Voices of Alaska Education
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.
January 2021
Alaska's Education Heroes
Lon Garrison, AASB Executive Director
I would never have imagined I would start my tenure as the AASB Executive Director in the middle of a global pandemic. Who would have guessed that education delivery for nearly a year for most students would come to them virtually? That they would not see their classmates in a classroom setting for so long.
Lon Garrison
And who among us would have imagined last February that in one year, we would have lost nearly 500,000 lives, including staff and one superintendent here in Alaska? It all seems so surreal, and yet it is not.
What I can imagine, though, is the resiliency and dedication of Alaska's educators, administrators, support staff, and school boards. They are Alaska tough!

School Board Appreciation Month
February is School Board Appreciation Month! Would you like to recognize your school board for all the hard work they do for all the children in your communities and districts? If so, we have compiled a packet of resources for you to use!
New Partnership to Support Online Social-Emotional and Trauma Engaged Learning Community
Heather Coulehan, AASB Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator
School staff members often receive one-time training on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and trauma engaged topics. However, real and lasting change requires ongoing professional development and reflective practice.
Heather Coulehan
To that end, the Association of Alaska School Boards community engagement team is partnering with the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) to offer an online community and platform for educators, administrators, counselors, school staff, school boards, and community partners to explore SEL and Trauma Engaged practices (TEP).

Upcoming Events

Virtual Leadership & 
Legislative Academy 
Youth Advocacy Institute
February 6-7, 2021
Leadership Day & Legislative Day
Saturday and Sunday, February 6-7
The Leadership Day, Saturday, February 6, will be centered around communication during these times. This includes crucial training on: 
  • Superintendent Contracts with John Sedor
  • Communicating on Your Board
  • How to Communicate During These Pandemic Times? 
  • Mindfulness for the School Board 

The Legislative Day, Sunday, February 7, will inform you of what’s happening in the legislature this session. It will provide opportunities for school boards to develop talking points for this year’s legislative priorities, to speak with a unified voice to advocate for public education. 

Youth Advocacy Institute
Saturday and Sunday, February 6-7
AASB is proud to announce that the Youth Advocacy Institute is taking place along with the Virtual Leadership & Legislative Academy on February 6-7, 2021. 

This is an opportunity for students to connect with peers from across the state, and with their School Boards.

Students will connect with each other and their School Boards online and practice using their skills to advocate during this year’s Alaska State Legislature.

Students will have the opportunity to:
  • Discuss issues important to them and their peers
  • Get a chance to meet with legislators and the Commissioner of Education
  • Practice multiple ways to advocate and testify from afar
  • Connect with their School Board members on legislative issues important in their districts
  • Learn about bills and legislative process
  • Connect with youth leaders across Alaska 

Students will join School Board Members for Like Size District Forums on Sunday to discuss legislative priorities. Reach out to Tyler Breen with questions.

Academy Follow-Up Sessions
Weeks of February 8 and February 15
Following the weekend, legislative meetings and workshops will be scheduled via Zoom for school boards over the weeks of February 8 and February 15. This will include:
  • Daily meetings set up with legislators and the school districts they represent.
  • Opportunities to share and connect with school boards before & after meetings. 
  • Support from AASB in connecting with the Alaska State Legislature.

2021 Alaska SCCS

Alaska’s statewide School Climate & Connectedness Survey window has opened! 

There's still time to register!
We invite your district to participate in the 2021 School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS). Each year, the majority of Alaska school districts collect and use school climate data to improve and strengthen school environments, relationships, and connections between students, staff, & families.

Schools are looking quite different this year. But no matter what shape learning is happening in your district—online, in-person, or blended—it is essential for students, staff, and families to feel safe and connected.

For the 2021 school year, additional questions have been added to better understand the needs of students, staff, and families during COVID-19.

For more information and to register, click here:
Contact Jenni Lefing with any questions.
First Term Board Member Webinar Series

February - April
Want to make sure you’re starting your new role as a school board member off on the right foot? Been on the board for a little while, but would like to brush up on some of the basics? Be sure to check out our First-Term Board Member Webinar Series!

This series of webinars will be held from January through April, and will cover topics such as conducting effective meetings, school finance, working with your community, school law, and more!
Registration is FREE
and Open Now!

Feb 4 – The Superintendent – Building a Relationship
The relationship between the school board and the superintendent is a critical one if you are to be successful in achieving the goals of the board and the vision of education for your district.

