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

Norm Wooten, AASB Executive Director

Timi Tullis, Director,
Board Development & Field Services
Pete Hoepfner,
AASB Board President

Conduct and Ethics in a Charged Social Climate
While wondering what causes a person to betray public trust, it occurred to me that it's been awhile since I reviewed AASB's Board Standards.
Ten Items Every Board Member Should Have at Their Fingertips
Having easy access to the things on this list will help board members in their work to make schools the best that they can be.
Trauma: A Barrier to Student Achievement
All school boards want to increase student achievement. Over the past few years, one barrier has been identified that inhibits success: Trauma.
By Rey Jacob Roy, Public Relations Officer, Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG), Kodiak High School
Rey Jacob Roy
You open the doors. You find a student body 300 strong cheering their hearts out. The noise is overwhelming at first; however, you find yourself chanting just as loud as the feeling of coming home washes over you. The Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG) consists of about 150 member schools across Alaska. One word that only begins to describe the AASG community is "passionate." 
Board President of Bering Strait School District and Dental Health Aide Therapist who provides services to villages throughout the Bering Strait region.
Aurora Johnson
Photo Credit: KNOM
Each month Commentary will feature a different board member's story, as told in their own words. Many dedicated Alaskans from all walks of life have chosen to support their communities and youth by serving on a local school board. There is inspiration and fellowship in learning how a person's culture, life events, personal philosophies, influential teachers, or career choices have motivated them to serve. This month we profile Aurora Johnson of Bering Strait School District.  
Guest Columns
The Importance of the Positive and Beneficial Impact of Tribal Education  
By Willie Kasayulie, Board President, Yupiit School District 
Willie Kasayulie
Photo Credit: Alaska
Dispatch News
Many of the administrators and educators that are imported into rural schools have little or no knowledge of the culture and history of the people they serve. There are some long serving superintendents, principals, and teachers, that have made a positive impact on the students they serve and who have contributed to their success in both Yupiaq and the western worlds. However, too often the negatives are publicized and the extraordinary successes are not celebrated.
Link to Willie Kasayulie's "Speak Your Mind" column in the Delta Discovery 
Peaks Results Are an Opportunity to Increase Our Sense of Urgency and Commitment to Excellence  
By Rob Picou, Superintndent, Lower Yukon School District 
Rob Picou
The Lower Yukon School District is responding to our PEAKS results by sincerely listening to our parents, grandparents, and community leaders and encouraging a shared responsibility for student learning. We are holding Collective Community Impact meetings in all ten communities. In Hooper Bay, we had over 100 parents, educators, tribal leaders, community leaders, and elders in a three-hour small group discussion about education. 
Teacher Turnover Costs Alaska $20 Million Each Year 
By Dr. Dayna Jean DeFeo, Senior Research Associate, Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR), Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)
Dr. Dayna Jean DeFeo
Teacher shortages and high rates of teacher turnover have recently gained media attention, and are especially challenging issues in Alaska. Between 2004 and 2014, district-level teacher turnover in rural Alaska averaged 20% per year, and about a dozen districts experienced annual turnover rates higher than 30%. Though urban districts have lower teacher turnover rates, they also have challenges with teacher recruitment and retention. 
Why Do Teachers Leave?  
By Sarah Sledge, Executive Director, Coalition for Education Equity
Sarah Sledge
What are the factors that contribute to teachers loving their jobs? What makes them want to stay in a school district or at a particular school? It's a critical question for us in Alaska as many of our districts continue to see high teacher turnover rates and recruitment of new teachers has become increasingly challenging. The Coalition for Education Equity (CEE) has just launched a pilot study in five Alaska school districts to assess and better understand the factors that contribute to increased employee satisfaction and performance.
On Dignity, and the "Soft Skills" We Must Foster in our Students 
By Dr. Michael Shapiro, Principal, Highland Academy Charter School, Anchorage 
Dr. Michael Shapiro
To the public, standardized test scores are the measure by which schools and students are evaluated. However, students, and indeed schools, should be measured in other ways, as well. Whether it's perseverance, social-emotional intelligence, metacognition, or executive functioning, as educators we recognize that these abilities indicate potential and success as much if not more so than innate intelligence.
Policies & Procedure vs. Employee Handbook
By Carleen Mitchell, Administrative Manager, Alaska Public Entity Insurance
Carleen Mitchell
One of the most valuable tools an employer can have to prevent employment liability claims are comprehensive policies and procedures to guide the organization in all manner of employment practices. Simply stating that the policies exist may not be enough. A well-written employee handbook will communicate key organizational policies in a format that employees are likely to read and understand.
AASB Events
Register Now: Charter School Academy 
October 13-14 at the King Career Center in Anchorage   
AASB is pleased to announce that we will be hosting our 3rd academy for charter school principals and Academic Policy Committee (APC) members. The two day event will be held in Anchorage and will feature a variety of workshops of interest to charter school administrators. Registration will be opening soon.

