Message from our Superintendent:
New Curriculum Launching
Dear ASD Community,

The longer daylight and sunny skies are a welcome site as we head into spring break. Before you begin some much deserved time off, I’m excited to fill you in on the fantastic progress we are making to meet our academic goals. 

During the March 7 Anchorage School Board meeting, the Board voted to approve a new K-3 English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, Amplify Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA), to be implemented in K-3 classrooms this fall.

The new curriculum is the culmination of a grant the District received through the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) to adopt a heavily vetted, research-based curriculum that supports the science of reading. 

This curriculum is an investment in student outcomes. Our current ELA curriculum is set to go out of publishing in the next two years. Moving forward with the adoption of a new curriculum now, while using grant funding, will save the District from doing so in a little over a year at a greater cost and without grant funding. 

This grant opportunity is a bold initiative. The State considered professional development, usability, and cultural relevancy as part of the original rubric.

Fifteen school districts across the state, including ASD, worked with DEED to vet seven curricula down to four. Next, through a rigorous review process, an internal committee of 54 educators weighted foundational skills, timing and pacing, comprehension skills, and fluency as the most important components, because they are based on the science of reading, before finalizing their recommendation. The community was also invited to view the materials and provide comments during the review session.

I believe that through the robust vetting and adoption process, the selected curriculum is the best solution to meet our goals. The District is developing a comprehensive CKLA implementation plan, which will include training and materials. More info to come on this soon!

We are also making exciting strides in our academic strategies for our secondary students. This week I’ve been spending time in Nashville, along with other Anchorage senior executives, to better understand and see first-hand the successful college, career, and life readiness movement in Nashville. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with counterparts and start laying the foundation to support ASD’s broader effort to make our District a core part of the Municipality of Anchorage’s workforce development strategy. These efforts will lead to more ASD students with certifications and degrees by high school graduation day, so they can enter into high-wage, high-demand jobs in Anchorage. I want to recognize our community leaders who took the time out of their very busy schedules to come to Nashville to support our schools and work through our workforce challenges as a city. I’ll have more to share on these exciting efforts soon too!

Remember, when we return from spring break we will return to regular school hours. Thank you to our staff, families, students, and community members who pulled together to help make up for instructional time lost during the December snow days. 

Other items on the horizon once we return will be continued discussion around possible changes to school start times and more information on the 2023 School Bond.

Jharrett Bryantt, Ed.D.
Anchorage School District
Mark your calendar:
School start time town halls
Anchorage School District continues to review the benefits of changing school start times for our students.

The community is invited to be a part of this discussion during three upcoming town hall events:

Tuesday, March 21 6 p.m. : Bettye Davis East Anchorage HS Auditorium

Wednesday, March 22 6 p.m. : South Anchorage HS Auditorium

Friday, March 24 6 p.m. : Mirror Lake MS Multipurpose Room
Each town hall will be telecast live and can be watched on the ASD YouTube channel or below.
Budget Approved
On Feb. 21 the Anchorage School Board approved a balanced FY 2023-24 budget. After months of surveys, town halls, public testimony, and discussions, the Anchorage School District Administration presented a FY23-24 balanced budget. In order to offset a $48 million deficit, ASD used remaining ESSER funds from the federal government, state one-time funding, and increased the pupil to teacher ratio by 1 at grades K-12. 
Since 2017, ASD has received an increase of .5% from the State of Alaska (SOA) through the Base Student Allocation (BSA) formula. For more than seven years, inflation has reduced purchasing power to a level of approximately $80 million less than what the District could afford in 2017 in real dollars. This, coupled with a declining student enrollment in our city, continues to negatively impact ASD’s ability to maintain smaller class sizes to better address student learning.
A Women's History Profile: School Board President
Margo Bellamy
March is Women's History Month, a month that celebrates and recognizes the achievements of women. ASD honors the positive impact of the great women and future leaders in our community. 

Anchorage School Board President Margo Bellamy has been a leader in the Anchorage education community for over four decades. “I come from humble beginnings and education was important, but so was hard work, being respectful, and making sure that you give back to people who give to you,” Bellamy said. “All of the jobs I’ve had have enabled me to do that. I love that blend; it’s a mix.”

During her time at ASD, Bellamy has held various positions at all levels in education, including positions as classified clerical support, teacher, librarian, assistant principal, principal, executive director and, since being elected to the Anchorage School Board, School Board clerk, Communication Committee chair, vice president and currently School Board president. 

