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.

Editorials In Support of Our Shared Public Education Priorities 
By Norm Wooten, Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, and Sarah Sledge
(from left) Sarah Sledge, Norm Wooten, Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady
The Executive Directors of the Association of Alaska School Boards, the Alaska Council of School Administrators, and the Coalition for Education Equity are collaborating on a series of editorials that articulate our shared priorities for Alaska students.

Following are three editorials that have been published recently by the Alaska news media.
Timi Tullis AASB Associate
Executive Director
Lon Garrison AASB School Improvement Coordinator
             How Celebrating Success
           Can Strengthen Your Board
School Boards are full of busy members, yourself included. Think of all the things you and your fellow board members are involved in to better your community. As the year comes to an end, it's time to pause and congratulate each other on a job well done! Here are some suggestions for celebrating successes:
3 Minute Read >

          The 2019 Resolutions Process
                           Is Coming!!
Before you know it, it will be that most exciting time again! In just a couple of months the AASB resolutions process will begin.

We want to make sure boards have the opportunity to plan ahead, so here are some  important dates to add to your calendars:
New Digital Books Showcase Local Stories, Language, and Culture
Covers of digital books created by students during AASB 'Book Slam' workshops this year.
Yupiit, Yukon-Koyukuk, Copper River, and Hydaburg school districts have collaborated with the Association of Alaska School Boards to create a collection of fifteen interactive digital books featuring Yup'ik, Denaakk'e, Ahtna, and Haida languages.

Each book was created during a series of two-day 'Book Slam' workshops held in schools during the 2018-19 school year. Students, teachers, elders, community members, and district staff were involved in illustrating, translating, and narrating the books, which include history, stories, and Native languages of the communities in which they were produced, often from the first-hand accounts of local elders.

Wrangell school board President Aleisha Mollen presents June Nelson Memorial Scholarship winner Jean Luc Lewis with his certificate during a Senior Awards Ceremony.
Congratulations to all the 2019  
June Nelson Scholarship Winners!

This year's successful fundraising efforts  allowed AASB to award fifteen, $1,500 scholarships to graduating Alaska high school seniors. The scholarships support post-high school education pursuits and may be applied toward each student's choice of a business, trade, or college institution. We wish you all success in achieving your goals!

AASB Monthly Reports

Each month AASB staff provide a report to the Board of Directors describing progress made toward achieving the goals outlined in AASB's Long Range Plan (Pathways).
Spotlight: Chronic Absenteeism
Articles in this section are re-posted from the May edition of AASB's STEPS Alaska Promise Neighborhood Newsletter that focuses on the work in progress among STEPS Alaska grant partners across Southeast Alaska.
2019 School Climate & Connectedness Survey Results within STEPS Alaska
School climate matters. How students, staff, and families feel about their school's climate and how connected they are to adults and peers, impacts academics, high school graduation, attendance, and psychological health.

Read on for a summary of the data, how it influences work within STEPS, and to explore the results for yourself.

Results Count: Assessing Chronic Absenteeism

Studies have found that 60% of students who do not finish high school could be identified in middle school by looking at a combination of chronic absenteeism and poor academic performance.  
As an indicator, chronic absenteeism can give us insight about who needs interventions during middle school in order to stay on track to graduate from high school - read the full story for strategies and solutions being explored within STEPS.

Dive into Data

Among 4th through 9th graders in the STEPS Neighborhood, children who are Alaska Native or 2 or more races are 1.35 times more likely to be chronically absent than white students.
Within this group of students, children who come from low income homes are 1.64 times more likely to be chronically absent than children from higher income homes. We know there are many systemic inequities and historical contexts to integrate into our work to better support all students in our communities. 

