MARCH 2023


Lon Garrison

Student Success in Your Schools - It is Local


Tiffany Jackson

Springtime is Budget Time


Claudia Plesa

Growing the Capacity for Family

and Community Dialogues


Lael Oldmixon, Alaska 529

Funding for the Future:

It’s Time to Dash to Save



Commentary Newsletter Archive

HB 65 - Increase Base Student Allocation

SB 52 - Increase Base Student Allocation

Calling All Public School Advocates!

Advocacy Resources are available below.

Register Here

Registration Deadline: Friday April 7


Scholarship package must be submitted by Saturday, April 1st at 5:00 pm AKST

Application & Scholarship Guidelines



Student Success in Your Schools - It is Local

Lon Garrison, Executive Director, AASB

Standardized tests, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), have lately been the tool of choice for public school critics bent on demonstrating how poorly public education performs. It is often used as the single best indicator of student outcomes because it is a “normalized test” carried out across the country and theoretically permitted comparisons from state to state or school to school. Thus, it has been easy for many with little public education experience to develop arguments of causation that may be wholly inaccurate and inappropriate. In terms of pure statistical protocol and process, it is about as sterilized as it comes. 


Many of us in public education, whether you are a school board member or educational professional, know that student success cannot be measured by a single test given once a year. As a locally elected school board member in Sitka and a father of two daughters, I quickly realized that public education is a complex system. 



Calling All Public School Advocates!

Citizen advocacy is an essential part of the legislative process, and your voice matters! It is influential when legislators hear from their constituents. Please get in touch with students, parents, and community members in your school district and encourage them to provide testimony by telephone or in writing when opportunities arise. The resources below have been created to assist in preparing testimony. Feel free to use them. 

As the session progresses, AASB will continue to alert our members of opportunities to testify on critical education-related bills. Many thanks for participating in the legislative process in support of Alaska's students and public schools!

AASB 2023 Legislative Priorities

On behalf of our member school districts statewide, the AASB Board of Directors has adopted three legislative priorities that focus on Funding, Educators, and Students. Supporting resolutions can be found in Where We Stand 2023.

AASB 2023 Legislative Priorities

Who Represents Your School District?

Find out which legislators represent your school district during the 33rd legislature. Includes contact info for Senators, Representatives, and all Senate and House committees.

Find My School District Legislators

Legislative Testimony Templates

AASB has created two templates for use in submitting written testimony to the legislature. We've included a Legislative Testimony Guide, along with a fill-able PDF testimony template and a Microsoft Word testimony template that can be edited to use for your own testimony. These templates can be used to respond to a call-to-action for testimony on a pending bill.



Springtime is Budget Time

Tiffany Jackson, Director of Membership Services

It’s nearly April, so for most school board this means you’ll be working on the budgeting process. School boards play a crucial role in the budget process. School board members are elected officials responsible for the oversight of operations of the school district. One of the primary responsibilities of the school board is to make decisions on how to best allocate resources to meet the needs of the district.



Growing the Capacity for Family and Community Dialogues

Claudia Plesa, Conditions for Learning / Community Engagement Manager

AASB is proud to highlight the use of community and family dialogue as a tool for school and educational improvement. Using key strategies from First Alaskans Alaska Institute’s Native Dialogues on Racial Equity (Andore), dialogues can be powerful tools to engage with the community, and work together to meet school, community and student needs. 



Registration Now Open!

We hope you join us for AASB's Spring Boardsmanship Academy April 15-16 at the Anchorage Hilton. Session topics will include: 

  • Cultivating good board culture
  • Restorative practices 
  • Updates on the Alaska Reads Act and Tribal Compacting for Education
  • Continue conversations around AASB's Legislative Priorities and How to Continue to Advocate! skills (building a positive board culture, self-evaluation, conduct/ethics).

This year we purposefully moved the spring academy to Anchorage in hopes that it is more convenient and less costly for you to attend. Don’t let this awesome opportunity slip through your hands! Register Today!


