Moving to Savoonga
New teachers for the 2020-21 school year: New teacher in-service will be held in Unalakleet beginning August 12. New teachers and administration will fly from Savoonga to the meetings together, so plan on being on site a few days ahead to settle in and be ready to go to training. Please notify the school as to your arrival day, time and airline as soon as you make those reservations. Thank you!!
Check our website https://sites.google.com/bssd.org/savoonga
And Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SavoongaSchool/
Airlines and Points Programs
Have you checked Expedia? If you have, you realize that there is no flight offered to get to Savoonga! Once reaching Nome via Alaska Airlines, you will need to purchase a ticket from a local carrier to complete your trip.
Alaska Airlines serves Nome with two flights per day, morning and evening. For travel to the island, the morning flight is preferable because all island flights have departed before the evening flight arrives. Should the evening flight be your only choice, please see the section on Nome accommodations below.
Once you reach Nome, you will take a Bering Air flight to Savoonga. As you exit the building in Nome, Bering is forward and to the right and within easy walking distance of Alaska Airlines in Nome.
Bering Air operates morning, midday and afternoon flight to St. Lawrence Island. Reservations for these flights are necessary and can be made either online or by calling the Nome branch. You are allowed to take 100# of luggage on flights (this includes your carry-on). Any poundage over that level is subject to a per-pound overweight fee. This fee varies. For more information on this fee, please visit the airline website. Alaska, and Bering airlines all offer points reward programs that can translate into reduced price flights, credit for shipping or free flights. Each program offers flyers different packages, so take time to check them on on the airline websites.
Alaska Airlines Bering Air
There may be times when staying in Nome will be necessary. Fog, wind, visibility and storms may prevent flying to the island any time of the year. It is a good idea to come with the ability to pay for at least a couple nights lodging and meals.
To get to the grocery, lodging or a restaurant in Nome, one must call a cab from one of two companies: Mr. Kab 907-443-6000 or EZ Cab 907-443-5271. Cab fares are ‘by the trip’. From the airport into town is currently $7, around town is $6. There is a fee for each segment of a foray in a Nome cab.
Nome is not an inexpensive location. Assume a room will cost $200 and meals $25. The Dredge 7, Sluice Box and Angel Camp by the Sea are inns with kitchen facilities, which can be a saving for you. Stopping by the grocery prior to drop off at your room is necessary if you plan to prepare meals. You may also find a room at Aurora Inn.
Dredge 7 or the Sluice Box Angel Camp By the Sea
(907) 304-1270 (907) 304-2633
In Nome, there is also lodging to be found at the Nome Nugget.
Restaurants in Nome - delivery takes 30-60 minutes
Polar Cafe (will deliver to airport or hotel) Milano’s (will deliver to airport or hotel)
(907) 443-5191 (907) 443-2924
Subway across from Aurora Inn
Shipping and Shopping
If you have a layover SHOP!! For most folks traveling to the bush, this is the best method for stocking your fridge. in Anchorage you can shop and bring food over in your luggage. The airlines will keep it “Chill” or “Freeze” if you tell them.
Amazon - will ship for free if you have Prime but takes 2-4 weeks for most items to be delivered in Savoonga..
Target - ships some items for free over $35 but the items that ship have gone down. It also takes 2-4 weeks for most items. Some items you can ship express for free and that can arrive within a week or so.
Both the AC Store and Hansen’s Safeway in Nome will take orders by phone. Put together your shopping list, call and tell them you want to place a bush order. If calling AC, Teresa is the person to talk to. AC--907-443-2243; Hansen’s 907-443-5454. You will need to inform the grocery to deliver to Bering. Stores will charge you a $12-14 ‘shopper fee’ that includes delivery of your order for shipping. You will then need to call the airline and pay for your shipping costs. It is a process, but orders placed before 9 in the morning will generally be delivered on the afternoon flight.
Orders can be placed with Mr. Prime Beef in Anchorage. It is very good but a bit expensive. This requires about a week to two weeks to arrive. They have meat and some frozen vegetables etc. Omaha Steak also ships to Alaska.
Many staff members get a box from Full Circle. You get fresh fruits and vegetables and can choose the box size and how often. The smallest box is around $60 a week and then you can add eggs and other fresh things that you might want.
The address for the school is PO Box 200 Savoonga, Alaska 99769
If for any reason you get a message on Amazon or others that says can't ship to PO Box then add 200 Mountainview Drive as a street address. The PO Box is the address where you will send any items from home that you will need and want for your new life in Savoonga.