Source: Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Guest Columns
"The Case of the Offensive Comments at the Elementary School Picnic: A school's obligations when a school employee makes offensive comments."
By Clint Campion of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC
Clint Campion
Part eight of a series on interacting with the world outside of the school house gates.  
Last week, the elementary school held an end-of-year picnic at a local park. Parents and volunteers assisted school staff with the picnic. This week, a parent who assisted with the picnic asked to meet with the principal. At a meeting in the principal's office, the parent complained that a teacher made comments to her of a sexual nature which made her uncomfortable. The parent explained that she had volunteered in the teacher's classroom throughout the school year. She described that the teacher made comments of a sexual nature during the school year nature which made her uncomfortable in her child's classroom.
Governing Bodies and The Outlier Syndrome
By Tami A. Tanoue, Executive Director, CIRSA
Tami A. Tanoue
Those who have been working with municipalities for an extended period have observed a phenomenon that occurs at the governing body level. Let's call this phenomenon the Outlier Syndrome. The Outlier is the "lone wolf" who sits on a school board, city council or board of trustees and steadfastly refuses to act like a member of the team. Even while isolating himself or herself as the only person on the losing side of just about every vote, the Outlier manages to create havoc with the rest of the body. 
The chair is not in charge of your meeting
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
It is a little-known fact that ultimately it is the board that is in charge of your meeting, not the chair. According to the principles of parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order, the chair runs the meeting while subject to the will of the body as a whole. This is very different from the workplace, the military, or many other institutions in our society.
In Search of Instructional Technology Utopia
By Joe Robinson, K12 Development Executive, Apple Education
Joe Robinson
Best instructional practices paired with meaningful, seamless technology integration is the elusive, but worthwhile goal of educators looking to provide the best learning opportunities for students. It's no easy task. Keeping current with best practices is difficult enough, but staying current with the tools, resources, and ideas for implementing technology can be overwhelming. Here are some strategies I learned during my years as a classroom teacher.
3 Minute Read > 
Save the Date for These Upcoming Back-to-Back September Events!  
Alaska School Safety
& Well-Being Summit
September 18-19, 2019

DEED will be hosting a comprehensive statewide School Safety & Well-Being Summit, September 18-19, 2019 at the
Egan Center in Anchorage. Pre and post conference days are being planned around different topics TBD.

Each district will be provided travel funding to bring in a team that may include teachers, administrators, school counselors, parents, community members, and school board members. DEED has planned the Summit to accommodate teams of up to six from each district. More information to come.

DEED Contact: Sharon Fishel, sharon.fishel@alaska.gov
Plan to stay on for the
AASB Fall Boardsmanship Academy
September 21-22, 2019

AASB will be holding our fall academy in Anchorage at The Hotel Captain Cook. Sessions will be designed for school board members to hone their boardsmanship skills and knowledge of current issues impacting schools in Alaska.

Session topics will include:
  • Your Role as a School Board Member in Advocacy & Curriculum
  • Update from the Professional Teaching Practices Commission (PTPC)
  • and more!
For more information contact Jenni Lefing, jlefing@aasb.org
Alaska School News

We think what's going on in schools is worth sharing!

Each month Commentary will highlight school and district newsletters from across Alaska.
The Inside Scoop seeks to honor student achievements, help promote local events and activities, and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of youth in your district.

We're excited to help spread your good news!

School District Newsletters

Denali Borough School District
Tri-Valley School Viking Saga - 5/02/2019

Local Student News
Two Alaska youth honored for volunteerism at national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Anchorage Press

Browse The Inside Scoop Newsletter Collection >
Include your school or district newsletter in The Inside Scoop!    
State Budget News
Statewide reaction to Governor Dunleavy's proposed budget continues as school districts, municipalities, businesses, organizations, and the public assess its potential impacts. In response, the Alaska Senate and House have developed alternate budgets of their own. News coverage is presented in chronological order as events have unfolded.

