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.

Norm Wooten, AASB Executive Director
Heather Coulehan, Alaska ICE Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator
Annual Conference Celebrates Service and Excellence
The Annual Conference is the premier event for Alaska's school board members. Three days of professional development on a myriad of topics designed to make you a better board member. The ultimate goal is to enable you to better serve students in your district.
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REGISTER NOW for 65th Annual AASB Conference!
AASB's annual conference and Youth Leadership Institute is an opportunity for Alaska's education leaders to come together for training opportunities, relationship building, and to experience a variety of dynamic events, talks, and sectionals. Keynote speakers: Nick Hanson the "Eskimo Ninja" and Bentham Ohia
Culturally Responsive Embedded Social and Emotional Learning:  
A Comprehensive Approach to Building Skills for Life       
SEL supports children, youth and adults in developing skills for life and school. It reaches beyond classrooms to teach the skills we each need to successfully manage life tasks.
Fall Boardsmanship Academy Recap
By Jenni Lefing, School Climate and Conference Coordinator 
Jenni Lefing
About 50 board members and superintendents gathered in Fairbanks for the Fall Boardsmanship Academy to attend   presentations on teacher recruitment and retention, personalized learning, language programs, and school board roles.
Board Member Profile
Helen Gregorio 
Southwest Region School District Board Member and Tribal Court Clerk 
       Helen Gregorio
Each month Commentary features 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 Helen Gregorio of Southwest Region.
Partner Spotlight
Tlingit Language Lessons in Klukwan
The Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise Southeast Alaska (STEPS Alaska) project is one of the numerous partnerships in which AASB is involved. Through STEPS, AASB works with five school districts (Chatham, Hydaburg, Hoonah, Sitka, and Juneau), schools, families, community partners, tribal organizations, and the University of Alaska to improve educational outcomes for all kids in Southeast by providing support, technical assistance, and communication among partners.

AASB is facilitating community dialogs in Chatham School District communities to gather public input and help establish relationships between partners to determine how their collective work can align. A program offering students Tlingit language lessons is currently underway at Klukwan school thru assistance from Goldbelt, Inc. This program is one area where partners can build upon work already being done with culturally responsive education, Tlingit language restoration and revitalization, and cultural resilience to help mitigate trauma within the community.

Language Immersion Preschool Opens in Hydaburg
Through STEPS funding and other funding alignment
Hydaburg City School has been able to launch a language immersion program for Pre-K students.The X̱ántsii Náay Haida Immersion Preschool celebrated its grand opening on September 12, 2018.  

"Yesterday was a momentous day for Hydaburg. We held the grand opening of our first ever Xaad Kíl immersion pre-school, X̱ántsii Náay," said Hydaburg City School Board President Bonnie Morris. "It was blessed with beautiful weather and I could feel the positive energies. My ancestors were on my mind," she said. "Today the school is filled with 18 children learning our language. Bless their journey."  

Instructors commented on Facebook that the first week of school had been "absolutely amazing." They said, "The students have been speaking Xaad Kíl more and more everyday and were responding to instructions in Xaad Kíl on the very first day. Children learn quickly and we are excited to see what the future holds. Thank you, Háw'aa for everyone who has supported us on this journey. We have been blessed daily by an abundance of donations and volunteers. Our hearts are full, our children are blessed. Háw'aa!"
Xantsii Naay Haida Immersion Preschool Facebook page >

