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.

Spring Fly-In Highlights
O ver 70 school board members and superintendents representing nearly two-thirds of Alaska's school districts descended upon Juneau for AASB's annual Spring Fly-In. They arrived focused on a single priority: the state budget and its implications for students, families, schools, and communities. 
For four intensive days attendees heard presentations from key legislators and state officials, received updates on current education issues, and developed strategies in preparation for meeting with lawmakers and providing committee testimony.
The group's influential presence in the Capitol occurred at a critical point in the session. Representatives and Senators engaged in developing the state's budget welcomed their contribution of "front line" education knowledge, perspectives, and guidance during the process.
Following are highlights and links to resources, presentations, and photos from the event.
Hot Topics 
AASB STEPS Partnership Coordinator Lisa Worl and Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator Heather Coulehan gave an interactive presentation on "Lessons Learned from Alaska's Framework for Trauma Engaged Practice." Attendees also received  presentations on "Early Learning & Literacy" by DEED Division of Student Learning Operations Manager Deborah Riddle,and "Your Role in Chronic Absenteeism" by Tamara Van Wyhe, Director of DEED's Educator & School Excellence Division.
Data Geeks Speak
Pat Sidmore, AASB Data and Systems Coordinator, moderated a panel discussion on effective uses of school data. The panelists were Juneau board member Brian Holst,
Dillingham board Secretary/Treasurer Bernini Venua, Dillingham Superintendent Dr. Jason Johnson, and Juneau District Data Analyst
Phil Loseby. Discussion topics included how boards are currently using data, practical formats for providing and receiving information to boards, and strategies for conveying key district data to legislators.

Preparing to Hit the Hill

AASB's School Improvement Coordinator Lon Garrison and School Climate and Conference Coordinator Jenni Lefing conducted an exercise to help board members develop strategies and effectively articulate education priorities to legislators during the final stretch of the session. For each of nine topic areas, attendees were asked to consider how reduced education funding would impact their students and district, and compile reference lists of their collective responses.

Topic areas included teacher recruitment and retention, transportation, class size, extracurricular activities, infrastructure, class offerings, culturally responsive, school safety and well-being, and student success.

Administration Perspective: Full PFDs, Balanced Budgets, and a Bright Future
Sunday's luncheon speaker was Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and architect of the governor's budget. She began with an overview of the state's revenue and spending history, and how the governor's package of proposed budget cuts, constitutional amendments, and full PFDs could lead to a more prosperous future for Alaska. Director Arduin concluded her presentation by asking for suggestions on education reform. Attendees responded by offering a few suggestions, explaining how the governor's proposed budget cuts would impact their districts, and questioning the Director on various education-related topics. 

Legislative Perspective: Amid Budget Struggles, Commitment to Alaska Students

Having recently returned to Juneau from a series of statewide town hall meetings, Representative Dan Ortiz (NA) Ketchikan, provided his take on the session: "It's the PFD versus state services," he said. "Legislators understand that some consider the PFD essential. As we hear from around the state about the importance of programs and services, it just means less of a PFD," said Ortiz. "Everyone recognizes the value of a full PFD, but because of that we have a $1.6 Billion deficit. We could pay a $900 PFD and have a balanced budget. In 8 out of 10 public comments, people said give me a smaller PFD so we can still have services," he said.

In response to a question about whether the legislature was considering any new revenues, he said the governor has made it clear that he wants to provide a full PFD but no new taxes or new revenue, so this year no new revenue will be introduced. "We would vote in a heartbeat for a tax that came from the Senate or governor," Ortiz said.

One attendee observed that the BSA hasn't changed in years, and wondered why the legislature is focused on $20 and $30 million supplemental appropriations instead of increasing the BSA? "Because putting it into the BSA makes it 'the number,'" Ortiz replied. "Keeping supplemental funding outside the BSA allows the legislature to respond to fluctuating oil prices,"

As a former teacher, Rep. Ortiz said supporting education is investing in our future. "Gaining an education enriches lives, builds skills and abilities, and creates opportunities," he said. "This is not a 'R,' 'D' or 'I' thing. Most in the House feel this way - we have had, or have been, children. The foundation of a child's life is home, school, and community," said Ortiz. "Schools should do all they can to create opportunities for students."