This webinar, hosted by an AASB staff and an experienced superintendent, will explore what it takes for each board member to establish and maintain a working and communicative relationship with the superintendent. The superintendent is a key leader and member of your board team. Find out how you can learn what their role and your role is and how you can foster a productive relationship!
Schedule of Upcoming Webinars

  • Feb. 4, 12-1 pm - The Superintendent - Building a Relationship
  • Feb. 18, 12-1 pm - School Finance with an Expert!
  • Feb. 25, 12-1 pm - The Board and the Budget
  • March 4, 12-1 pm - Board Policy - Development and Use for Governance
  • March 11, 12-1 pm - Working with Your Board
  • March 25, 12-1 pm - Working with Your Community
  • April 1, 12-1 pm - School Law Basics
  • April 22, 12-1 pm - Holding Your Meetings Remotely

Click below for information and registration on any of these webinars.
AASB Text Alert Service

Submit legislative testimony
from your mobile phone
in just 1-2 minutes
Opt-In to receive AASB TEXT ALERTS during the legislative session to
be informed of opportunities to testify by text on key education legislation.
Your mobile number will be kept private and will not be shared by AASB.

Are You Signed Up?
It's Fast. It's Easy. It's Important.
January Webinar Series
Did You Miss These
Informative Webinars?

Event Resources
Are Now Available
The January Webinar Series featured weekly presentations designed to sharpen advocacy skills for the current legislative session, provide briefings on new state and federal education laws, and strengthen family-school partnerships to reinforce student learning.

If you weren't able to attend, video and audio recordings, slideshows, and other event resources can be accessed free of charge on the AASB website.
January 14
Effective Advocacy with the 32nd Alaska State Legislature
Norm Wooten & Dr. Lisa Parady, ASA

AASB Advocacy Director Norm Wooten and ASA Executive Director Dr. Lisa Parady guided participants through a one hour webinar that provided an overview of the political dynamics driving the upcoming legislative session.
With the Capitol building closed to the public due to the pandemic, in-person access to legislators has been curtailed and alternate methods of grassroots advocacy have taken on new urgency.

Click the button below to access the video recording,
slideshow, and other resources from this webinar.
January 19
New Laws & Regulations In Alaska
Michael Caulfield, Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, P.C.

Education attorney Michael Caulfield provided a preview of what AASB’s 2021 yearly policy update will include.
His firm conducts annual reviews of new state and national laws and regulations, and updates AASB's model policies to keep district policy handbooks current. This service is included at no added cost to districts that subscribe to AASB's policy updates.

Mr. Caulfield's presentation covered the following topics:

  • Public Records Policies (BP 1340 and 9324)
  • Complaint Policies (BP 1312, et al.)
  • School Accountability Policy (BP 0520/AR 0520)
  • Employment of Retired Teachers (BP 4112.10)
  • Title IX

Click the button below to access the video recording,
slideshow, and other resources from this webinar.
January 26
Stronger Together:
Linking Learning to Family, Community and Place
Lori Grassgreen and Konrad Shak’Shaani Éesh Frank, AASB

Lori Grassgreen and Konrad Shak’Shaani Éesh Frank of AASB led participants in an interactive discussion on how educators and school staff can incorporate family, community, and place into classroom instruction. 
Covid-19 has provided an opportunity for families and schools to redefine roles and form partnerships to help ignite and reinforce learning. 

Their presentation began with a question: What is a life lesson you learned from your family that still resonates with you today?

Click the button below to access the video recording,
slideshow, and other resources from this webinar.
High School Seniors

Apply Now for the
June Nelson Scholarship!
The Association of Alaska School Boards is proud to announce its 30th Annual Scholarship Award Competition!
This 2020-2021 school year, AASB will award fifteen graduating seniors each with a $1,500 scholarship to apply toward their post-secondary education. The scholarship may be applied toward the student's choice of a business, trade or a college institution.
Monday, March 8, 2021 at 11:59 pm
Save up to 50% when you register your district as a team. If budget constraints have limited the number of attendees from your school district in previous years, take advantage of bringing your entire board, superintendent, business official, and other members of your team for the cost of one person attending an in-person meeting.
In addition to significant savings, get relevant, valuable content for you and every member of your team at the NSBA 2021 Online Experience on April 8-10. Other benefits include:
  • Increased exposure to multiple sessions.
  • More new ideas, strategies, and best practices to implement right away.
  • Different perspectives from your colleagues who are dealing with similar challenges.
  • Expanded online networking opportunities.
We’re pleased to announce Leslie Odom Jr., headline performer in the original cast of Broadway’s Hamilton, and Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and founder of GoodThink, Incorporated, as NSBA 2021 Online Experience keynote speakers. Join us April 8-10 to gain insight and inspiration from these impactful and inspiring keynotes!
Nominate a Deserving Teen or Youth Group
for Spirit of Youth Recognition
We recognize Alaska youth, ages 12-19, statewide. Nominations can be submitted for an individual or a group.

