Th is is the final issue of Commentary for the 2016-17 school year. We're taking a brief publishing break during June/July and will return in August with a back-to-school issue.
Have a great summer!
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
Lon Garrison, Coordinator for School Improvement
Pete Hoepfner AASB Board President
Aligning Missions to Achieve Shared Goals
25 of AASB's 140 belief statements and resolutions are addressed by Alaska's Education Challenge, which could move many issues deemed important by school board members toward fruition.
4 Minute Read

Alaska's Education Governance Challenge
One portion of the education challenge that has seemed to receive little recognition or attention is effective and focused governance that enables stakeholders to modernize Alaska's education system.
3 Minute Read
Top Public Priorities for Student Well-Being and School Safety
Our Safety and Well Being committee began by looking at the results from DEED's February statewide public survey. Two of the top identified topics included:
Guest Columns
Alaska's Education Challenge: What You Need to Know 
Last April approximately 100  educators, tribal leaders, lawmakers, students and parents gathered at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage to participate in the first meeting of Governor Bill Walker's Alaska's Education Challenge. Their mission: to reevaluate the state's public education system and develop recommendations for transformational change.

T he following guest columns by AEC organizers, presenters and participants describe the goals, process and steps they believe are necessary to successfully transform Alaska's education system. 
Alaska's Future Leaders Need an Excellent Education
By Alaska Governor Bill Walker 
Governor Bill Walker
Achieving excellence in education requires all of us pulling together. As I said in the State of the State, we will meet this challenge by honoring our heritage, innovating for the future, and prioritizing for today's fiscal challenges.

Building a safer, smarter, stronger Alaska is my top priority.

How Do We Transform? Think Big, Stay Student-Centered
By Sue Hull, First Vice-Chair, State Board of Education
Sue Hull
When the State Board of Education began the strategic planning process almost 2 years ago, we knew two things:
1) We had bitten off more than we could chew alone - the public, education stakeholders, the Governor and the Legislature would have to be involved.

2) We knew tinkering around the edges would not be enough to close chronic, debilitating achievement gaps.   

3 Minute Read  

What Dissatisfied, Inspired, Optimistic People Can Do Together
By Dr. Michael Johnson, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Dr. Michael Johnson 
"Here we go again. We've done this before. This could be a gigantic waste of time. All of this hoopla and we really won't accomplish anything. We can't do anything if we are not funded. A lot of talking and not enough doing."

Point taken. Actually, let's take each point. 

12 Minute Read  
Its Called Alaska's Education Challenge for a Good Reason
By Jerry Covey, Managing Partner, JSC Consulting, LLC  
Jerry Covey
In our global economy, jobs and resources follow talent. The countries with education systems that produce the most talented graduates are able to attract resources and opportunities. We are at a crossroads. Our hopes and dreams for our children and our state will not be realized unless we take our education system in a new and purposeful direction.
Student Data Supports Need for Transformative Change
By Brian Laurent, DEED Data Management Supervisor
Brian Laurent
Alaska's system of public education has certainly worked for some students - but not all of them. It is a system with enduring achievement gaps in a state that does not compare favorably to other states. Assessment results, the graduation rate, and chronic absenteeism are just three indicators of the need for transformative change to public education as shaped through Alaska's Education Challenge. 
Board Briefs
Policy Is a Liquid,
Not a Solid
Updating policy is a fluid process that is never done. As soon as updates are ready to go, new ones are already being developed. It is vital for districts to have a policy update and policy review schedule in their bylaws.  1 Minute Read 
What is the process for filling a vacant seat on our board?   
When making an appointment to the Board, the Board desires to draw from the widest possible number of candidates. Our suggested board bylaw 9223 states: 
1 Minute Read
Which Alaska's Education Challenge
priorities does your district need most? 
1) Student Learning
2) Educator Excellence
3) Modernization
4) Tribal & Community Ownership
5) Safety & Well-Being

Take 30 second Poll
Last Month's Snapshot Poll Results
Which Education Funding Plan Do You Think Is Best?
Governor's Plan: Use of the Permanent Fund earnings reserve, combination of revenue streams including taxes, and a budget reduction. 
House Plan: Implementation of an income tax, use of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve, and a budget reduction.
Senate Plan: Use of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve, and budget reductions. 
Students Protest Legislature's Proposed Education Funding Cuts 
By Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Dispatch News, and Robert Woolsey, KCAW radio 
Sitka Student Protest
Photo: Jennifer McNichol
On May 5, about 460 middle and high school students in Fairbanks and North Pole walked out of their classes to rally against proposed cuts to education funding they say would eliminate school programs, teacher jobs, and music and arts classes , reported the Alaska Dispatch News.

Following the lead of Fairbanks and North Pole students, Sitka High School students staged a peaceful walkout on May 11 to protest the proposed cuts. "I'm so proud of our students, making their voices heard at a critical time," said Jennifer McNichol, Sitka School Board Vice-President. The event was covered by Sitka radio station KCAW. 
Former State Representative and School Board Member Moses Paukan, Sr. Passes Away 
Moses Paulkan, Sr.
On May 9, Governor Bill Walker ordered all state flags be lowered in honor of former Representative Moses Paukan, Sr., who passed away on Sunday, April 16.

"Representative Paukan was a respected leader and representative," Governor Walker said. "His service both in the legislature and throughout his community showed the commitment and dedication of a true public servant."
Lake and Peninsula School District Switches to Subsistence Calendar
By Lawrence Hamilton, KDLG radio
Superintendent Ty Mase     (left) discusses the subsistence calendar
The Lake and Peninsula School District is comprised of nine schools in a district almost the size of West Virginia and with very few roads. A lot of things are unique in this part of the state, but one thing it shares with the rest of Alaska is the struggle to remain financially viable in the face of dwindling revenues from the state. For the families in these villages, ranging from Clark Point in the north to Perryville in the south, subsistence is a way of life.
2017 Alaska School Climate and Connectedness Survey Results Released
2017 Student SCCS report
School districts who participated in this year's School Climate and Connectedness Survey have received their final results! We listened to feedback-districts wanted earlier results, and shorter and more user-friendly reports. In response, we partnered with Panorama Education, to design and implement an interactive survey platform to provide clear and actionable reports.
Funding Alert: Youth Development and Culture Grant
RurAL CAP Youth Development and Culture Grant is open to all rural Alaska communities
Kiana youth leads workshop at a Kiana youth conference
Deadline: Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm ADST
Project Timeline: July 5, 2017 - November 30, 2017
The RurAL CAP Youth Development and Culture Grant Program provides grant funding to community-based organizations to engage Alaska Native youth ages 12-17 in youth leadership development, culture camps or cultural identity projects. RurAL CAP anticipates funding 5 projects up to $8,000. Tribal and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in rural Alaskan communities are eligible to apply.
More Info - 1 Minute Read
Kodiak Board Honors June Nelson Scholarship Recipient
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.
Valdez City Schools seeks Principal
Valdez City Schools is looking for qualified applicants for the position of Principal at Valdez High School. The deadline for applications is Monday, June 5th, at 3:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. Please see the job description for more details regarding the qualifications, responsibilities, and desired traits. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Superintendent Jim Nygaard at 907-834-4701.
Yupiit School District Seeks Business Manager
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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