Dear ASD Community,

Happy April! 

As we progress through the fourth quarter, I am committed to keeping the District’s focus on our Board goals and guardrails. If you are not familiar with these goals and guardrails, I encourage you to take a few moments to review them here. Our goals are centered around improving reading and math proficiency and ensuring students graduate with essential life skills to be college, career, and life ready. The guardrails are based on the community’s values and are aligned with the vision and goals. Guardrails are akin to “bumpers” put in place to make sure we are on track to meet our goals. 

Some of my current priorities include a seamless move of all 6th graders to middle school in the 2024-25 school year, the implementation of a new K-3 ELA curriculum that is in line with the science of reading, and a proposal to expand our professional learning communities. Districtwide, these are all opportunities to help students thrive and give staff the tools they need to develop professionally and become even stronger educators.

I am also closely tracking conversations in Juneau related to school funding and I am hopeful a positive change will happen. I do want to manage the expectations around what an increase in funding means. With the rising cost of healthcare, labor, and maintenance, ASD will operate in a deficit even with a funding increase. Our best case scenario puts us near the status quo. 

On a related note, I’m pleased to share that, next week, I will begin my coursework for a certificate in education finance from the Georgetown University Edunomics Lab. The Edunomics Lab does great work in helping districts and school boards conceptualize and navigate complex budgetary situations in resource-scarce environments. Thank you to the Edunomics Lab for offering me a full scholarship. 

As we reach the tail end of our school year and families begin to plan for summer, I’m excited to share ASD will once again offer summer learning opportunities to our students who would benefit the most from extended learning. Read through this newsletter for more information. 

Lastly, graduations are around the corner, and I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our seniors. I want to recognize our families, teachers, principals, and staff for doing whatever it takes to support our seniors through this important milestone. 

Have a fantastic weekend! 

Jharrett Bryantt, Ed.D.
Anchorage School District
Testing now: AK STAR helpful tips
ASD students in grades three through 10 are currently participating in AK STAR, with an end date of April 14.

AK STAR, the Alaska System of Academic Readiness, is comprised of English language arts and mathematics, and is administered to students in grades 3 through 9. The Alaska Science Assessment is administered to students in grades 5, 8, and 10. The purpose of a large-scale, summative assessment is to provide parents and schools an overall picture of a student’s progress in meeting the Alaska standards at grade level.

How to prepare your student for a great test day:

Parents can locate resources for AK STAR test and the Alaska Science Assessment, including directions for Student Readiness (Practice Tests and Tutorials), student testing times and general assessment information on the ASD website at

Parents can also help by ensuring their children are well rested, eat a nutritious breakfast, and are at school on time for the days of testing. Please avoid scheduling appointments on your child’s testing days. 
Discover Summer: Learning never stops
Learning never stops - and summer is an excellent time to expand and improve students’ educational experiences!

This year, ASD is rolling out a variety of Pre-K through high school summer learning options designed to stretch students’ minds, build upon strengths, and learn new things.

ASD 2023 Summer Learning programs will take place during the month of June, with some options continuing into July. All programs are free for participating students. 
School Start Time: Research, potential changes, and survey results
Nearly 10,000 responses were received to the school start time changes survey. Thank you to everyone who participated in the town halls.

During the April 3 School Board work session Shannon Bingham with Western Demographics, Inc. presented the survey results.
The Anchorage School District appreciates the support around the bond that focuses on security and safety upgrades. The District appreciates the support around the bond this year. Unofficial results are available on the MOA page here . Official election results are published after election certification by the Anchorage Assembly.​ The District will have more information to share regarding the bond in the next newsletter.
Fighting Fentanyl: New ASD partnership to help families
The Anchorage School District has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alaska Response Project to develop an outreach plan for students and families about what they need to know about Fentanyl. The District has received reports of Fentanyl usage in the community, including several recent incidents of possible student usage. Like all things that happen in our community, it eventually impacts ASD. 

According to the DEA, Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that is being pressed into fake pills or cut into heroin, cocaine, and other street drugs to drive addiction. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin.  

ASD’s commitment to fentanyl awareness  
The District currently has Narcan nasal spray emergency kits in the nurse's office of every school site. 
Fentanyl awareness presentations to students have already begun in some high schools and are currently part of 8th grade health and high school health curriculum. 

This month, all ASD principals will take part in Fentanyl awareness training sponsored by community partners. The training will include a documentary video, Dead On Arrival, that is free for the public to view through There will be a Q&A session for principals that will cascade into resources available for their use. 