Friday, April 7 at 5:00 pm

After April 7, districts will incur a late registration fee


Funding for the Future: It’s Time to Dash to Save

Lael Oldmixon, Executive Director

Alaska 529, Education Trust of Alaska 

It’s been a great year partnering with the Alaska Association of School Boards. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your dedication to Alaska’s future, and the work you’re doing to spark curiosity and a passion for learning in young Alaskans. Education, in its many forms, is the foundation that all the achievements we want for our kids is built. Some planning is needed to ensure that students are able to cover the costs of education and training after high school. This is where Alaska 529 can be a valuable resource. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to spotlight two important resources that can add up when it comes to saving for future education and aimed at reducing the burden of paying for education: the Dash to Save™ and Dash to Save More™ incentive programs. These programs offer unique benefits not found elsewhere in the United States.


32nd Annual June Nelson Memorial Scholarship Competition

AASB will award up to fifteen $1,500 scholarships to apply toward post-secondary education! This scholarship is made possible by individual contributions of school board members and administrators across the state.



The complete scholarship package must be submitted by Saturday, April 1st at 5:00 pm AKST


2023 First Term Board Member Webinar Series

Whether you’re just getting started on your board, or want to brush up on the basics, AASB’s First Term Board Member Webinar Series is for you! Mark your calendar and plan to attend!


Upcoming Webinar Topics

  • Apr 11 - Working with your Community
  • Apr 25 - Holding Your Meeting Remotely

Upcoming Webinar Topic:

  • Apr 20 - How are our schools doing applying an equity lens?

"How do you know?" Webinar Series

In the “How do you know?” webinar series AASB’s Conditions for Learning team will walk you through easy-to-access data sources and approaches to understanding where you’re at with these types of initiatives and how to move forward for maximum impact.

Cultivating the conditions for learning means ensuring that every student has what they need in order to learn effectively. Research shows that students learn best when they feel safe, supported and engaged. Read more about the conditions for learning in the September Commentary.


Some of the many school board members, superintendents, legislators,

and legislative staff who participated in the week-long series of virtual meetups.

Fly-In Follow Up: Virtual Meetings with Legislators

During the week of March 6-9, school board members from around the state participated in a series of Zoom meetings with the Senators and Representatives who represent their school districts.

AASB organized the virtual gatherings as a follow-up to February's Legislative Fly-In. The meetups provided opportunities for board members to speak informally with their legislators about local issues and needs, and receive updates on key education bills under consideration this session.

The discussions centered primarily on three issues Alaska school districts have identified as their top priorities and some of the bills that specifically address them:

  • Sufficient and Sustainable Funding for Public Education - HB 65SB 52
  • Retention and Recruitment of Educators and Staff - SB 88
  • Student Wellness and Safety - SB 24


Pending Legislation Regarding Teacher Compensation

“Fine Tuning” Episode 8 (Now with Practice Pointers!)

Lea Filippi, Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC

We continue our Commentary series “fine tuning” by drawing attention to one of the education-related bills filed with the Legislature this month.

On March 7, Governor Dunleavy announced proposed legislation to create a recruitment and retention incentive for certain certified public school teachers. The Governor’s proposal has since been introduced as HB 106 in the House where it has been referred to the House Education Committee. Identical language has been introduced as

SB 97 in the Senate where it has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. Both Committees are holding hearings. 


Using the Round Robin Method for efficient board meetings

Ann Macfarlane, Professional Parliamentarian

The simplest way to make board meetings more efficient is to use the Round Robin Method of discussion. In a round robin, each member of the body is given an opportunity to speak once before anyone may speak a second time, commonly by calling on the members around the table in turn. Sometimes, however, it’s harder to employ this method than it seems. These are our tips for successful use of the Round Robin method.


How is it determined how many school board members are on a school board?

Answer: The number of board members is based on a district's average daily membership (ADM). According to Alaska State Statute 14.12.030: 

a. Each borough and city school district with an average daily membership of 5,000 or less has a school board of five members, except that the governing body of the borough or city may by ordinance, concurred in by a majority of the district school board, provide for a school board of seven members" 

b. Each borough and city school district with an average daily membership exceeding 5,000 has a school board of seven, nine, or eleven members, as established by ordinance.

