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.

65th Annual Conference Highlights
It's a wrap! The Association of Alaska School Boards 65th Annual Conference and Youth Leadership Institute culminated in a burst of enthusiasm, as attendees headed back to their districts infused with ideas, energy, and renewed purpose.

Were we successful in "Redefining Education in Alaska?" Let's just say that a pretty clear roadmap was developed during our time together, and the journey is underway. Take a few minutes to check out the new resolutions passed by AASB members to learn Where We Stand.

The Hilton was hoppin' for four days of Eskimo Ninja inspiration, Māori determination, voices joined in celebration, board excellence commendations, scholarship donations, student validations, legal interpretations, superintendent collaboration, budget considerations, policy explanations, language preservation, sponsor appreciation, exhibitor stations, youth-adult conversations, district forum organization, resolutions examination, and digital registration.

If a sectional slide got by you before it could be captured, or if you missed attending a session, we've got you covered. All of the conference presenter slideshows, videos, and photos, including those posted to the app, are available at this link:

See more conference highlights below. And thanks for all you do for Alaska's students!

Norm Wooten interviewed a student panel of Youth leadership Institute attendees.
Timi Tullis,
AASB Associate Executive Director
Student Panel Offers Insights on Academic Success, Leadership
During the Sunday Luncheon on the final day of the conference, AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten moderated a panel of Youth Leadership Institute attendees. The students shared their thoughts and opinions about school success, leadership development, and the one thing adults need to hear.
11 Ways To Be a Better Leader
Congratulations to all of you who have been (re)elected as your board president or board chair! Here are some essential tips to remember that will help you thrive in your new role. Following these suggestions will assist you in leading your board in setting goals and making decisions focused on increasing student achievement in your district.
4 Minute Read >
(Top row, L to R) Dr. Barbara Amarok, Dana Mock, Penny Vadla, Tillie Ticket, Clarence Daniel, Roxanne Brower, Starr Marsett. (Bottom row, L to R) Wassillie Gust, Secretary/Treasurer Katie Oliver, President-Elect Michael Swain, President Tiffany Jackson, Past President Peter Hoepfner, Deena Mitchell. Not shown: Lawrence Jones, Sr., Elizabeth Siddon.

During the conference, the following officers were elected by the AASB Board to serve a one year term: President: Tiffany Jackson, Aleutians East Borough; President Elect: Michael Swain, Bristol Bay Borough; Secretary/Treasurer: Katie Oliver, Kodiak Island Borough; and Past President: Peter Hoepfner, Cordova City.

Newly elected Directors include Starr Marsett, Anchorage; Tillie Ticket, Northwest Arctic Borough; Roxanne Brower, North Slope Borough; Wassillie Gust, Southwest Region; and Elizabeth Siddon, Juneau.
Returning Directors include Dana Mock, Delta/Greely; Clarence Daniel, Lower Kuskokwim; Dr. Barbara Amarok, Nome; Penny Vadla, Kenai Peninsula Borough; Lawrence Jones, Sr., Northwest Arctic Borough; and Deena Mitchell, Anchorage.
Carl Rose Leadership Award
Clarence Daniel of Lower Kuskokwim School District received the Carl Rose Leadership award from Dr. Barbara Amarok of Nome.
Outstanding Board of the Year
North Slope Borough Board President Roxanne Brower made acceptance remarks after North Slope was named this year's outstanding board.
Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Karen Gaborik, Superintendent of Fairbanks North Star School District was named 2019 Alaska Superintendent of the Year by the Alaska Superintendents Association.
MacKinnon Award
Newly elected Representative of Juneau House District 34, Andy Story received the 2019 MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award from ASA. 
Swing Team 
Anchorage's East High Swing/Jazz Choir rocked the house with their sweet harmonies!
Getting Some Air
The "Eskimo Ninja" Nick Hanson kicked off the Friday morning General Session by demonstrating his technique for the two foot  high kick. Photo: Jason Tomberlin, GCI.
Beat That Wall!
Nick Hanson scaled the Warp Wall to touch the ceiling of the Anchorage Hilton ballroom. His keynote presentation focused on overcoming challenges to achieve personal success.
Honoring Veterans in Song
The Ravenwood Elementary School Choir opened Saturday's General Session
by performing patriotic songs in commemoration of Veteran's Day.
NZ in AK
Keynote speakers Bentham and Watson Ohia from New Zealand discussed how education has been transformed in their country through strengthening indigenous identity, knowledge, culture, and language. The brothers ended their presentation by performing a Māori haka dance, which is often done during ceremonies to mark the importance of an occasion. 
Sharing Traditions
YLI students were led by Bentham and Watson in singing a traditional Māori language song at the Saturday Banquet. The Ohia brothers explained that all Māori students are seen as "Uri" (family) by their community, so the community takes responsibility for their school achievement, much more so than in a typical school-family-student relationship.