Youth Wellbriety Program
The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, in partnership with the Zach Gordon youth Center, has launched "Navigators," a 12-step wellbriety program for youth ages 13-20. The program uses cultural approaches to recovery. Sessions began on September 26 at the Juneau Vocational Training & Resource Center.
Nominate Students for Presidential Scholars Award  DEED is seeking applications for the 2019 Presidential Scholars program. Alaska may nominate up to 10 male and 10 female exemplary high school seniors in academic areas, and up to 5 exemplary high school seniors pursing Career & Technical Education (CTE) coursework. 
Applicants Sought: U.S. Senate Youth Program  
Two Alaska students will join 104 other delegates in receiving a $10,000 scholarship and paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend an intensive educational program about the Senate and federal government. Eligible students must be high school juniors or seniors, an elected student officer, and state residents. Program Info >  
Guest Columns
Mark Roseberry
The Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education (AK ACTE) is a professional organization that promotes and strengthens career and technical education for workforce development in Alaska. Its values are collaboration, innovation, and networking to provide leadership, advocacy and professional development for its members and partners that ultimately prepares and connects students to skilled, in-demand and livable wage careers. Our upcoming annual professional development conference, October 22-24, 2018 at the Captain Cook in Anchorage, is our capstone event for providing professional development to CTE educators across Alaska. 
Alaska Staff Development Network is a New Code.org Regional Partner! 
By Cheryl Bobo, Alaska Regional Program Manager, Code.org
Cheryl Bobo
A new partnership between Code.org, the Alaska Staff Development Network, and the Alaska Council of School Administrators seeks to expand access to high-quality professional learning for educators interested in teaching computer science in schools throughout Alaska. Computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, collaboration and creativity. These skills will open doors in every  field. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. 
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Giving Up Control: How To Make Leadership Teams Work For You
By Bob Thompson, Education Consultant, Expect Educational Excellence
Bob Thompson
There is a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure that comes with the job of being a school principal. Because of this responsibility and pressure, the natural urge of most administrators is to maintain tight control over decision-making. After all, the buck stops at the principal's desk, no matter what happens. Giving up control, however, can lead to better outcomes when it empowers other staff members to step up to the plate and take some ownership over decision-making.
University of Alaska Southeast, Dual Enrollment and Career Pathways in High Schools!
By Reid Brewer, Ph.D., Professor / Program Director, Fisheries Technology, University of Alaska Southeast
Reid Brewer
For many looking for post-secondary education, a traditional four year college seems like the natural choice. As the cost of education and the lack of skilled tradespeople continues to rise, technical school is quickly becoming a more appealing option. The Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) is the only statewide post-secondary vocational training center operated by the State of Alaska; and strives to provide students with career-focused training that can be applied in the modern Alaska workforce. 
4 Bad Habits to Avoid at School Board Meetings
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
There are a number of "urban myths" about Robert's Rules of Order that can get in the way of democratic process for your school board. If your body avoids these bad habits, congratulations! If these errors happen at your meetings, however, you might want to bring them to the attention of your colleagues to straighten them out - in a pleasant way, of course!
"Panic is not a Plan: Crisis Communications for School Districts"
By Clint Campion of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 
Clint Campion
Part one of a series on Interacting with the Outside World - School District Style.
In this installment, we focus on recommendations to ensure that school districts are prepared to communicate during a crisis. School shootings. Teachers charged for inappropriate interactions with students. Cyberbullying. Bus accidents. It seems that when we turn on the news, there is almost always a story about a school district in a crisis situation somewhere in our country. These crises arise when a school district least expects them, so it is critical for districts to have a crisis communications plan.
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Partner & Exhibitor Registration for AASB 65th Annual Conference
AASB invites you to partner with us at our annual conference as an exhibitor or sponsor. You will network with over 350 attendees, including school board members, superintendents, district staff, and more.

The 2018 Annual Conference will be held  November 8-11, 2018 at the Anchorage Hilton.

Register today to secure your exhibit space. We look forward to seeing you there!

REMINDER: Register Now for the 2019 Alaska School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS)!

Join the over 30 Alaska school districts who collect and use school climate data each year to improve and strengthen your schools' environment, relationships, and connections between students, staff, & families.

SCCS's interactive survey platform makes survey administration, reporting, and analysis interactive and user-friendly. Participating districts also receive:
  • Free webinars and training support to oversee survey administration, and how to use the interactive platform.
  • Support on how to use survey results includes on-site workshops or video conferences led by AASB staff.
Districts choose a two-week window between January 18 - March 22 to take the survey.
AASB Maintenance Employee Conference
October 17-18
Topics include risk management, fuel handling, motorized vehicle safety, ice and snow, facilities, air quality, hazardous waste, generators, communication with administration and the board, and more!

The AASB Maintenance Employee Conference will be held October 17-18, 2018 at the Lakefront Anchorage.

Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference - Call for Presenters!
Presenter Request Deadline: October 13, 2018 - 10:00 am Alaska time

The Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference (ASSEC) is committed to providing high quality professional development relevant to the cultural, rural, and remote characteristics of our great state. ASSEC has provided ongoing professional development to Alaskan special educators, administrators, paraprofessionals, and families for more than 20 years. By inviting nationally recognized speakers, as well as knowledgeable local experts in the areas of disabilities and education, ASSEC has become a highly anticipated event within the field of special education in Alaska. By supporting Alaskan special education professionals and paraprofessionals, ASSEC also provides an indirect but great benefit to Alaskan students with special needs and their families.
Alaska School Health & Wellness Institute, October 29-31 
The Institute began in 2006 as a collaboration between the Departments of Education and Early Development and Health and Social Services to provide school staff with the skills and resources to develop local school district wellness policies. Conference attendees include teachers, school nurses, school administrators, community health and education professionals, school counselors and anyone working with school or student health.

Coaching Boys Into Men training,  
October 29th

The Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault  (CDVSA) will host an abbreviated 1-day Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) training on October 29th as a School Health and Wellness Institute pre-conference event in Anchorage.