Got a question? Email Timi Tullis, Tiffany Jackson, or Jenni Lefing



Grants of $250,000-$500,000 distributed over three years are available for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to respond to the following needs:

- Students experience a sense of belonging in school.

- Learning environments provide culturally and linguistically responsive practices.

- Students are surrounded by adults they can trust and who are committed to building strong relationships.

- Learning environments are nurturing and help students overcome challenging and traumatic experiences and provide a sense of emotional and physical safety.

Request for Application | More Info

Grants Open Now:

Positive Youth Development Afterschool Program

The State of Alaska Department of Health has released an RFP for Positive Youth Development Afterschool Program. 

The goals are the reduction of risk factors and the enhancement of protective factors among participating youth and families.

Funding tracks:

  • Up to 5 non-tribal organizations up to $900,000
  • Up to 5 tribal organizations up to $900,000.

Proposals Due: April 7, 2023, 3:59 PM

Inquiries Due: March 28, 2023, 3:59 PM

Information & Application

Senator Murkowski Accepting

Summer Internship Applications

Sen. Murkowski offers internship opportunities in her Washington, D.C. office and select state office locations. Internship programs are available for recent high school graduates, current college students, and recent college graduates. Interns will assist Sen. Murkowski's staff in legislative and constituent duties.

Application Deadline: March 31, 2023

Info & Application

Senator Murkowski's 2019 - 2nd Session interns

Alaska Reads Act

Implementation Webinars

Focus: District Reading Intervention

Now through May, DEED is hosting weekly hour-long webinars to take a deeper dive into the Alaska Reads Act.

The webinars will focus on each of the four programmatic parts of the Alaska Reads Act, as well teacher certification, data collections, and application to world and Alaska Language programs.

Webinars are scheduled for 3:15-4:15 PM

Schedule & Registration

There’s no guesswork

in the science of reading


April 28 – April 30, 2023

Science of Reading Symposium


Egan Convention Center, Anchorage, Alaska


ALL Education Stakeholders, this conference is free to attend!

Day 1: Celebrating Success

Day 2: Connecting Knowledge to Application

Day 3: Empowering Educators


Information & Registration



Anchorage – Anchorage School District hosts town halls on shifting school start times – Anchorage Daily News

Juneau – Juneau school board approves budget built around uncertain state, city funding – Katie Anastas, KTOO

Kenai – Seven district schools looking for principals – Riley Board, KDLL, Dillingham

Kodiak – KIBSD faces large budget deficit – Caleb Oswell, Kodiak Daily Mirror

Nome - Nome schools prioritize filling cultural education position - Greg Knight, KNOM

Petersburg – Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter addresses Petersburg School District staffing challenges – Shelby Herbert, KFSK

Sitka – Without action from legislature, Sitka’s schools could lose 15 teaching positions next year – Robert Woolsey, KCAW

Wrangell – School district encourages public to push for more state funding – Wrangell Sentinel

Yupiit – Help is on the way for Tuluksak’s school, but it’s not clear when running water will be restored – Francisco Martínezcuello, KYUK Bethel

More Alaska School District News


OPINION: The keys to Alaska education success: Investing in public schools and student-centered innovation – Lon Garrison, Executive Director, AASB, Anchorage Daily News

Senate hears concerns about school district budgets – Senator Gary Stevens, Kodiak Daily Mirror

Alaska senators introduce bipartisan bill intended to revive a pension program for state workers – James Brooks, Alaska Beacon

State Board of Education selects five tribes to begin Tribal School Compacting, adopts resolution to preserve opportunity for student athletes and regulations for teacher certification – KINY News, Juneau

Two bills in legislature could increase per-student funding – Greg Knight, KNOM

Dunleavy education bills would restrict sex ed, offer teacher bonuses – Iris Samuels & Sean Maguire, Anchorage Daily News

Alaska House committee removes funding for state attorney assigned to sue local school districts - James Brooks, Alaska Beacon

New Alaska education commissioner appointee declines job – Katie Anastas, KTOO

More State and Federal News

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.

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

Association of Alaska School Boards  |

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