Nominations can come from anyone who wishes to recognize a hard-working Alaska teenager. Nominations can be made in one of 8 categories.
Recommendations often come from school staff and board members; youth clubs and organizations; the business community or other teenagers. Any community member inspired by a teen’s efforts can submit a nomination.
Dancing with the Spirit offers School Music Curriculum,
Virtual Music Workshops, Free Streaming Concerts
Dancing with the Spirit connects youth and elders through school music programs and camps–promoting spiritual, physical, and mental wellness with the joy, love, and hope of music. Our goal is to prevent suicide, drug, alcohol, and domestic abuse by building self-esteem, preserving musical traditions, and encouraging strong healthy communities.

The organization offers a school music curriculum and virtual student music workshops and summer camps.

This weekend Dancing with the Spirit is promoting (and participating in) a series of free Streaming Concerts, numerous Music Workshops and a Virtual Open Mic that are all part of the virtual Anchorage Folk Festival this weekend, January 29-31.
More Information
Email Belle Mickelson, Dancing with the Spirit Director,
Call (907) 388-3347
Dancing with the Spirit website: https://www.dancingwiththespirit.org
Anchorage Folk Festival website: https://www.anchoragefolkfestival.org
2021 Alaska STEAM Conference


October 22-24
Plans are underway for an inspiring and instructional conference in Juneau, Alaska. Already there are several keynote and featured speakers confirmed, including Gerry Brooks, a well-known internet speaker. There will be two days of presenter sessions, then activities for networking on Sunday. Juneau School District welcomes early arriving participants to join their in-service on Thursday. Consider presenting good work to your colleagues from across the state as well! More information to follow. copy here.

RIP 2020: Sizing Districts for a Post-COVID World
John M. Sedor of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC
Part five of the series, Ripp'd from the Headlines

“This year has presented Alaskans with challenges unlike any we’ve experienced in this lifetime. The widespread global pandemic led to economic devastation for every sector of Alaska’s economy.

  • Funds K-12 education with no current changes to the formula.
John Sedor
This budget is a call to action for all of us. Everyone in this room and across Alaska. It will be tough, but I have no doubt that together, we can do it. Even when we disagree, and we will, the goal remains the same: a stable and prosperous Alaska. Let’s dream big – let’s move forward together.”

Governor Dunleavy, Budget Press Release,December 11, 2020.

If the Governor’s proposed budget prevails, the Foundation Formula will remain the same this coming year. This would make 6 years in a row with no increase to the Base Student Allocation (BSA).

When public pressure is intense, what can you do?
Ann Macfarlane, Professional Parliamentarian
At a recent workshop, a director from a school board split by pandemic-related decisions asked me what board members can do in the face of intense public pressure. These are tough times for local non-partisan government bodies, for sure. Here are some thoughts about what can be done.

ASK AASB: What items are appropriate for the Consent Agenda?
A consent agenda allows the board to approve items which do not need any discussion or debate. Because items cannot be discussed or debated, typically these items are routine, procedural decisions, and noncontroversial decisions. Examples include:

  • Minutes
  • Reports provided for information only
  • Correspondence requiring no action

A consent agenda can only work if the reports and other matters taken up are known in advance, and distributed in sufficient time to be read by all members prior to the meeting.
Read more answers to frequently asked questions at ASK AASB
Got a question? Email Timi Tullis or Tiffany Jackson
Bundle up and get outside even for a short period of time. No matter what the season or the weather, there's always something interesting to explore. Pointing, poking, and asking questions can help spark curiosity and build learning muscles.

