We hope you had a great summer !
     Welcome to a new school year!  

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
Answers to questions we're frequently asked
Timi Tullis, AASB Associate Executive Director
Why Do School Board Members Serve?
I stand in awe of the countless hours school board members spend to govern their districts. You worry about your budget, you angst over contract negotiations, and many of you have elections just around the corner. So why do you do it?
3 Minute Read >
Does the board approve hiring of new personnel?
Unless there's an exceptionally good reason, the board does not involve itself in the actual "hiring" of school personnel. The board's main role is to understand the parameters and necessity of the position and to...
AASB Board Sets Five New Long Range Goals  
During its summer meeting the AASB board went through a full day reviewing our Long Range Plan. The board dug deep into what AASB does for the state of Alaska and our students.
How Digital Publishing Connects Students to their Culture, Empowers Teachers, and Engages Communities    
By Steve Nelson, AASB Project Coordinator
Yukon-Koyukuk School District's
digital book collection
It's estimated that some of Alaska's Native languages have fewer than 100 fluent speakers left, placing them at risk of being lost. This urgency has sparked statewide efforts to make Alaska Native languages more accessible to younger generations. To assist in these efforts, AASB has partnered with the Yukon-Koyukuk School District to facilitate the production of 30 interactive digital books highlighting the language, culture, and customs of communities within the district.
AASB Summer Activities
AASB Participates in Culturally Responsive Education Conference 
AASB staff attended and presented at the Our Cultural Landscape conference.
Our Cultural Landscape, hosted by the Sealaska Heritage Institute, sought to "provide educators and administrators with a deep understanding of culturally responsive education and equip them to transform their classrooms, pedagogy, and curriculum to fully support all students' success." The three-day conference featured nationally known speakers and over 50 breakout sessions. AASB staff presented sessions on cultural safety, trauma engaged school practices, and culturally responsive social and emotional learning.
AASB Staff Helps Rebuild "Project Playground" Park 
Juneau's Project Playground was originally constructed in 2007 as a collaborative building project by Juneau residents. In 2017, one month before its 10-year anniversary, it was completely destroyed by an arson fire. Since then, over $300,000 in donated funds have been raised, and an army of local volunteers are helping to rebuild the playground. In August, AASB staff took an afternoon off to pitch in.
Lisa Worl pre-drills fastener holes.
Lori Grassgreen and Emily Ferry mark lumber to be used for structural components.
Claudia Plesa delivers a load of pickets for playground equipment safety railings.
Konrad Frank assists in the construction of a peaked roof for the Ice Castle turret.
C-SPAN Bus Visits Alaska to Promote Education
The C-SPAN Education Bus
The C-SPAN Education Bus is visiting all 50 state capitals as part of a 14-month tour. Its purpose is to conduct interviews with educators, students, elected officials and viewers about issues that are important in their state, as well as host exhibits, and provide education about C-SPAN's online public service multimedia resources. This summer the bus made stops in Juneau, Haines, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. AASB staff joined state and local leaders, educators, and citizens in visiting the C-SPAN bus to discuss Alaska education issues and learn about available student and teacher resources. 
Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott toured the C-SPAN bus during its Juneau stop.
AASB's Timi Tullis being interviewed in the C-SPAN bus television studio.
Partner Spotlight
What is STEPS?  
The Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise Southeast Alaska (STEPS Alaska) project is one of the numerous partnerships in which AASB is involved. The project includes five school districts, tribes, state agencies, non-profit organizations, and the University of Alaska in Juneau, Sitka, Hoonah, Angoon, Hydaburg, and Klukwan. Its goal is to work with schools, families, and communities to improve educational outcomes for all kids in Southeast.
STEPS Partner Meeting
A July gathering of STEPS partners was hosted by AASB Alaska ICE staff to evaluate progress and plan for the year ahead. Work groups discussed data collection, early childhood, post-secondary transition, superintendent perspectives and family engagement.
Tlingit Rap Video
STEPS partners are working toward integrating culture into our education systems. One of the ways Tlingit & Haida did this was to work with kids to create a Tlingit language rap music video. Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan (I Love You, My People) was produced by tribal citizen youth with the support of Tlingit & Haida.
Cultural Connections   
Strengthen Students 
Hoonah Superintendent Ralph Watkins was recently featured on KTOO's "AK" radio program. He spoke eloquently about the strength that kids can draw upon when they feel connected to their culture.