Scholarships are available and priority will be given to Coaches who have received training in the past and are in need of a refresher, school administrators and/or athletic directors and coaches new to the program who wish to implement this 2018/2019 school year. CDVSA will cover coaches/administrators travel/lodging and per diem. A full 2-day, CBIM training will be held in Juneau during the week of April 16-20 (dates TBD).
Download an application at the link below. Email completed application to  Ann Rausch for approval.

Gov. Walker declares emergency for Native languages
By Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News  
Gov. Walker signs emergency order on Native languages. Photo: Office of the Governor
Gov. Bill Walker has declared an emergency for Alaska Native languages, aiming to promote and preserve all 20 recognized indigenous languages in the state.
The order signed this week directs the state education commissioner to work with partners to promote indigenous languages in public education. It also directs the state to use traditional Alaska Native place names on public signs. The order instructs state commissioners to designate a tribal liaison tasked with producing a plan to boost collaboration with Alaska Native partners.  
The governor's order was prompted by a report this year by the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council, warning that the languages could become extinct by the century's end. The Legislature also passed a resolution in April urging the governor to make such a declaration.
2 Minute Read >
Anchorage School District begins Yup'ik language immersion program
By Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media   
Lorina Warren teaches her Yup'ik immersion kindergarten class
Photo: Wesley Early
The Anchorage School District has immersion programs in languages like German, Spanish and Japanese. But until recently, there were no immersion programs for Alaska Native languages. A kindergarten class in Anchorage has taken the first step in a Yup'ik program this week, with plans to continue all the way through high school graduation. 
In Lorina Warren's kindergarten class at College Gate Elementary, students are learning the first letter of the Yup'ik alphabet: A (pronounced like ah).  
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Facebook Adds Alaska's Inupiaq as Language Option
By Associated Press      
Britt'Nee Brower
Photo: Associated Press
Britt'Nee Brower grew up in a largely Inupiat Eskimo town in Alaska's far north, but English was the only language spoken at home. Today, she knows a smattering of Inupiaq from childhood language classes at school in the community of Utqiagvik. Brower even published an Inupiaq coloring book last year featuring the names of common animals of the region. But she hopes to someday speak fluently by practicing her ancestral language in a daily, modern setting.
For the second year in a row, more than half of Alaska students fail to meet grade-level standards
By Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News      
More than half of Alaska's public school students who took this year's standardized tests failed to meet grade-level standards in English language arts, math and science, according to results released Wednesday by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
This year's results, however, are a slight improvement over last year. Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson said in an interview he was pleased that this year's statewide results showed "incremental growth."
Fairbanks, state K-12 test scores show gradual improvement    
By Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 
Photo: Robin Wood
Students in Fairbanks and in the rest of Alaska did a little better last spring on standardized tests designed to gauge knowledge in mathematics, science, English language arts.But the scores show that fewer than half of students in Fairbanks and in Alaska in grades three through nine are considered proficient in math and English language arts.
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School district sees rise in homeless students
By Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion 
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has seen a 42-percent increase in their Students in Transition program from this time last year. The 16-year-old program provides services to homeless students and students no longer in the custody of their parent or legal guardian. As of Sept. 12, there have been 98 students referred to the program. There were 69 students identified at this time last year. 
Anchorage School District and teachers union reach stalemate in contract negotiations, agree to federal mediator       
By Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
Teachers participate in an"informational picket" outside Anchorage School District headquarters.
Photo: Bill Roth, ADN
The Anchorage School District and the teachers union that represents about 3,300 of the city's educators have reached a stalemate in contract negotiations. They agreed Thursday night, after about four hours of bargaining, to bring in a federal mediator to help.

"We're kind of deadlocked," said Tom Klaameyer, head of the union, the Anchorage Education Association. "We're at the point where it feels like we're just spinning our wheels. We're both saying the same things and we're both not satisfied with the movement of the other side, so we're getting nowhere." Both sides said they're hopeful to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator. But they remain at odds over a list of items.
Six Anchorage School Board members were split Monday night over whether to approve a 2019-20 school calendar that would extend Thanksgiving break by three days and move the first day of school three days earlier. The board pushed a decision to its meeting Oct. 8. "There are a lot of people that were counting on us to pass a calendar at this meeting," Starr Marsett, board president, said after the board rejected the proposed calendar in a 3-3 vote. 
Kodiak school district moves to close Larsen Bay School
By Associated Press, KTUU Channel 2  
Larsen Bay School
Kodiak Island School District officials have decided to close Larsen Bay School for the 2018-19 school year. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education made the decision during a Tuesday meeting. The board is also discussing the impending closure of Karluk School, which currently has seven students enrolled. Superintendent Larry LeDoux says unlike other school districts in the state, the Kodiak Island school district tries to continue providing services at a school even if it has less than 10 students.
1 Minute Read >  
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
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