#parentingtips #rainorshinelearningallthetime

State & National News
Please Note - Some news outlets may require registration or a paid subscription for link access. Others may grant free access to a limited number of articles before requiring a paid subscription.
Can you solve the mystery of these 60-year-old travel photos?
Francesca Street, CNN
While browsing a flea market back in 2008, Dutch creative director Jennifer Skupin stumbled across two boxes of slides. They were color photos, mostly portraits of people, intermixed with some landscapes and street scenes.

Written on the back of some of the slides were years and locations, they seemed to mostly date to the 1950s and 1960s. There were photos of individuals, from a group of nuns to a cluster of school children. Many of the people in the photos are Alaskan Natives.

Skupin is hoping she might be able to track down the photographer or subjects.

A cluster of school children pose on
what may be the porch of a school.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Skupin
Amid ‘incredibly limited’ COVID-19 vaccine supply in Alaska, calls grow to bump up teachers and others
Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News
Numerous industry sectors and groups, including teachers, are urging state officials to move up their eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine even as it became clear Alaska’s allocation for the month is all but used up.

A man and woman walk to the patient drop-off area outside the Alaska Airlines Center for a scheduled appointment to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine in Anchorage. Photo: Emily Mesner / ADN)
Alaska students share their secrets to distance learning success
Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program
How do you get students engaged when you can’t get them together in person? How do you stay on top of schoolwork when your schedule has been turned upside-down? What can you do to build community in a classroom that only exists online?

Photo: ANSEP
Honor music students in SE Alaska combine solo recordings in lieu of in-person festival
Angela Denning, KFSK, Petersburg
Many high school music students in Southeast Alaska cannot practice or perform together this year due to COVID protocols. Some music classes, which are normally large in size, have been canceled altogether. But that hasn’t stopped the annual Southeast Honor Music Festival from taking some shape. Instead of meeting in person, virtual band and choir performances were created for the first time.

Screen shot of the virtual Southeast Alaska Honors Music Festival. The video shows 56 honors band students performing, “Rushmore” by Alfred Reed.
What Joe Biden's "American Rescue Plan" for COVID-19 Would Do for Schools and Children
Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

President Joe Biden unveiled his "American Rescue Plan" for the coronavirus pandemic in mid-January before he took office. The $1.9 trillion plan includes dedicated money for K-12 schools to help them reopen safely and address the various impacts of COVID-19, but there are other parts of the plan that would help schools, educators, and children.
Alaska lawmakers return to a state Capitol locked down for COVID-19
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News
The 32nd Alaska State Legislature has convened, and legislators will be working under conditions unlike any faced by lawmakers before.

Masks are mandated, and everyone in the building is taking two COVID-19 tests per week. Plexiglass divides the desks and the galleries in the House and Senate chambers.

Representative-elect David Nelson, R-Anchorage, talks to new House pages before a training session for new legislators and staff.
Photo: James Brooks, ADN
Gov. Dunleavy proposes bill to extend Alaska’s COVID-19 disaster declaration through September
Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO
Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed a bill to Alaska’s legislature that would extend the state’s COVID-19 public health disaster declaration through September.
Governor Dunleavy.
Screen capture from news conference.
The bill would extend Dunleavy’s fourth declaration of the pandemic, which began on January 15. It’s currently set to expire on February 14.

New proposal from Wasilla Senator would limit by-mail voting in Anchorage, Juneau and other Alaska cities
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News
The first bill to be heard in the Alaska Legislature this year would partially dismantle voting-by-mail systems used by Anchorage, Juneau and other cities across Alaska.

Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, said Senate Bill 39 is intended to strengthen the security of Alaska’s election system in a nonpartisan way, but several legislative observers began circulating alarmed emails, with Native Peoples Action asserting that Section 22 of the bill “may ban municipalities from having vote-by-mail elections.”

Bryan Talbott-Clark places a ballot in a secure vote-by-mail ballot drop box at the Loussac Library on April 6, 2020. Photo: Bill Roth, ADN
Program that brings Indigenous culture into the classroom expands to more communities in Southeast Alaska
Angela Denning, KFSK
A program that teaches teachers how to incorporate culture into their classrooms has moved into several communities in Southeast Alaska.

The program “Thru the Cultural Lens” is run by Sealaska Heritage Institute. It’s been in some of Juneau’s secondary schools for about seven years but this year it’s expanding to five K-12 school districts in smaller communities in the region.

