Voices of Alaska Education
Newsletter of the Association of Alaska School Boards
Our Mission: To advocate for children and youth by assisting school boards in providing
quality public education, focused on student achievement, through effective local governance.

Norm Wooten AASB Executive Director

Alaska's NSBA Delegates Tiffany Jackson and
Michael Swain
Bob Whicker, AASB Director of the Consortium for Digital Learning (CDL)
Want to Be a Better Board Member?
Think Statewide
In my 30 year involvement I've been associated with hundreds of school board members serving on the AASB board. Being on a local school board is very different from the role of an AASB board member.
NSBA Creates American Indian/Alaska Native Director Seat
At their recent meeting the NSBA Delegate Assembly voted to create a voting seat on the NSBA Board for the American Indian/Alaska Native Council of School Board Members, an idea first proposed by AASB.
Two Simple and Effective Ways Your District Can Innovate and Modernize 
The process of change can often seem daunting. Taking small, practical steps toward larger goals can produce "Quick Wins" that create momentum to drive successful outcomes.
Winning Essays for 2018 June Nelson Scholarship Awards
The Association of Alaska School Boards is proud to announce the winners of its 27th Annual Scholarship Award Competition. This year 154 students competed for the scholarships. AASB has awarded fifteen graduating seniors each with a $1,500 scholarship to apply toward their post-secondary education, which may be applied toward the student's choice of a business, trade, or a college institution.
2018 School Climate and Connectedness Survey Reports Released! 
The 31 districts who took this year's School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS) received access to their reports on Tuesday April 24. This is the earliest that districts have ever had access to their final results (survey closed statewide April 6).

This year 38,875 students, 5,905 staff and 869 families from 284 schools in 31 school districts took the statewide survey.

New features in the 2018 platform include being able to look at district and school results compared to urban or rural districts, and seeing trends over multiple years.

This is also the first year that AASB has offered a school climate survey for families. The 12 districts that participated in the family survey are able to explore perceptions between students, staff, and families.

Please contact Jenni Lefing with any questions about the survey platform and how to make the best use of school climate data in your district.
Guest Columns
Alaska Needs More Alaska Native Educators
(and the University of Alaska Southeast is doing its part!)  
By Ronalda Cadiente Brown, UAS Assistant Dean, Indigenous and Multicultural Education, PITAAS Director
Ronalda Cadiente-Brown
In Alaska, an estimated 5% of Alaska teachers are Alaska Native. The University of Alaska Southeast, School of Education Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) Program strive to increase the number of well-trained education professionals. Education Commissioner Johnson noted teacher turnover in Alaska hit 12 percent for the 2015- 16 school year, the highest it has been in years. Our data demonstrate that PITAAS graduates maintain a strong connection to their home community.
CHEAT SHEET: Language Tips for Meeting Management 
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
Do you feel flummoxed by the language of Robert's Rules? Is it a challenge for you to keep things running smoothly at your meetings? We have just what you need! Download our CHEAT SHEET, Language Tips for Meeting Management, and practice saying the language tips, over and over, until they become second nature. 
What Does Bargaining in Good Faith Really Mean?
By Allen Clendaniel of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 
Allen Clendaniel
Part three of a five-part part series on union issues in schools.
Everyone knows that unions and school districts must bargain in "good faith." But what does that really mean? The Alaska Labor Relations Act states that "a public employer may not ... refuse to bargain in good faith with an organization which is the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit." AS 23.40.110(a)(5). If the exclusive representative of the employees in an appropriate unit ("the union") believes that a District has refused to bargain in good faith, the union can file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Alaska Labor Relations Agency ("ALRA").  
 4 Minute Read >    
More from Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC:
Cultural Strength and Resilience
By LaVerne M. Demientieff, L, MSW, Ph.D., UAF Clinical Associate Professor 
LaVerne M. Demientieff
Examples of resilience and wellness are rooted in all cultures and communities across Alaska. We can learn a lot from the wisdom and traditions of these diverse cultures that incorporate connection, belonging, and healing into community practices. Whatever land you are standing on holds cultural knowledge and traditional practices, and there are culture bearers in the community that can share that knowledge with you.
Creating a Culture of Computer Science in Alaska   
By Sam Jordan, Education Technology Coordinator, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development 
Sam Jordan
Many of us have an image in our heads about what computer scientists do and look like. It often involves an isolated person, sitting in a dark room, typing away at a computer. It's an outdated image. The reality of contemporary computer science is that it is interactive, collaborative, and driven by an increasingly diverse, globally minded and creative workforce.  
Dr. Michael Johnson
For those who doubt the need or possibility of a better edu cation system, I ask, "What is your vision for the future of Alaska's youth?" Either we are satisfied with how well our current system works for ALL students and do nothing to improve it, or we are dissatisfied and will
commit to something better for ALL students. To be satisfied that some students do not benefit from learning opportunities is wrong. To do nothing about it is irresponsible.  
By Ben Walker, 2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year, for the Anchorage Daily News 
Ben Walker
If we truly do care about the education of all Alaska kids, let's put the public back in public education.