Pre-K Grant Program Applications to be Announced by DEED 
A onetime increment of $6 million dollars to be expended over two fiscal years (FY18-19 and FY19-20) has been added to the statewide Pre-K program. An application for these onetime funds is being completed and DEED will announce the release of this application in the next few weeks. Questions about Early Learning programs? Supanika Ackerman or Kristen Spencer.  
Coaches Needed 
Girls on the Run and Boys Run in Juneau are looking for coaches. There is an  information meeting on Thursday August 16th at AWARE's prevention office. Boys Run in Sitka is also looking for coaches. Girls on the Run inspires girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind. Boys Run teaches boys skills needed to create healthy relationships and a community of respect for self and others. 
Weiss Named Interim Superintendent  
As Director of Student Services Dr. Bridget Weiss was deeply engaged in making many of the STEPS-related goals happen. This month Bridget was selected as interim Superintendent for the Juneau School District. Weiss, who has been in her position since 2014, will replace departing Superintendent Mark Miller. Congratulations Bridget!    
Juneau Empire story >

Guest Columns
Dr. Michael Johnson
One of the helpful aspects associated with the public school calendar is an opportunity for a fresh start. The triumphs and trials of the previous year give way to the excitement and anticipation of the new. It is a unique opportunity for adjusting our sails and reaffirming our destination toward an excellent education for every single Alaskan student. As we begin the 2018-2019 school year, I will let our vision statement for Alaska's public education system speak for itself. 
University of Alaska, Helping to Elevate the Teaching Profession
By Steve Atwater, Ph.D., Executive Dean, Alaska College of Education, University of Alaska
Dr. Steve Atwater
As another school year begins, districts across Alaska have teaching vacancies. In response, principals are creatively filling these gaps with long-term subs, retired teachers, paraprofessionals and post-baccalaureate UA students enrolled in teaching preparation programs and working with provisional licenses. There is then, a pressure on school districts to recruit more teachers and on the University of Alaska to prepare more teachers. Both K-12 and the University of Alaska are responding to this pressure by improving their recruitment strategies and by supporting teachers in the early stages of their career.
Making Connections Across Alaska - Sister School Exchange Now Recruiting 
By Kari Lovett, Program Manager, Alaska Humanities Forum Sister School Exchange
Kari Lovett
Strengthening communities by connecting Alaskans is what the Alaska Humanities Forum strives to do through its Sister School Exchange program, which is currently recruiting for the upcoming year. This year-long school program matches a teacher and five students from an urban community with a teacher and five students from a rural community. The culminating experiences happen when the teams meet face-to-face when they take turns visiting and hosting their Sister School community.
"May You Live In Interesting Times ..." The Janus Decision of the United States Supreme Court
By John Sedor of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 
John Sedor
Part five of a five-part part series on union issues in schools.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturning one of its long-time precedents is as unique as finding a yeti out in the Bristol Bay area or, for at least some parts of South Central this summer, finding a king salmon! And yet, it happens. On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 40+ year precedent (its 1977 decision in Abood) that allowed unions and public employers to agree to "agency fees," fees paid by unit members who did not join the union and who did not authorize the deduction.
5 Minute Read >    
More from Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC:
Essential Guidelines for School District Boards
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
Follow these essential guidelines of parliamentary procedure to take the pain out of your meetings, hold productive discussions, and serve your school community better. 
Start a Career in Less Than a Year
By Roz Kirkelie, Publications Specialist, AVTEC-Alaska Vocational Technical Center
Roz Kirkelie
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. 
Join AASB In Fairbanks for our annual Fall Boardsmanship Academy!

This is an opportunity to connect with school board members from around the state as the school year begins. Attendees will:
  • Hear an update from the UAS Alaska College on Education
  • Learn about k-12 outreach programs to support Alaska's teachers
  • Hear how districts are implementing personalized learning and language programs.
Alaska School Safety & Well-Being Summit, September 18-19

The Department of Education and Early Development is hosting a comprehensive statewide School Safety & Well-Being Summit, September 18-19, 2018 at the Egan Center in Anchorage. Each district will receive funding up to $4,300 to bring in a team of six that may include administrators, teachers, school counselors, parents, students, community members, and school board members. Deadline to register: Friday, August 31, 2018 by 5:00 pm. For more information please contact Sharon Fishel.
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.
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.