Tlingit Elder David Katzeek addresses a cohort of teachers during a Thru the Cultural Lens seminar in the clan house of the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau in 2016. Photo: Nobu Koch
Sitka artist becomes first Indigenous winner of the ‘Oscars of kids books’
Erin McKinstry & Katherine Rose, KCAW
Sitka illustrator Michaela Goade was awarded one of the highest honors in children’s literature this week for her work on “We are Water Protectors.” Goade, who is Tlingit, is the first Indigenous person to win the Caldecott Medal.

“We are Water Protectors” cover illustration courtesy of Michaela Goade
Billions of people celebrate Elizabeth Peratrovich thanks to Alaska artist and Google Doodle
Alena Naiden, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
An illustration of Alaska Native civil rights activist Elizabeth Peratrovich illustrated by Native artist Michaela Goade was featured in a recent Google Doodle — an altered Google logo seen daily by more than three billion people.

Image: Google.com Screen capture
11-year-old shares springtime fun in Bethel and Yup’ik language on ‘Molly of Denali’
Olivia Ebertz, KYUK - Bethel
PBS aired a “Molly of Denali” segment shot and narrated by a young fan from Bethel.

The Peabody Award-winning animated children’s television show is the first nationally distributed children’s series featuring an Alaska Native lead character. The show follows its namesake, a 10-year-old Athabascan vlogger, as well as her family, who own the Denali Trading Post.

Tooey, Grandpa Nat and Molly
from PBS’ Molly of Denali. Photo: PBS
Anchorage School District’s first Black teacher and principal remembered as ‘trailblazer’
Mayowa Aina, Alaska Public Media
Etheldra Davis moved to Anchorage from Los Angeles in 1959 after visiting two older brothers who had previously moved to the brand new state for work.

“She loved it,” said Davis’ daughter, Andrea Antoine. “She liked the fact that it was smaller, less crime, not as much going on, not the hustle bustle of the city where she had grown up at. And so she decided to move and transfer her teaching credentials to Alaska for the opportunity.”

As the first Black teacher hired on-contract by the Anchorage School District, Antoine said her mother broke barriers. But it wasn’t easy.

In 1968, Etheldra Davis earned a Masters in Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She went on to earn a Doctorate in Education from Newport University in 1975.
Photo courtesy Antoine family
Almost $65,000 to be paid to Alaska education raffle winners
Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
A teacher in Klawock won $34,500 in a state education raffle on Wednesday.

Abraham Horpestad was announced as the first place winner of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend Education Raffle, which is in its second year.

Alaska Capitol building.
Alaska School District News
Please Note - Some news outlets may require registration or a paid subscription for link access. Others may grant free access to a limited number of articles before requiring a paid subscription.
In Memoriam: David Lougee

It is with sadness we learned of the passing of Kashunamiut Superintendent David Lougee. Mr. Lougee has served the students of Chevak since the 2018 – 2019 school year. He is survived by Ketchikan Gateway School District Superintendent Elizabeth (Beth) Lougee. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Mr. Lougee’s family and the Kashunamiut School District.  
This tribute to Superintendent Lougee was posted on the district's website:

Kashunamiut School District is sad to share the news of the sudden loss of our Superintendent David Lougee. Mr. Lougee passed away January 10, 2021 of complications from COVID. He was a proud father and devoted grandfather, our thoughts & prayers are with his wife Beth, children, and the rest of his family and friends.

Mr. Lougee contributed to the district in diverse ways since arriving in Chevak in 2018-19. He was dedicated to the students, committed to the community and stepped up to serve in a variety of capacities. He was a strong believer in the worth and abilities of the students of Chevak. He led through these difficult times of COVID with calmness, strength and resolve. He was committed to providing the best quality education that the conditions allowed and helped address issues with the Board and community leadership to get through these uncertain COVID times.
Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage School District on Monday announced a plan to return third through sixth grade elementary school students to in-person school early next month. Some will return on Feb. 1, the district said in a message emailed to parents and staff, but most third through sixth graders will go back to school buildings beginning Monday, Feb. 8.
Michael Paschall, Delta Wind

Delta Greely School District schools returned to in classroom learning for all schools beginning Tuesday, Jan. 12. Schools will be opened at the medium risk level. Superintendent Shaun Streyle announced the plan for returning in a letter to parent.
Tyler Thompson, KDLG, Dillingham