April 30 - Dermot Cole, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

April 30 - Claire Stremple, KHNS, Haines

April 30 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
April 30 - Sean Maguire, KTUU
May 1 - Editorial, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 1 - Joe Beedle, Alaska Journal of Commerce

May 1 - Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media

May 2 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Stand Tall for All: The Valley speaks out against Governor's budget
May 2 - Tim Rockey, Anchorage Press

May 3 - Laura Holman, KTUU

May 4 - Tim Rockey, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

May 5 - Philip Martin, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 6 - Karl Monetti, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
May 6 - Aaron Bolton, KBBI, Kenai 
May 6 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan 
May 6 - Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media 
May 7 - Associated Press/KTUU
May 8 - Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO
May 8 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
May 8 - Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce 
May 8 - Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce 
May 9 - Alex McCarthy, Juneau Empire
May 9 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
May 9 - Steve Quinn, KTVA

May 9 - Kristen Durand, KTVA

May 9 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan  

Dunleavy says he won't veto K-12 funding; leadership unmoved
May 10 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 10 - Austin Baird, Alaska Native News

May 10 - Juneau Empire

May 10 - Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM, Nome

May 11 - Mary Kauffman, SitNews

May 12 - Editorial, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 13 - Associated Press/KTUU

May 13 - Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media

May 14 - Editorial, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 14 - Alistair Gardiner, Kodiak Daily Mirror

May 15 - Editorial, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 15 - Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce

May 15 - Kortnie Horazdovsky & Sean Maguire, KTUU

May 15 - Andrew Hawkins, Webcenter 11

May 15 - Steve Quinn, KTVA

May 16 - Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

May 16 - Alex McCarthy, Juneau Empire

May 17 - Jacob Resneck, KCAW, Sitka

May 17 - Editorial, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

May 17 - Sean Maguire, KTUU

May 19 - Editorial, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 20 - Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion

May 20 - Rebecca Palsha, KTUU

May 20 - Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

May 20 - Sean Maguire, KTUU

May 21 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD Ketchikan

May 21 - Associated Press/KTUU

May 21 - Steve Quinn, KTVA

May 22 - Elizabeth Earl, Alaska Journal of Commerce

May 22 - Associated Press/KTUU

May 22 - Noah Hanson, Alaska Native News

May 22 - Alex McCarthy, Homer News

May 22 - Sean Maguire, KTUU

May 23 - Kevin G. Clarkson, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

May 23 - Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

May 24 - Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

May 24 - Erin McGroarty, Kodiak Daily Mirror

May 27 - Phillip Manning, KTNA, Talkeetna

May 27 - Renee Gross, KBBI, Homer

May 28 - Erin Mcgroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
May 29 - Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce
May 29 - Austin Baird, Alaska Native News

May 29 - Bruce Bustamante, Craig Dahl and Marisa Sharrah, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Other News 
Paideia Cooperative School, Principal Douglas Gray, named Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Principal for 2019
Alaska Association of Elementary Principals press release 
Douglas Gray
The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals is proud to announce our National Distinguished Principal for 2019 is Doug Gray, principal of Paideia Cooperative School in Anchorage, Alaska. The 2019 National Distinguished Principal Celebration marks the 35th year that the National Association of Elementary School Principals has presented this prestigious award.