Elder Liz Sunnyboy leads a group activity with students attending the 27th annual Youth Leadership Institute.

YLI brought young people together from across the state to develop and practice their leadership skills. Past participants have been inspired to become leaders in their school, community, and school boards. During the conference, students connected with peers and participated in conversations with their district's board members. YLI workshop topics included communication, team building, leadership styles, and resiliency in leadership.

Board members and YLI students discuss education issues during the Saturday Roundtables.

Academy for Experienced Board Members - The Perfect  
Pre-Conference Refresher
By Steve Nelson, AASB Public Information and Project Coordinator 
   Academy attendees participated in an interactive presentation on The Board's Role in Finance
No matter how long you've been at it, being an effective school board member requires keeping up with current best practices, new strategies, and emerging trends. AASB's annual pre-conference session, the Academy for Experienced Board Members, is the perfect refresher! This informative day-long interactive seminar features knowledgeable presenters and in-depth examinations of multiple topics targeted explicitly to the work of boards. The Academy helps attendees to understand their role as board members better and prepares them for a richer, more productive annual conference experience. This year's Academy focused on four essential board roles: Budget Oversight, Relationship with your Superintendent, Curriculum and Instructional Material, and Policy.  
Board Room Boot Camp - Your Shortcut to Expertise
By Jenni Lefing, AASB School Climate and Conference Coordinator 
Attorney John Sedor explained School Board Members' Legal Rights and Responsibilities
Around 50 new school board members, superintendents and school district staff attended this year's Board Room Boot Camp at the annual conference. This year's Boot Camp was designed to help newly elected school board members understand and feel comfortable in their new role while connecting with school board members from around the state. The first day began with attendees having the chance to meet other board members through engaging activities, such as starting off the morning with a "greeting frenzy."
AASB Membership Approves 2019 Resolutions "Where We Stand"
By Lon Garrison, AASB School Improvement Coordinator 
AASB Board President Tiffany Jackson presided over the Delegate Assembly meeting.
On Sunday, November 11th, the AASB membership met as a Delegate Assembly to approve the final resolutions that make up the document "Where We Stand 2019". These resolutions provide the basis upon which the association may take a position on a wide variety of topics and issues facing education and students in the state of Alaska.
Youth on Boards - Enhancing the Experience for All
By Claudia Plesa, AASB Community Engagement Educator and Coordinator 
Claudia Plesa presented at the
Youth On Boards workshop.
AASB's 65th Annual Conference was an excellent opportunity for Alaska's education and youth leaders to come together and learn from each other. One of the ways educators can continue to learn from our youth leaders is by having a Youth Representative on your board. At this year's conference, I co-hosted a workshop titled "Youth on Boards - Enhancing the Experience for All." Here are some key takeaway points from our presentation:
Thoughts on District Leadership and the Superintendent/Board Relationship
By Dr. Karen Gaborik, Superintendent of Fairbanks North Star School District and 2019 Alaska Superintendent of the Year 
     Dr. Karen Gaborik spoke during the Saturday Awards Banquet
There are over 48 districts represented at this banquet tonight, and this conference is for school board members. So I'd like to share with you a few thoughts on district leadership and the superintendent/school board relationship.
Superintendents work hard for you. We are keenly aware of who are bosses are, and unlike almost any other industry or business sector, this is a constantly changing landscape. The turnover in some districts is significant. I've talked to superintendents who have only been in the job a few years, and none of the board members who hired them are still on their school board. But every single one of these superintendents is so excited about their work in your communities and so excited to be here with you.
Uncomfortable Conversations 
By Ben Walker, 2018 Alaska State Teacher of the Year  
Ben Walker addressed attendees at the Saturday Luncheon
The biggest problem in the attempt to redefine education, whether it's here in Alaska or nationwide: The inclusion of the expertise of teachers and students. And for me, teachers has a broader meaning. Classroom teachers, counselors, nurses, support professionals - the people in our schools every day. These are the only two ingredients that education really needs, actually. Students and teachers. Yet neither are fairly represented at the table and are usually entirely left out. There are over 8,000 experts on teaching and learning in our communities throughout Alaska with hundreds of thousands of hours of education and experience on any educational subject you could imagine. These include new teachers as well, for they are often the ones with the most innovative ideas when it comes to helping our students grow.