Summer News Summary
Gov. Walker Signs Parish's Education Bill
By James Brooks, Juneau Empire      
Rep. Justin Parrish
In a Friday ceremony in Fairbanks' Lathrop High School, Gov. Bill Walker signed four education-related bills into law. Among the four was House Bill 213, the sole prime-sponsored bill from Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau, to become law this session. HB 213, when fully implemented, will turn the state's public school trust fund (worth more than $600 million) into a smaller version of the Alaska Permanent Fund, generating millions of dollars per year for public education. 
Governor Signs Legislation Increasing Flexibility for School Districts
By Drew Cason, Alaska Native News     
Rep. John Lincoln
Gov. Bill Walker signed legislation sponsored by Rep. John Lincoln (D-Kotzebue) to give Alaska school districts more time and flexibility to provide the local match required under the School Construction Grant Program. House Bill 135 loosens the existing three-year deadline, which can now be extended by the Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development to a maximum of seven years. "We have seen districts around the state struggle to meet the three-year deadline for local match, especially in districts off the road system working with multiple levels of government and facing complex project logistics," said Rep. Lincoln.
With Few School Buses, LKSD Turns To Kusko Cab To Transport Students  
By Teresa Cotsirilos, KYUK 
Photo: Dean Swope, KYUK
After parting ways with a long-time contractor, the Lower Kuskokwim School District doesn't have nearly enough school buses for the city's students. Administrators are scrambling to find transportation for them, and they're proposing that many children take taxis to school instead. 
  3 Minute Read >
Here's How the Anchorage School District Superintendent Wants to Change School Start Times
West High School students stream toward buses after the school day ends.
Photo: Marc Lester
Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop wants high school and middle school students to start classes later and elementary school students to begin their days earlier. Under her recommendation, presented to the Anchorage School Board, no Anchorage public school student would have class before 8 a.m.
Bishop's recommendation follows about a year of board discussion, community surveys and a consultant-led study of the start time issue.
2 Minute Read >
Fairbanks Education Receives a Positive Start to the School Year     
By Julia Laude, Webcenter11.com   
Photo: webcenter11.com
Members of the community joined together yesterday in support of our local schools, for the annual 'Positive Picketing for Teachers' event at Lathrop high school. It was a special day for Fairbanks education. Residents from all over the borough joined together to give teachers a VIP entrance to the school year, having fun along the way.
Education College Launched with Aim to Produce More Alaskan Teachers
By Elwood Bremer, Alaska Journal of Commerce
UA President Jim Johnson. Photo: James Brooks
Alaska's higher education leaders are overhauling their operations in an effort to ultimately improve the outcomes of the state's youngest students. The University of Alaska System debuted its College of Education this month, which system President Jim Johnsen hopes will provide better structure to teacher education programs statewide and eventually help the UA produce more homegrown teachers to fill vacancies in school districts statewide.
Ketchikan High School Wins State Academic Decathlon Competition
By Leila Kheiry, KRBD 
Ketchikan High School's Academic Decathlon team. Photo: Alaska Academic Decathlon
Ketchikan High School's Academic Decathlon team won the state championship in Anchorage. Coach Peter Stanton said this is the first year Ketchikan's team won at state. "We weren't counting on it, but we definitely felt that after the results last year, where there were a lot of juniors on the team who were very hard-working, high-scoring, passionate - and then getting second place last year, we definitely felt like we had a chance to win it all this year," Stanton said.  
3 Minute Read > 
By Abigail Bliss, Daily Sitka Sentinal    
Photo: Alaska Marine Highway
Seventeen-year-old Joei Vidad is a three-sport athlete at Sitka High School who estimates she missed more than 30 days of school this year competing for the Wolves. The incoming senior is on Sitka High's basketball, volleyball, and track and field teams, and told the Sentinel that these extracurricular activities are a core part of her high school experience, enhanced by the "fun and competitive" trips to high schools throughout the state that they include. As for how much school her three sports require her to miss? "I feel like there's too many school days to count," she said, laughing.
Alaska Teachers File Suit over NEA-Alaska Labor Union Agency Fees
By Noddy A. Fernandez, Legal NewsLine
Six current and former teachers in Alaska have filed a suit against a labor union over paying agency fees.
Tracy Crockett, Kathryn McCollum, David Nees, Carol Carman, Dolores McKee and Donn Liston, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Aug. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska against NEA-Alaska; Matanuska-Susitna Education Association, et al., citing the Declaratory Judgment Act.
2 Minute Read >
Longtime School Board Member Sets Sights on Valley House Seat  
By Adelyn Baxter, KTOO      
Andi Story
Andi Story's world revolved around schools for 15 years. Now, the Democrat hopes to represent the Mendenhall Valley's District 34 in the Alaska House of Representatives. At a recent campaign fundraiser, the homemaker and mother of three talked about being the child and parent of educators. She decided to run for school board after her second child started school. "I've always known the value of education," Story said. "But when my daughter, Mallory, was in kindergarten, she had 29 kids in her class and I wanted to vote on the budget." And vote she did. The past 15 years on the board, Story spent much of the time working on budgets.
3 Minute Read >
Juneau School Board Member Will Not Seek Re-Election
By James Brooks, Juneau Empire      
 Josh Keaton
School board member Josh Keaton will not run for re-election, he announced by email Thursday, making him the second of two incumbents to drop out of this year's school board contest. Speaking by phone, Keaton confirmed his decision and said it was a matter of work-life balance. As demands have increased at work, he needed to decide between spending time with his family or spending time on school board business.
"It really just boils down to balance of work, family - and the school board time required has become challenging," he said. Keaton intends to fulfill the rest of his term.  
3 Minute Read >
Pook, VanCise Make Another Run for Sitka School Board
By Katherine Rose, Raven Radio    
Cass Pook (right)
and Eric VanCise
Two candidates have filed to run for another term on the Sitka School board this fall.  After a year marked by budget constraints, the loss of a full-time school librarian, and the first layoffs of non-tenured teachers the district has ever faced, Cass Pook and Eric VanCise are gearing up for another school board run, knowing there may be more difficult decisions ahead. 
3 Minute Read >
Gaborik Named State Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Karen Gaborik
Lifelong Alaskan, educator and school administrator Dr. Karen Gaborik has been named Alaska's 2019 School Superintendent of the Year. The award is granted by the Alaska Superintendents Association and honors school system leaders who exemplify "effectiveness, knowledge, leadership, ethics and commitment," according to a news release issued by the association Friday. The program is in its 32nd year.  
1 Minute Read >
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
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The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting superintendent searches for over 20 years.
Learn about our Search Services >

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