of charge. The event will highlight innovation and technologies to clean the air and lower energy prices. Find more details online here.
I hope you all enjoy a safe and fun-filled back-to-school season and I look forward to seeing you around town. As always, you can reach out to me anytime via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, phone or my office—see contact info below.
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks
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