Your cellular service will not work in Savoonga. The only company with service to the island is an Alaskan company GCI. If you attend the BSSD Welcome Wagon, they will get you to a GCI store to get set up. If you plan to not attend the Welcome Wagon, then you will need to contact GCI to set up an account and get a SIM card. They have service with agreements with other companies in the lower 48, so your service will work there during Christmas holidays and during the summer.
Housing does not have internet service unless you purchase it. This is done via satellite through Hughes Net. It is expensive to get set up…$300 minimum and runs about $80 per month. Service is very slow and because of the Fair Use Policy, you will only run at full speed 20 minutes or so. Most teachers opt to pay more for a data phone plan and go to the school for anything else they need the internet for.
Moving to Savoonga
Be sure to have in your luggage what you want for immediate use since packages can sometimes stall in Anchorage or Nome. Priority postal mail does get here pretty quickly too. They will tell you a delivery date but always add a few days to a week for it to make it all the way here.
Here is a list of what you might want to ship early or put in your luggage.
- Plates, bowls and silverware
- Bath towel
- Bedding ( most beds are full sized)
- Shower curtain
- Food for at least a few days
- Important personal items
Other things to consider when buying for Savoonga.
- Purchase a filtering pitcher or a water filter system that attaches to the faucet
- Snow goggles will be a necessity for winter
- Cold weather gear needs to be windproof as well as warm
- Bring items for your housing that will make you feel at home
- Bring plenty of books or videos--our internet isn’t really sufficient for streaming or downloading
- Bring a stock of over the counter medications that you might need. Little is available in Savoonga and it is expensive.
- Although our local grocery is handy for odds and ends, it is too expensive to live out of. Consider ordering a dry/canned order from Target in early July so it is here when you arrive
- Much of what is said about housing on the BSSD website is outdated.
- Houses are furnished, but there is no guarantee of pots/pans, dishes or silverware. If you will be sharing a unit, you might consider exchanging lists and sharing the purchase of items
- Only the newest housing units in Savoonga look like the video on BSSD’s website. All housing units however, are warm, dry, comfortable and can feel like home. Many of the teachers prefer the older units which have more storage and space.
- In Savoonga, there are singles, 2 bedroom shared housing and multi-bedroom units (3 bedrooms--there are 2 of these units).
- The first housing decision you need to make is whether you want single occupancy or to share with another teacher. IF you choose to share and there are no open housing accommodations, you will be placed in a single but will only pay the shared rate.
- Once this decision has been made, the administration will make housing decisions depending upon requests and availability. If you are sharing, you will receive contact information for your roommate if it is available.
Transportation on the island is mostly 4-wheel ATVs or snowmobile. The school has 2 ATVs that teachers can utilize and a snowmobile and sled to transport teachers who want a ride to school during the winter.
Otherwise, many teachers walk to school each day and some have purchased ATVs and snowmobiles of their own
The school owns a van and it has been used to transport teachers in the past. The van, however is only a short term solution. Generally by late fall, snow and wind make its use impossible. When flying in or out, transportation is available for you and your luggage.
With that said, welcome to our Savoonga family! Please feel free to contact any of our staff members to get to know them and with any questions.
WHAT KIND OF ‘WEATHER’ GEAR SHOULD I BUY
For fall and spring, do yourself a favor by buying a rain suit with a hood. You will want the coat large enough for a jacket underneath. There is a lot of rain and driven rain in the spring and fall. This set of outdoor gear will be your best friend. Some teachers have rubber boots that they wear to and from the school, others choose use hiking boots. Many choose to purchase these items through LL Bean and have had good luck with them.
Winter gear, is another consideration. Snowmobile gear is great because it is warm and windproof. You will need snow pants or bibs, a warm hat, a parka with a hood and windproof mittens or gloves. Goggles are extremely helpful—choose yellow for traveling in the dark. Some teachers carry a second pair more darkly tinted for travel in daylight.
You will want warm boots and a set of ice cleats that fit on your boots. Some teachers who plan on walking each day invest in snowshoes for days when snow is deeper. Often it is possible to buy all of these items on sale during the spring.
WHEN SHOULD I PLAN TO ARRIVE
New teachers will be flown from their new village to Unalakleet for new teacher training early in August. If you go to the BSSD.org website and click on resources you will find calendars and the calendar for the school year. You will need to take clothing, toiletries, towel and a light sleeping bag or blanket and pillow to this in-service training. For the 2020-21 school year, the new teacher training will be from August 12-14.
That being said, you will probably want to arrive in Savoonga a couple of days prior to get your house in order before you travel. Once you return, there will be site in-service and district virtual in-service, work days and the mad rush to get ready for open house and the first day of school. Administration normally travels in around the 1st of August.
Nearer to the end of the school year, a google sheet will be shared with you for your travel dates. Please take time to fill this out so your housing can be open and someone will meet you at the landing strip.