How to have family conversations around the seriousness of Fentanyl 
The following resources are available to help parents and caregivers have open and honest communication with their children: 
April is the Month of the Military Child
Join us in recognizing our military-connected children this April during the Month of the Military Child (MOMC). These amazing kids are strong, brave, proud, global. We celebrate their selflessness and sacrifice as they serve our country as part of a military family, not just in April, but all year long.

Alaska’s News Source Meteorologist Melissa Frey recently visited the following schools to discuss the science of weather with ASD students:

Airport Heights Elementary School
Shine Bright: Spring has sprung at ASD!
Klatt Elementary hydroponics garden yields greens, student love for STEM
Fourth graders at Klatt Elementary School harvested greens from their  hydroponics station on Thursday, March 30.

This project started in January when they received their Hydroponics unit. The students in grades K through six were part of the entire process. Klatt has one commercial hydroponics unit and each classroom has a min hydroponics unit. 

The hydroponics station came through a grant with Green Our Planet, which aims to teach students to love and care for our planet through comprehensive STEM school garden and hydroponics programs throughout the United States. Gardens are used to create an understanding of life on earth and our place in the universe.  

The Green Our Planet program comes with a full STEM curriculum. The hydroponic gardens provide a natural laboratory for students to learn STEM, conversations, nutrition, and financial literacy in a hands-on, experimental way.

-Kelsey Deiman-Szymanski, principal, Klatt Elementary School
Pictured above: Klatt Elementary School Principal Kelsey Deiman-Szymanski (left) and Klatt Elementary Instructional Coach Denice Pranger serve salad made from the lettuce students harvested from the school hydroponics station.
Place your King Tech plant shop order
The King Tech Nursery Farm & Food students are here to help get your garden ready for summer! Their plant sale is now open for pre-orders until supplies sell out.

Sale dates: 

May 3 to 5 and May 8 to May 10
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily

Order pick-up will be in the Wendler Middle School eastern parking lot.
Countdown to Kindy event happening April 8
ASD will hold a Countdown to Kindergarten event in-person this Saturday, April 8 at 11 a.m. at the Muldoon Library (1251 Muldoon Road, #158, Anchorage, 99504).This is a time for family enjoyment and for kids to practice activities and skills that help with kindergarten readiness! The whole family is invited to join.
The event is free and no registration is required.
Join School Business Partnerships to celebrate businesses who inspire youth
April 11 at 11:30 a.m.

at King Tech High School
2650 E Northern Lights Blvd
in the Meeting Room

The upcoming Spirit of Tomorrow Awards Luncheon hosted by Anchorage School Business Partnerships (SBP) will recognize and celebrate educators, businesses, and schools who inspire youth to pursue their future goals and foster collaboration among schools and businesses in our community.

Join SBP for the Spirit of Tomorrow Awards!
Two Chugiak High School students awarded PLU president's scholarship
Congratulations to Chugiak High School students Maria Girbacea and Jolie Robison, who have been awarded a Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) President's Scholarship.

The President’s Scholarship is one of the top academic and leadership scholarships offered by PLU. Over 400 qualified applicants applied for the university’s top scholarships this year, of which 120 President’s Scholars were selected.

Maria and Jolie were selected based on academic achievement, co-curricular involvement, service, and leadership, as well as potential to effect positive change and leadership in both the academic and co-curricular life of our university. The prestigious President's Scholarship is worth $34,000 per year. This year’s President’s Scholars have a cumulative average weighted GPA of 4.09.
Congratulations to Maria Girbacea and Jolie Robison!
French Consul bestows knighthood upon two ASD staff members
Left photo: Recipients of knighthood in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques: Brandon Locke (left) Anne Adasiak-Andrew (right), and with Consul General Frédéric Jung (center). Photo courtesy of Tam Agosti-Gisler.

Right photo: Students present to the Consul General a poster replicating the French flag that was a composite of their handprints with messages written in French.
O’Malley Elementary was pleased to welcome French Consul General Frédéric Jung on Tuesday, March 21 for a special awards recognition. The French immersion students and staff, as well as the entire school along with community guests, witnessed the presentation of knighthood in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms). This honor was bestowed on ASD staff members Anne Adasiak-Andrew and Brandon Locke for their valuable service in founding and supporting the French Language Immersion program at O’Malley and was presented by the Consul on behalf of the French Republic. The original academic Palms Honors were instituted by Napoleon in 1808. Consul Jung was pleased when the students spontaneously responded to him in French when he was speaking!
5530 E Northern Lights Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99504