Bellamy said she could not have gotten to where she has without the support of mentors. “I’ve been blessed to have people who have seen things in me that I didn’t necessarily see in myself,” she said. Some of Bellamy’s mentors include Dr. Marylinn Scott, Dr. Louis Sears, Dr. Keith Taton, Dr. Etheldra Davis, and Sen. Bettye Davis.

Before retiring in 2016, Margo was the Executive Director of the ASD Compliance/Equal Employment Opportunity Office. In this position, she implemented the District’s non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and was a problem-solving option for employees, students, and educators. In addition, she advised and trained the District's leadership (superintendents, directors, principals, managers and supervisors) to navigate critical education issues and compliance obligations successfully. As a result, Bellamy brings a unique experience, perspective, and understanding of educational issues/challenges, leadership, governance, equity, diversity, learning, and teaching. 

“Education has been at my core all my life really. And I’ve had people who have always wanted me to be more, be better. I am thankful that I listened.”
Anchorage School Board President Margo Bellamy as the Hanshew Middle School assistant principal (1991).
Taking care of you:
Abbott Loop ES Closure
The Anchorage School District is laser focused on supporting the Abbott Loop community as they prepare for students’ transition into new learning environments next year.

This month, Abbott Loop families were made aware of their student's receiving schools for the 2023-24 school year. The majority will transfer to Kasuun Elementary or Trailside Elementary School.

The receiving schools welcomed their new students during an open house, where incoming families were able to meet their new principals, tour the building, and participate in activities to feel welcome in their new community. The open houses were the first step in helping Abbott Loop families prepare for their transition to a new school next year.
Moving to Middle School Begins
Last month, the Anchorage School Board approved the Administration's recommendation to implement the sixth grade to middle school move during the 2024-25 school year, allowing a full year of planning.

The intent of this recommendation is to expand academic and enrichment opportunities to 6th grade students. ASD wants to do this well and allow ample time for staff, families, and the current fourth grade class to process and internalize this shift.
Teaching Today: ASD teachers reinventing how they teach
Teaching Today is a video series documenting how ASD teachers engage students to achieve their learning goals. These inspiring stories show how ASD teachers reinvent the way they teach to ensure students have access to engaging, hands-on content.

In the latest segment, Lauralee Honkola, a music teacher at Chugach Optional Elementary School, discusses the importance of culture through performance. Third grade students examine the state's history. The year begins with a geographic study of the state and then examines the history and culture of the first Alaskans. The historical and cultural emphasis upon Alaska Natives dominates the program for the first semester. With cross-cultural contact from the west and the east, Alaska's history changed. During the second semester, students examine the history of the economy, government, natural resources, people, and other elements important to understanding Alaska's story.
Alaska’s News Source Meteorologist Melissa Frey recently visited the following schools to discuss the science of weather with ASD students:

Bowman Elementary School

Fire Lake Elementary School
March is Youth Art Month
ASD Youth Art Month artwork featured on our graphic is by Grace Petru, A.J. Dimond High School, 9th Grade
March is National Youth Art Month, an acknowledgement of the visual arts programs in American schools. The Anchorage School District invites the community to celebrate student artwork that will be on display throughout Anchorage this month. 

“Your Art, Your Voice” is the theme of the 51st Annual Anchorage School District student art exhibition at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.  

ASD students who won Scholastic Art Gold and Silver Key or Honorable Mentions awards for the State of Alaska are also on display at the Anchorage Museum. This year marks Scholastic’s 100th anniversary of honoring students' artistic abilities nationwide.  

Exhibition Sites & Dates: 
Primary Exhibit Location 
Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center  
March 3 to April 9

Auxiliary Exhibit Locations 
5th Ave Mall 
March 3 to April 7

Chugiak-Eagle River Municipal Library 
March 3 to April 7

ZJ Loussac Municipal Library 
March 3 to April 7

Midtown Mall 
March 6 to April 27 (delayed start) 
South Anchorage High School cadets participate in Pacific Military and Cultural Heritage Tour
South Anchorage High School (SAHS) Air Force JROTC cadets recently traveled to the island of Oahu, Hawaii to participate in the program's biennial Pacific Military and Cultural Heritage Tour. 

"Our cadets wait years for the opportunity to be a part of this event and work very hard fulfilling our program requirements and fundraising to earn the privilege," said AFJROTC Specialist Master Sgt. Keith J. Coulter.

The students were accompanied by Senior Instructor Lt. Col Jonathan Landis, SAHS Librarian Lydia Frankenburger, and Coulter.