Does public education need to improve? Of course it does. Continual betterment was built into the very blueprint of public education - to evolve based on the needs of changing society. We will always need to improve to keep pace with the modern world. However, language matters, and we must stop using words like "failure," "crisis" and, as Sen. Anna MacKinnon recently said, "broken" when we discuss public education. 
Boost Basic Student Allocation
By Charlene Arneson, President, Chugach School District, for the Anchorage Daily News  
Charlene Arneson
In the face of Alaska's financial crisis, school districts across the state graciously accepted many years of flat funding without asking for an increase. Now Alaska's school districts are in crisis, with inflation severely limiting the purchase power of even the basic needs of our students and teachers. It's a fact that the cost of doing business has increased for all school districts, and that not all districts benefit from funding outside the Base Student Allocation.
Last Chance for 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year Nominations
Nomination Deadline: Monday, April 30   

Alaska Teacher of the Year honors a teacher who provides exceptional service to the students of today, the leaders of tomorrow. Nominations are accepted from parents, students, educators and the public.
A candidate for Teacher of the Year:
  • Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
  • Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
  • Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large.
  • Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning.
  • Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.
A teacher can be nominated by completing a 2019 Alaska TOY nomination form. More information can be found on the Department of Education & Early Development website.
Coaching Boys Into Men Statewide Training 2018