Doug Gray was nominated and selected by his fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District staff vote to strike
By Renee Gross, KBBI, Homer 
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District employees voted Wednesday to strike next fall over rising health care costs. Members of both unions representing teachers and support staff in the school district voted overwhelmingly in support of the strike if both parties can't agree on terms of a new contract this summer. Negotiations over the renewal of a collective bargaining agreement between district employees and administrators has been going on for over a year.
Negotiations moved into non-binding arbitration earlier this year, but once again stalled over health care costs.
With Eichenlaub Confirmed As Elementary Principal, UCSD Has Two Teaching Positions To Fill
By Laura Kraegel, KUCB 
Photo: Laura Kraegel
Chad Eichenlaub is officially the next principal of Eagle's View Elementary Achigaalux. On Thursday, Unalaska's school board unanimously approved an $85,000 contract for Eichenlaub, who currently serves as the high school's business education teacher. "Congratulations, Chad," said Board President Frank Kelty. "We wish you all the best in your new assignment here with the district." This will be Eichenlaub's first post as a principal and administrator. He was selected from a pool of about 15 applicants earlier this month, with Superintendent John Conwell praising his master's degree in education and his experience with the Unalaska City School District (USCD). He has taught at the high school for two years and did his student teaching on the island in 2012.
Taking the Guesswork Out of Teacher Hiring
By Madeline Will, Education Week 
Imagine a world where school districts' hiring departments can predict the longevity and effectiveness of a teacher before she steps foot into a classroom. It's a scenario that's proved difficult to make reality, but a body of emerging research is making inroads. There are a handful of research-practitioner partnerships across the country working to improve teacher hiring through a strategic approach to job interviews, recommendations, and resume screenings.
OPINION: Time to invest in culturally responsive education
By Danielle Riha, 2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year, Finalist-National Teacher of the Year, Arctic Sounder 
Danielle Riha
As a teacher at Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, I've experienced first-hand the transformational experience that culturally sensitive curricula can provide for Anchorage's Native students. Native students across Alaska and beyond deserve access to a quality public school that speaks to their unique identity and history, and when teachers are empowered to use culturally responsive curricula and traditional Native teaching methods, great things happen - and I see it in my classroom every day. But we have a problem facing our state, and our district. Far too many teachers, policy makers and administrators are not effectively practicing culturally responsive teaching and do not utilize cultural standards for teaching and evaluation.
University of Alaska begins transition for Anchorage campus's teacher education program
By Dan Bross, KUAC 
The University of Alaska is making progress restructuring its teacher education program, following the University of Alaska Anchorage's loss of accreditation for its initial licensure program. Last month, UA regents decided to discontinue the early teacher programs, and instead provide access to remaining accredited programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast. Speaking at a UA regents meeting May 9th, College of Education Executive Dean Steve Atwater said nearly one hundred students have already transitioned to the UAS or UAF initial licensure programs, including some who graduated this month. Some students would physically transfer to the other campuses, while others would take classes in Anchorage from UAF or UAS faculty as students of those universities.
51 graduate from Fairbanks Pipeline Training Center
By Michele Foley, Fairbanks Pipeline Training Center, for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Daniel Domke, FBNSB Career and Technical Education Director speaks during graduation.
Photo: Michele Foley
Nearly 200 people gathered May 7 at the Fairbanks Pipeline Training Center to celebrate the achievements of 51 high school students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and home school programs who completed their Introduction to the Trades courses. Course subjects included heavy-duty mechanics, shielded metal arc welding, electrical trades, building trades, and, new this year, the University of Alaska Fairbanks/Community and Technical College process technology program.
Donlin Gold looks to schools, workforce development for future employees
By Kristi Shallenberger, Alaska Public Media 
Welding students at Yuut Elinaurviat designed and fabricated a road grader that can be transported to villages in a shipping container.
Photo: Krysti Shallenberger
Donlin Gold promised to hire local workers for its proposed gold mine. To fulfill that promise, the company knows that it has to start now - and it has to start young. Donlin is already investing in schools and programs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in anticipation. Desiree Teeluk pulls her bag filled with tools out from her locker at Yuut Elitnaurviat, a workforce development organization located in Bethel. She came from Kotlik, a village south of Norton Sound. Desiree has dreamed of being a carpenter since she was small. "It's just, like, in the blood. My dad was a carpenter and my biological dad is one too," Teeluk said. She's one of hundreds of students who have gone through Yuut Elitnaurviat or similar programs that train rural Alaskans for jobs at home.
JBER community says goodbye to Mount Spurr Elementary after 65 years
By Scott Gross, KTVA 
Photo: KTVA
It's a bittersweet time for the Mount Spurr Elementary School community as staff and students held a celebration Monday commemorating 65 years of service on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. It also signified an end of an era, as the school is closing its doors for good at the end of the year.
Next year, Mount Spurr students will instead attend one of the other two elementary schools on JBER: Orion or Aurora Elementary School. During the commemorative ceremony in the school's gymnasium, Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop prepared the students for their new adventure. She called it a difficult, but exciting time.
LKSD Board passes resolution for new school at Mertarvik
By Delta Discovery Staff 
The Lower Kuskokwim School District Board passed Resolution 19-90: Establish a New School in the Village of Mertarvik during their April 18th, 2019 meeting.