Fifteen cadets who have been involved in the program for three or more years took part in the trip and had an opportunity to tour active military facilities, gain a tangible perspective of Pacific theater military history, and experience the Polynesian culture. 

Cadets toured the USS Arizona Memorial, Ford Island, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and the USS Missouri from the historic Admiral’s Barge. They toured facilities on Hickam and Bellows Air Force Base, Pearl Harbor Naval Station, and spent a morning on a US Naval Torpedo Retrieval vessel. 

They hiked Diamond Head, snorkeled in Hanauma Bay, and watched fireworks from the Hale Koa military hotel on Waikiki Beach. Finally, cadets spent the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center interacting in culturally focused games, history, music, dance, food and lifestyles of native Polynesians from the islands of Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Aotearoa, Fiji, and Hawaii. 

Pictured are cadets at the entrance of the USS Missouri National Monument and at the Wall of Honor on the USS Arizona Memorial.
Did you know that the Anchorage School District (ASD) has more than 7 million square feet of facilities, has about 90 school and support buildings, and maintains the largest public facility footprint in the State of Alaska? 
As Alaska’s largest public school system, the District’s priority is to create a safe and secure environment for students and staff. Extending the useful life of its buildings ensures that the buildings adequately support the educational needs of our students. ASD budgets nearly $21 million annually for building and preventive maintenance. A quality school’s functional life, without major renewal, ranges from 30 to 50 years. However, for ASD’s schools and support buildings—many built in the 1960s and 1970s, additional funds beyond the maintenance budget are occasionally required.
This is accomplished through its annual Capital Improvement Program, funded by Municipal Bonds which will appear on the April 4th ballot, during the Municipal Election.
The ASD bond is Proposition 1 on this year’s ballot.
Update: Restraint and Seclusion Changes
The Anchorage School District (ASD) agreed to settlement terms as requested by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding restraint and seclusion practices in ASD. 
Every student’s safety must be our first and foremost priority to ensure our schools are positive learning and growing environments. 

Seclusion and restraint are outdated techniques still used by some districts across the nation with the intent to de-escalate dangerous student behavior and protect the safety of students and staff. In the past seven years, the Office of Civil Rights has opened and completed
43 investigations regarding restraint and seclusion practices in school districts.

ASD had been using these authorized practices for decades. However, we now know that there is limited evidence that these practices support students’ mental health or improve behavior.

We have made a concerted effort to substantially decrease the use of seclusion by March 20th, 2023 and seclusion will be prohibited beginning next school year. Furthermore, physical restraint may not be used except in an emergency situation.

ASD is committed to making the changes. We will end the use of seclusion. We will reform the use of restraint. We will do better for our students.
Shine Bright: Ptarmigan Elementary School Organizes Pet Supply Drive
ASD Development and Grants Office:Support for PTAs, PTOs, booster clubs
The ASD Development and Grants Office is so grateful for the support we receive from our incredible PTA’s, PTO’s, booster cubs, and the many other parent-led organizations who support our schools and students. The Development and Grants office can support these organizations by helping them identify funding opportunities, ensuring compliance with all ASD policies, and helping spread the word of the wonderful accomplishments of these organizations. Please contact us at to learn more about how we can support you!
Spring 2023 scholarship opportunities to note
Scholarship opportunities through the Alaska Community Foundation are available to students. There are over 40 scholarships available for which some of your ASD student may be eligible. The deadline to apply is March 15.
The Boys & Girls Clubs Alaska spring sports season begins March 27. Scholarship opportunities are available for families who qualify. To request a scholarship, families can email us at Please be sure to include the season, sport, and age division for which you are applying.
The Municipality of Anchorage is now accepting applications for the Anchorage Assembly youth representative application deadline is March 28.

Assembly youth representatives get to learn about local government first-hand. The youth representative is seated with the Assembly during regular and special meetings, may join committees, and participates in work sessions and informal meetings. Applicants must be 16 to 19 years old at the time of appointment.
Daylight is returning quickly but let's remember to drive slow and commute with caution during school drop off and pick up times. Below, please see safety information and resources to help keep your student safe.
Photo of the month
Olympic speed skater Shani Davis spent time on the ice with ASD students at the ASD Cuddy Park Winter Jamboree last month. Students had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of winter activities including cross country skiing, ice skating, fat tire biking, sledding, curling, broom ball, snow sculpture building, snowshoeing, and more! Thank you to our community partners for making this event possible! Following the Cuddy Park celebration, Davis also made a visit to Muldoon Elementary School to skate with students on their new ice rink.
5530 E Northern Lights Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99504