Additionally, we have over 130,000 young experts on learning in our classrooms. Experts from all different backgrounds and abilities. Yes, students. Students are experts on learning and should be invited to the table. When was the last time a committee, of almost any kind, at the district level, or even the school level, had a respectful representation of student voice? 
The voice of teachers and students are sought and valued
By Tiffany Jackson, AASB Board President 
Tiffany Jackson
I heard in a speech this month that the biggest problem we face in redefining education is the lack of inclusion of teachers and students in the discussions we have about public education. What I found ironic about this statement when it was made, was immediately following this speech was an opportunity for over 80 high school students from across the state to share with 230 school board members what they felt was going well, and what could use improvement in public education. The students were able to share what they felt from their perspective could help school board members advocate to make meaningful improvements in their districts.  
Many school districts have student representatives on the school board. I'd venture to say most school boards carve out time at their meetings to hear directly from students. I know in my district, we invite teachers to be part of the committees we form to work on school district business. During Alaska's Education Challenge, each committee intentionally had representation from teachers, students, and parents. For many of us, the voice of teachers and students are sought and valued.
3 Minute Read > 
Guest Columns
Alaska Schools May Be Sitting on an Apple Gold Mine
By Pete Vraspir and Charles Duarte, Diamond Assets
Pete Vraspir
and Charles Duarte
Alaska is a place full of rugged mountains, incredible wildlife, and stunning remote villages and communities. Yet in addition to sitting on vast oil reserves, many Alaska schools may not realize they also are sitting on a potential gold mine: their used Apple ed tech devices. If you're intrigued by the possibility of trading up your Apple devices, here are answers to common questions we often hear: 
Empowering Communities through Teaching Digital Citizenship
By Sam Jordan, Education Technology Coordinator, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) 
Sam Jordan
Any place where children and youth gather, work or socialize provides an involved community with an opportunity to provide guidance, perspective and help reinforce safety. Digital environments are now part of that landscape of where students gather. Teachers, parents, elders and caregivers are critical partners in helping children and youth navigate the opportunities and liabilities of the digital world. As the impact of social media tools, apps, gaming, and the internet has grown, the principles of digital citizenship are also now a much more evolved picture of how using digital tools can open up possibilities in learning, participation and connection.
Don't include detailed public comment in meeting minutes
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
When city councils, school boards or other public bodies hold their meetings, it is usual to reserve a time in the meeting for members of the public to speak to their elected officials. One common name for this is the public comment period. We recommend that detailed public comment should not be included in the body's minutes.
According to Robert's Rules of Order, and the common understanding of parliamentary procedure, minutes are a record of the decisions made by the body. They are supposed to include "what is done," and not "what is said." Personal comments and observations made by elected officials should never be included in the minutes.
Crisis Management: The Case of the Aggressive OCS Investigator
By Allen Clendaniel of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC
Allen Clendaniel
Part three of a series on Interacting with the Outside World - School District Style.
An OCS Investigator walks into the elementary school office and aggressively demands to interview a student at the school. The school secretary goes and gets the principal. The OCS Investigator asserts that he needs to interview the student immediately. The principal hesitates. The student's parents are very involved in the school. They are also prominent members of the community. The principal calls the Superintendent, but the Superintendent is unavailable. The OCS Investigator says that the child's safety is at stake and he needs to interview the student now. He also says that no one from the school district can call the student's parents. What should the school administrator do?
3 Minute Read >     
Register now for AASB's December Training Opportunities! 
Executive Administrative  
Assistant Workshop