Register Now: Maintenance Employees Conference 
October 18-19 at the Residence Inn Anchorage Midtown  
AASB and Alaska Public Entity Insurance (APEI) are teaming up to bring you the 4th Annual Maintenance Employees Conference. This 2-day event will focus on school district maintenance issues and safety. It's a great way to learn from experts and your peers and to network with other maintenance folks from across the state.

Register Now: AASB 64th Annual Conference Annual Conference   
November 9-12, 2017 at the Anchorage Hilton  
AASB's Annual Conference is an opportunity for Alaska's education leaders to convene for training opportunities, relationship building, and to experience a variety of dynamic events, talks, and sectionals. This year we look forward to hosting over 300 school board members, students attending the Youth Leadership Institute, speakers and guests in Anchorage. See you there!
What's Your Opinion? Add a Family Survey to the SCCS?
AASB is seeking your input to develop a Family Survey option for  Alaska's School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS), as school districts have requested.
Currently, there are two student surveys (grades 3-5 and grades 6-12) and one staff survey.

Including family perceptions around school climate and connectedness is key to improving students' academic and social outcomes, and improving school climate overall. Adding a family survey option would allow districts to see student, staff, and family perceptions of school climate areas side-by-side.

Please take our short survey and let us know what you think!
Board Briefs
Policy Manual Vanishing Act 
Best practice in policy management has changed with new technology tools. Having one online policy manual to update makes the problem of out-of-date copies go away.  
Why does a superintendent require an Alaska Type B certificate?
While a school board can hire a CEO without the superintendent endorsement, or even a Type B certificate, ... 
1 Minute Read >
How does your district retain good teachers? 
With some Alaska school districts reporting teacher turnover rates as high as 30% annually, which of these incentives make teachers in your district want to stay?
Take 30 second Poll >
Last Month's Snapshot Poll Results
How Accessible is Your District's Policy Manual? 
Our policy manual is online
Our online policy manual is
searchable by word or term
New Pre-K Curriculum Aims to Fight Obesity by Teaching Kids About Subsistence 
By Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Dispatch News  
Head Start Traditional Foods Preschool Curriculum
Preschool students living on Alaska's Aleutian and Pribilof Islands will learn about healthy eating in a new way this year. Instead of looking at pictures of foods often unattainable in the region, such as starfruit, cantaloupe and squash, they will learn how to make the more culturally relevant sea lion meatballs, kelp chips and caribou cabbage
Fairbanks Area Graduation Rate Trending Up
By Amanda Bohman, Faribanks Daily News-Miner 
The graduation rate at the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is inching up, with students identifying as Alaska Native or American Indian experiencing the biggest increase in recent years, school district data shows. Yatibaey Evans, Alaska Native Education director, said more students are getting their diploma and doing so on time due to a combined effort of multiple programs aimed at identifying and helping students at the greatest risk of dropping out.
Skagway School comes out on top in statewide testing, Haines is second 
By Abbey Collins, KHNS  
Skagway City School
For the second time in a couple of years, the Skagway School had the best PEAKS test scores in the state. "It verifies and validates everything that we do on a daily basis with our students," said Josh Coughran, Superintendent of the Skagway School District. "The teachers in the building deserve a ton of credit for this recognition. We can't do it without the really supportive community and also the incredibly generous support that we get from the municipality."
What's Happening In Your District? 
Include Your News in Commentary! 
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
Looking for a New Superintendent?
The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting superintendent searches for over 20 years.
Learn about our Search Services >

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions, Contact Us >
Superintendent - Chatham School District
Angoon, Alaska

Superintendent Opening effective January 1, 2018
Deadline for application October 6, 2017
Please contact Susan Sciabbarrasi, Superintendent of Schools
for more information.
Email Resume to: 
Phone: 907-788-3302
Superintendent - Valdez City Schools
Valdez, Alaska

Superintendent Opening for 2018-2019
Deadline for application Jan 8, 2018
Please contact Jim Nygaard, Superintendent of Schools
for more information.
Phone: 907-835-4357

Business Manager - Yupiit School District
Akiachak, Alaska

Duties and Responsibilities include:
  • Supervises the management of the financial affairs of the schools.
  • Assumes responsibility for budget development and long-range financial planning.
  • Establishes and supervises a program of accounting adequate to record in detail all money and credit transaction.
  • Supervises all accounting operations.
  • Acts a payroll officer for the district
The Board is willing to offer $115,000 DOE for the right applicant. Alaska school finance experience is paramount, as is the ability to work well with Yup'ik people. 
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