Save the Date

June 4-5, 2018
Registration Deadline: Friday, May 4
This year the Alaska Department of Public Safety is coordinating the 2018 statewide Coaching Boys Into Men training with the Anchorage School District Academy. Joining with ASDA provides attending coaches the opportunity to earn one professional development credit through UAA. This opportunity is open to all coaches who have attended CBIM in the past and have implemented in their home communities at least once.
Standalone Education Budget Confirmed  
By James Brooks, Juneau Empire  
Alaska State Capitol
Legislative conferees strip education money from omnibus budget, ensuring earlier funding for schools
Alaska lawmakers confirmed the state's $1.2 billion education budget in a brief meeting of the House-Senate budget conference committee on Thursday. The six lawmakers on the committee needed less than five minutes to strip education funding out of the state's omnibus budget bill, House Bill 286. On Wednesday, the House voted 31-9 in favor of a standalone education budget bill, House Bill 287. The budget is flat-funded when compared to the current year. There are no increases or decreases. 
2 Minute Read >
Alaska State Senate Urges Congress to Overturn The FCC's Repeal of Net Neutrality
Alaska Native News   
Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) introduced and passed a Sense of the Senate Friday (4/20) supporting net neutrality principles and urging the United States Congress to use its authority under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality. "This decision by the FCC essentially creates a pay-to-play system that puts our first amendment rights of free speech and press at risk," said Sen Wielechowski. "Without net neutrality protections, internet services providers can lawfully charge customers high rates to access different websites, music and video downloads and even block website access altogether. 
Science March Advocates for Education
By Kevin Gullufsen, Juneau Empire    
March for Science rally at Alaska Capitol. Photo: Richard McGrail
A few hundred scientists, researchers, educators and students braved the rain to advocate for science and education at the second March For Science on Saturday April 16. Their message: evidenced-based decision making and science education need to be at the forefront of public life in America. Right now, it's fallen by the wayside, many speakers said, partly due to a lack of scientific literacy in the American body politic. In his remarks to the crowd, Juneau School District Board of Education president Brian Holst connected problems with education with the erosion of scientifically-informed public policy.
3 Minute Read >
'Displaced' Teachers a Lesser Known Story of Budget Decisions
Dimond High teacher Emma Brooks is being "displaced" due to budget cuts. Photo/Naomi Klouda/AJOC
The process of laying off teachers in what's known as "pink slip season" - May 15 to the last day of school - attracts most of the attention when education loyalists argue for funding. But there's another category known as "displaced" or involuntarily transferred teachers that also stems from budget cuts. It involves keeping a teacher in the district but putting him or her up for bid to a different school.
6 Minute Read >
ASD Considers Changing School Start Times      
By Kathleen McCoy, KSKA Anchorage  
It began with a petition on www.change.org by a West High sophomore, Matthew Park. That petition reads: In order to promote the health and education of our students, the Anchorage School District must push back starting times in high schools to 8:30 AM. As of Friday, April 6, some 5,369 people have signed it; their stated goal is 7,500. Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop in August 2017 asked the school board if they agreed to allocate staff time to study this proposal and make a recommendation to the board.
'Enough is enough': Anchorage high school students leave classes as part of nationwide protest over gun violence
A moment of silence at Anchorage's West High during a student walkout Photo: Bob Hallinen, ADN 
Anchorage high school students held demonstrations across the municipality Friday April 20, 2018 as part of a nationwide walkout to protest what organizers see as political inaction in the face of gun violence. The National School Walkout was the latest student-led demonstration in a swell of activism since 17 people were killed at a Florida high school on Feb. 14. Students at every Anchorage high school held some sort of demonstration Friday, the 19th anniversary of the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. 
3 Minute Read >
Fairbanks Excels at Workforce Training, According to State Labor Department Report  
Heidi Drygas, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
The Fairbanks North Star Borough is a powerhouse of training and workforce development, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Interior Alaska's economy was the focus of April's Alaska Economic Trends, a monthly Department of Labor publication. The publication has two reports - "Fairbanks a model for its training centers and programs" and "The economy and the people at the heart of Alaska's interior."  
3 Minute Read >
University of Alaska President Wants Education to Strengthen Economy
By Robin Wood, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner   
Jim Johnsen,
UA President
Instead of looking for high-paying industry jobs immediately out of high school, the University of Alaska is hoping to incentivize students to enroll in post-secondary training, thereby contributing to a more sustainable state economy and healthier university system. UA President Jim Johnsen shared the message during a recent presentation titled "The Alaskan Economy and Implications on the UA System," hosted by Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking.  
3 Minute Read >
KPBSD Accepts Alaska's Education Challenge
By Kat Sorensen, Peninsula Clarion    
Sean Dusek
At a joint chamber luncheon meeting at the Kenai Peninsula College campus Wednesday, Superintendent Sean Dusek and Kenai Peninsula Education Association President Dave Brighton updated community members on the Alaska Education Challenge, an Alaska Department of Education and Early Development program that tasked a group of nearly 100 Alaskans to rethink the state's education system to better prepare students for the future's challenges.  
3 Minute Read > 
New Orleans native, Alaskan educator Rob Picou named Tupelo School's new superintendent 
By Dillon Mullan, Tupelo Mississippi Daily Journal      
TPSD Board of Trustees President Eddie Prather welcomes Rob Picou.
Photo: Adam Robison
Following an official approval by the Tupelo Public School District (TPSD) Board of Trustees at a special meeting, Rob Picou was announced as the district's new superintendent. He is currently superintendent at the Lower Yukon School District, some 3,681 miles away. In Alaska, Picou has been a principal for 11 years, an executive director of instruction for three years and a superintendent for the last six. Among his accomplishments are launching an expansive middle school coding program and dramatically expanding access in both Advanced Placement and college classes for high school students. In the three years that Picou was superintendent at the Bering Strait School District in northwest Alaska, the graduation rate rose from 46 to 73 percent. 
3 Minute Read >
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
Looking for a New Superintendent?
The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting superintendent searches for over 20 years.
Learn about our Search Services >

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions, Contact Us >
Part-time Superintendent
Pelican City School District

The Pelican City School District Board of Education is seeking a part-time Superintendent for FY 2018-2019.
Please submit a letter of interest, current resume, Alaska Superintendent certification, and three references with: day/night phone numbers, address, and email to: rmattson@pelicanschool.org.
Kashunamiut School District

The Kashunamiut School District is a single site regional educational attendance area serving approximately 317 students in Chevak, Alaska. The Board of Education of the Kashunamiut School District is conducting a search for a Superintendent. The Board's ideal candidate is a successful school or district administrator who is an energetic, self-starter with strong capacity as an instructional leader, experience with financial oversight and ability to collaborate with staff to improve student achievement.

The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) is conducting the search.

Closing date for receipt of all application material: April 18, 2018
Position Starting Date: July 1, 2018.  
The following items must accompany all applications:
  • AASB application form
  • Confidential AASB reference forms (available here)
  • Current resume
  • Copy of your superintendent certificate. Candidates who do not possess an Alaska Type B certificate with a superintendent endorsement should begin the process in order to be considered for this position.
More Information:
Application materials should be sent to:  
(email is preferred)
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St., Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 463-1660
Email: Ryan Aguilar 

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