Dillingham City School district will open to full in-person learning for the spring semester on Monday (1/18). The school will operate at the low risk level. That means it will operate at full capacity and function as it did before it switched to distance learning in November.
Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

A school worker is suing the school district and the Board of Education with hopes a judge will close schools until new daily COVID-19 case rates drop into the single digits.
Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Local public education leaders agreed to crack open labor agreements to go over safety provisions as plans continue for opening schools to in-person learning starting next week, according to Superintendent Karen Gaborik.
Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

“At many schools, student use of outside equipment is a topmost priority, but not before establishing safe routines throughout the classrooms, hallways and other areas,” said Yumi McCulloch, FNSBSD director of public relations. “Students will still have access to outdoor activities. Playground equipment use may be limited depending on each schools’ plans.”
Pablo Arauz Peña, KTOO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study that said reopening schools is safe if it’s done right. But in Juneau, teachers are still divided over whether reopening schools earlier this month was the right choice.
Pablo Arauz Peña, KTOO

Juneau’s school board is considering starting all of its meetings with an acknowledgment of local Alaska Native claims to their lands. If approved, the board would make time to recognize Tlingit people as the land’s original inhabitants before opening its meetings. Board member Martin Stepetin, who is Unangax, says he feels good about the idea.
KINY News, Juneau

District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett said the board's top priority is the early, adequate, equitable, predictable funding of public education. Six other priorities were identified, according to Bartlett.  Those include maintaining the hold harmless provisions that will help school districts adjust to the loss of enrollment related to the pandemic this school year and next school year.
Erin McKinstry, KCAW

Students in the Kupreanof Island village of Kake will resume in-person learning for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The Kake City School Board announced this week that the district will adopt a mixture of in-person and remote learning starting February 8, barring any new active cases in the community. Students who want to remain fully remote still have the option.
Sabine Poux, KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s new superintendent is a familiar face. The board of education chose Clayton Holland to lead the district next year. Holland is the district’s assistant superintendent of Instruction, and was the only one of the three finalists with deep roots in the district.
Sabine Poux, KDLL

Four schools on the eastern peninsula will open to all students five days a week. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District classrooms reopened Jan. 11 after three months of distance learning. While coronavirus case counts were still relatively high, seventh- through 12th-graders returned on alternating schedules twice a week.
Megan Pacer, Homer News

Homer High School had its first positive case of COVID-19 about two weeks after in-person education resumed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools. The case caused little interruption to the school’s schedule, however.
Andrew Kenneson, Kodiak Daily Mirror

The number of Kodiak High School graduates from the past five years who are now full-time college students is half the number that it was at this time last year, perhaps reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their post-high-school lives.
Andrew Kenneson, Kodiak Daily Mirror

It’s been a long calendar year for the Kodiak Island Borough School District. From going remote last spring, to spending the summer months planning for the fall semester, to going back to classes in person, then finishing the semester online, its been a whirlwind.
Wesley Early, KOTZ

Students in Kotzebue have been mostly unable to return to their classrooms since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year. However now, students could begin in-person learning next week — as long as there aren’t any new cases in the community.
China Kantner with the Northwest Arctic Borough School District says whether a school in the region reopens or not largely depends on the number of cases of the virus in the community.
Greg Kim, KYUK

The Lower Kuskokwim School District had hoped to start the 2020-2021 school year in the with their intranet fully functional. The intranet, which functions like a limited internet, was going to make remote learning better. But as the spring semester starts, many students are still not using the system.
Greg Kim, KYUK

The LKSD school board met for the first time this semester. An online petition requesting that LKSD immediately return to in-person classes in Bethel for two days of the week is circulating on Facebook. Over 120 people have signed the petition.
eSchool News

Alaska’s Nome Public Schools (NPS) today announced a new partnership with Discovery Education supporting the continued academic growth and development of students districtwide. Through this new collaboration, NPS educators and students in all grades and all district locations are receiving access to dynamic K-12 digital resources that keep students connected to their natural curiosity at home, in school, or wherever learning is taking place.
Angela Denning, KFSK, Petersburg

Petersburg School Board approved budget revisions at its meeting Jan.12 for this fiscal year. The pandemic has presented unforeseen challenges but by shuffling staff, transferring funds, and the State being more lenient with its rules, the school district has made ends meet.
Robert Woolsey, KCAW