Share ideas with Executive Administrative Assistants from around the state, and learn about:
  • Variety of Human Resource Topics (ex: personnel files, background checks, new employee orientation)
  • Preparing for Board Meetings
  • New Laws & Regulations
  • What to Keep & Throw Away
December 6-7 2018  
Hotel Crowne Plaza, Anchorage

Winter Boardsmanship Academy
& Equity Conference

Connect with school board members from around the state. Gain insights into your role in:
  • School Finance Basics
  • School District Audits
  • Creating a Board Checklist
  • Special Education Support to Schools
  • Equity in Alaska's Schools
December 7-8 2018
Hotel Crowne Plaza, Anchorage
Partner Spotlight
Sitka School District to conduct survey for early childhood programs
KCAW News, Sitka
The Sitka School District is conducting an Early Childhood Survey with funding from a federal STEPS grant. Parents with children ages birth to 5 years old are encouraged to fill out the anonymous survey to provide feedback to the district on what support they need from the community. The district will use that information to identify priorities for early childhood programs in Sitka.
Culturally Responsive Early Learning Programs with Mandy Evans (Sitka School District), Tina Carpenter (RurAL CAP Head Start) and Esther Pepin (Bristol Bay Borough School District)
November 29, 2018, 3:00-4:00 pm
Join here. Toll-free (855) 244-8681
Meeting ID: 805 648 234#

Utilizing Observations in Lesson Planning with Supanika Ackerman
January 18, 2019, 3:00-4:00 pm
Join here. Toll-free (855) 244-8681
Meeting ID: 804 505 868#