The resolution states that the village of Newtok is experiencing severe climate change and is losing coastline to erosion at an alarming rate. Furthermore, the village of Newtok is at threat of being underwater in the next three to five years due to erosion, climate change, and rising water levels, continues Res. 19-90.

"The village of Newtok has voted to move the community to a new location at Mertarvik. As many as 40 or more students will move from Newtok to Mertarvik in the Fall of 2019. The Lower Kuskokwim School District is the state authorized education agency charged with providing educational services to students in the villages of LKSD," says the Resolution. It was resolved by unanimous vote, 9-0. Mertarvik, on Nelson Island, is located 9 miles upriver from Newtok.
First Lady Announces Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients
Governor's Office Press Release 
Posie Boggs
Photo: IDA
First Lady Rose Dunleavy announced and recognized six recipients of the First Lady Volunteer of the Year Awards at a ceremony in the Governor's Residence. The awards recognize volunteers who engage in unpaid charitable activities, demonstrate personal commitment to long-term volunteer services, and make a significant impact for Alaskans.

Among the award six recipients was Anchorage Reading Specialist Posie Boggs, who has been instrumental to the vision and hours of work necessary to bring forward the successful HB 64 Legislative Task Force on Reading Proficiency and Dyslexia in 2018. Once HB 64 became law, Posie rolled up her sleeves and spearheaded an effort to continue to educate Alaskans on how we can do better to make sure every child in our state is given the gift of learning to read.
Social media posts threaten gun violence at two Mat-Su schools
By Leroy Polk, Rebecca Palsha & Taylar Perez, KTUU 
Photo: KTUU
Administration at two separate Mat-Su schools received tips that social media posts were circulating online threatening gun violence, with one stating students should "watch their back."

"We're working with law enforcement right now to find out if this is a credible threat and trying to identify the person who posted the Snapchat, and then we can, at that point, deem what the appropriate consequences will be," Justin Ainsworth, the executive director of instruction for the Mat-Su School District, said.

The threats were sent to a Palmer High School student, and authorities dispatched extra officers there, and to Colony Middle and High Schools as a precaution.
In Utqiaġvik, learning about climate change includes studying your backyard
By  Ravenna Koenig, KTOO 
Science teacher Kevin Neyhard teaches cience students in Utqiaġvik about climate change. Photo: Ravenna Koenig
In Utqiaġvik, the average temperature has risen over 7 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 50 years. That's among the biggest jumps in Alaska and the world. People in Utqiaġvik are already experiencing impacts from that warming, like changes in the sea ice they hunt from, and increased coastal erosion as the period of time when the shoreline is protected from storms by sea ice has gotten shorter. And in eighth grade science, students in Alaska's northernmost town study climate change in a way that encompasses the global picture, but pays particular attention to what's going on in their own backyard.
North Slope Borough Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent  
North Slope Borough School District press release 
The Board of Education for the North Slope Borough School District is pleased to announce their choice for a new Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Kathy Ahgeak, beginning July 1, 2019. The Board wishes to express their sincere thanks to everyone who participated and supported the events on May 17th.  
The Board met in executive session on the afternoon of May 17th to review the results of the interview. The Board discussed the appointment of a Superintendent from the two well-qualified candidates. After coming out of executive session, the Board took formal action in open session and voted for the appointment of Kathy Ahgeak for the 2019-2020 school year.  
Kathy Ahgeak is presently serving as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the North Slope Borough School District and has extensive experience serving in the field of education. Born and raised in Barrow, Kathy completed her undergraduate program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and continued her masters degree in a blended learning environment. Throughout her formal education pathway, Kathy ensured that learning was balanced between our Inupiaq system of knowledge and western education requirements, and is committed to build systems of support for our students.  
Ms. Ahgeak made the following statement upon her appointment:
"I first want to acknowledge and thank our Lord for his continued guidance in all that we do in our communities to help one another. Quyanaqpak to the NSBSD Board of Education for this opportunity serve our students, parents, teachers and community members as we collectively build a strong foundation of support for our students. Quyanaqpak as well for the support of my family, communities, colleagues and leaders in our region as we work together to improve and build upon opportunities for our students. "

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