The Sitka School District is considering an early retirement incentive for teachers, as a way of helping make ends meet next year. At its last meeting earlier this month (1-6-21), the Sitka School Board authorized the interim superintendent to open negotiations with the local teachers union.
Robert Woolsey, KCAW

Sitka’s Baranof Elementary School appears likely to have its name changed — but no one is quite sure what that new name will be yet. The Sitka School Board recently decided to send the question of the name change to the Sitka Tribe, in hopes of identifying a “significant local cultural educator.”
Hope McKenney & Maggie Nelson, KUCB

As Unalaskans are once again being asked to stay at home as much as possible after the city raised its coronavirus risk level to "high" on Thursday, students are left in limbo — awaiting transition to distance education.
Maggie Nelson, KUCB

As the city contends with potential widespread exposure to the coronavirus, Unalaska's schools have begun to determine if and how they will provide in-person learning opportunities to students.
Sage Smiley, KTSK, Wrangell

Wrangell Public Schools will begin its search for a new superintendent by the end of this week. And to sweeten the deal, the school board is increasing the position’s starting salary to remain competitive. The Association of Alaska School Boards is under contract to help.
Alaska School Sports News
Please Note - Some news outlets may require registration or a paid subscription for link access. Others may grant free access to a limited number of articles before requiring a paid subscription.

Due to improved health status, the Juneau School District is now operating winter sports. That's the word from Juneau School District Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss.
Jeff Helminiak, Peninsula Clarion

Kenai Peninsula high school basketball and hockey teams are being allowed to start practice by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Megan Pacer, Homer News

In their weekend of hockey in a shortened season, the Homer Mariners split two games, winning against the Kenai Kardinals before falling to the Soldotna Stars in overtime.
Derek Clarkston, Kodiak Daily Mirror

The thumping sound of basketballs hitting the hardwood floor echoed through the Kodiak High School gymnasium on Monday afternoon. Prep basketball was back in session.
Carey Restino, Arctic Sounder

Studies at both a local and national level show clearly that students involved in after school activities, including sports, are more successful in school. So as the district began to develop its plan for the second half of the school year, administrators looked at ways they might not only bring students back to the classroom but also to the basketball court.
More AASB Webinars
. WEBINAR . Welcome to the Board!
Presenters: AASB staff and Katie Oliver, AASB President-elect.
Were you just elected to your board? Do you have questions? We have answers!
. WEBINAR . How the Board can Support their Superintendent during the COVID Pandemic
Presenters: Clint Champion, Dr. Bridget Weiss, Scott MacManus, Lon Garrison, and Timi Tullis. Co-sponsored by AASB and the Alaska Superintendent's Association.
AASB Workshops for You and Your Board
  • Board/Superintendent Relations
  • How to run Effective Meetings
  • Board Self Evaluations (with a resulting board improvement plan)
  • Parliamentary Procedures
  • Board’s Quasi-Judicial Role
  • Using Your District’s Data for Planning
  • Data for School Boards
  • School Budget & Finance
  • Family Engagement
  • Youth Engagement
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Policy
  • Facilitated Superintendent Evaluation
  • Advisory School Committees
  • Charter Schools
  • Communications with your board
  • Labor Relations
  • Ethics
  • School Climate: What does School Climate & Connectedness look like now?
  • Trauma-Engaged Schools
  • Specialized facilitation:
  • Focus on particular issues
  • Choice of program
  • Scheduling to meet the needs of your board members and administrators
  • Team building
We can also provide customized solutions based on your needs. 
Please reach out to us.

- More Information -

or call 907- 463-1660
AASB Superintendent Search Service
Looking for a New Superintendent?

The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting successful and economical superintendent searches for over twenty years.
Our Superintendent Search Service provides expert facilitation of the entire search process, including identifying the needs of the district, recruiting candidates, conducting background searches, facilitating interviews, and all the steps to help with the hiring process. Learn about our Search Service

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions, Contact Us

Your school district is a vital member of the Association of Alaska School Boards, our state’s leading advocate for public education. Together, we work to ensure equity by strengthening the connections between schools, families, tribes, communities, and government so that every Alaskan child has the opportunity to receive a quality public education.

The many services AASB offers are designed to provide maximum benefit to our members in meeting their district's goals. Check out our Membership Benefits brochure and let us know how we can assist you!

Association of Alaska School Boards | aasb.org