Distance Learning Keeps Growing as Technology Catches Up
By Elizabeth Earl, Alaska Journal of Commerce 
Alaska Zoo Education Director Stephanie Hartman displays a wolf pelt during a distance education class.
Photo: Alaska Zoo
In the past decade, with expanding broadband availability and increasing attention on the cost of education in the state, educational organizations have rapidly embraced technology in the classrooms. That often includes distance and supplementary online education. "Technology is just a part of everything now," said Norm Wooten, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska School Boards. "I recall when computers were first being put into schools, we were teaching kids keyboarding, how to type," he said. "Districts don't do that anymore. They're starting students right away on coding, complex topics."
First Alaska aircraft mechanic school in 20 years opens in Bethel
By Jeremy Osborne, Yuut Elitnaurviat/Delta Discovery 
Photo: Yuut Elitnaurviat
Through the help and support of its partner organizations, Yuut Elitnaurviat is proud to announce the certification of the Yuut Elitnaurviat Regional Aircraft Maintenance School. Located in Bethel, Alaska, this is the first FAA-approved Part 147 Aircraft Maintenance School certified in the state since 1995, and one of only 174 in the nation. The school will be offering training for both the Airframe and Powerplant mechanic's certificates.
LKSD Board Remembers Jonathan Lewis Of Chefornak
By Christine Trudeau, KYUK Bethel
Jonathan Lewis
Photo: LKSD
At the October meeting, LKSD Board members bowed their heads in somber silence to remember the late Jonathan Lewis. "Stand and have a moment of silence before the pledge of allegiance," said LKSD Board President Clarence Daniel. Lewis joined the board in Seat B back in 2012, representing Chefornak, Kipnuk, Kwigillingok, and Mekoryuk. His term runs until 2020 and will be temporarily filled until the next municipal election by a special election in those communities. Towards the end of last week's meeting, board members shared their remembrances and condolences.
UAA bids farewell to Dalee Sambo Dorough, recently elected chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council
By UAA Green & Gold News  
Dalee Sambo Dorough, Ph.D.
Photo: Bill Hess
Eighty thousand people - that's how many lives the average person impacts over the course of a lifetime, according to research from Funders and Founders.
For comparison, since her recent election to serve as international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), former UAA associate professor of political science Dalee Sambo Dorough, Ph.D., now finds herself in a position that represents a population of 165,000 Inuit. Speaking for a group that large can be enough to intimidate anybody, but Dorough's long history with both ICC and UAA makes her perfectly suited for the role.
Native leaders want Ketchikan school district to close 'achievement gap'
By Leila Kheiry, KRBD Ketchikan
Melissa Johnson
Photo: Leila Kheiry, KRBD
Alaska Native students in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District have an "achievement gap," and tribal leaders asked the school board Wednesday to work on closing that gap. Melissa Johnson, vice president of the Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Council and chairperson for KIC's education committee, said years of mistreatment created a sense of distrust of public schools among the Alaska Native population.
Dunleavy's win leaves a lot of uncertainty for rural education
By Christine Trudeau, KYUK Bethel   
Mike Dunleavy
Photo: Rashah McChesney
As Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy prepares to take office on Dec. 3, there are still a lot of unknowns about how he'll approach his campaign priorities - a big one being education. What a Dunleavy administration might do on the issue of public education is a big question looming over rural schools across the state.
A member of the Dunleavy transition team, Sarah Erkmann Ward, said in an email to KYUK that, "Education is one of the governor-elect's passions, and all Alaskans will hear more about his ideas for improving outcomes soon." For now, KYUK's questions don't have answers.
School employees find package of meth hidden in village food shipment
By Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News   
Wainwright, Alaska
Photo: Wikimedia
Employees at the Wainwright village school were beginning to prepare a meal for students this week when they discovered one of the containers of food looked suspicious, as if the seal had been broken. Inside, says school district superintendent Stewart McDonald, was methamphetamine. The discovery of drugs among freight shipped to the school was first made Tuesday morning, according to the North Slope Borough School District. The district announced the discovery Friday on social media, saying there is no sign that any student food was contaminated.
The Anchorage School District and teachers union reached a tentative contract deal. Here's what it includes.
By Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News 
Union President Tom Klaameyer (at left), district chief academic officer Michael Graham, and superintendent Deena Bishop discuss the tentative agreement. Photo: Tegan Hanlon
The Anchorage School District and the teachers union released more details about the terms of the three-year contract that they tentatively agreed to this week. That contract proposal includes increases to union members' salaries and to the district's contribution toward their health insurance premiums. The proposed pay increase is more than what the school district originally proposed, but less than what the union asked for. The proposal also includes a slew of other new additions, including some to the "academic freedom" portion of the contract such as: Union members may provide their students with additional time for physical activity. The proposed contract also addresses increasing collaboration with teachers about changes to classroom practices and programs. The contract, however, isn't yet a done deal.
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
Delta/Greely School District 
The Board of Education of the Delta/Greely  School District is conducting a search for a Superintendent. The successful candidate will be community oriented and willing to become an active and integral part of the Delta/Greely communities. S/he will keep the success of all students in the forefront of all decisions. The successful individual will have a strong background in fiscal management as well as familiarity of special educational best practices.  Candidates with demonstrated ability to lead a veteran team and board are highly desirable. 

Projected Search Timetable  
The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) is conducting the search. 
All applications will be acknowledged. The Board will review all applications and select a limited number of candidates to interview onsite. 
  • Closing date for all application material: January 31, 2019.  
  • Interviews for finalists conducted in the district: Week of March 4, 2019 
  • New superintendent begins work: July 1, 2019. 
The following items must accompany all applications:
  • Confidential placement file including academic transcripts
  • Confidential AASB reference forms (available online)
  • Cover letter 
  • Current resume
  • Copy of Alaska Type B Certificate with a superintendent endorsement OR verification that the candidate has the necessary credentials to obtain such certification
Application Materials should be sent to:
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St., Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 463-1660  
More Information:
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