Student Perspective: Don't Cut Programs That Motivate Us

Bethel Regional High School students Maya Wall and Emely Martinez joined Lower Kuskokwim board members at the testimony table to let House Education Committee members know that proposals to cut school programs that are motivational to many students could have adverse consequences. "The programs you're talking about cutting are motivational to us," said Ms. Wall. "Its impacting us." During the hearing board members from districts across Alaska addressed a range of critical programs that face disruption or elimination by the governor's proposed cuts, including mental health services, suicide prevention, STEM, computer science, CTE / vocational programs, SEL, extracurricular activities, ESL, Native language revitalization, place-based instruction, teacher hiring and retention, and municipal funding to districts. Fly-In attendees advocated for stable, predicable education funding, and told the committee that they would forego their Permanent Fund Dividend to preserve essential services.

Packing the House
Fly-In attendees gathered for an opportunity to testify before the House Education Committee. During the nearly two-hour hearing, board members, superintendents, and students from ten school districts shared examples of innovative, collaborative strategies being implemented in their districts, and answered questions from committee members.
Message from the President
During her testimony AASB board President Tiffany Jackson highlighted results from a January survey of Alaska voter priorities 
for education spending, which showed overwhelming support for public education and ensuring the success of our students. 
The survey was conducted prior to the release of the governor's proposed budget.

Fly-In Attendees On The Air!
Gavel Alaska videographer Skip Gray broadcasts Pelican City School Board President James Slater's House Education Committee testimony live to statewide viewers.

Districts Team Up to Expand Offerings
Board members representing 24 communities in Southwest Region, Lake & Pen, Dillingham, and Bristol Bay school districts discussed their collaborative partnerships with each other and with other organizations to offer regional students a range of options   
that include certifications, endorsements,  
and employment opportunities that help them graduate and become workforce ready.   
Huddling with Harriet
Members of the North Slope Borough School District delegation chat with House Education Committee Co-Chair Harriet Drummond  during a break. The group reported on NSBSD's successes in early childhood education, language revitalization and immersion programs, place-based and culture-based instruction, and development
of Native language instructional materials.
AASB Spotlight
Editorials In Support of Our Shared Public Education Priorities 
By Norm Wooten, Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, and Sarah Sledge
(from left) Sarah Sledge, Norm Wooten, Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady
The Executive Directors of the Association of Alaska School Boards, the Alaska Council of School Administrators, and the Coalition for Education Equity are collaborating on a series of editorials that articulate our shared priorities for Alaska students.

Below are three of the articles that have been published recently by the Alaska news media.

PRIORITY: Funding: A long-term fiscal plan that ensures sustainable education funding for current and future generations.
PRIORITY: Early Childhood Education: Equitable access to fully funded, high-quality pre-school for all Alaska children to improve school readiness and future success.
PRIORITY: Safety and Mental Health: Safe and secure schools, safety and well-being of students in school and in their communities, and increased access to mental health services.
Want Improved Student Success? Address Trauma  (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Jenni Lefing, AASB School Climate and Conference Coordinator
Lon Garrison, AASB School Improvement Coordinator

Claudia Plesa, AASB Community Engagement Educator and Coordinator
2019 School Climate & Connectedness Survey Results are Here!
Last week (April 22), school districts received access to their 2019 School Climate & Connectedness Survey results. This year, 31 districts administered the survey to transform school climate and strengthen relationships; factors linked to student success. Over 40% of 3rd to 12th graders in Alaska participated in this year's survey:
3 Minute Read >
Broadening AASB
Policy Updates
School boards govern their district by the development, adoption and implementation of board policy. It is the foundational document that tells everyone why and what needs to be done in order for the local school system to function. AASB seeks to be more proactive and robust in offering our association members a suite of policies that assist each board with improving student success.
Are There Youth On Your Board?
When students serve as board members, everyone benefits. Research shows that students who are given collaborative opportunities for their voice to be heard, are more likely to do better in school, and less likely to engage in risk behaviors. Boards with student members report feeling more committed and energized, and feel more effective in their decision making.

June Nelson Scholarship Winners Announced

The Association of Alaska School Boards is pleased to announce the winners of its 28th annual scholarship competition.

Each year, association members, students, and district superintendents gather to raise money that is awarded to Alaskan students to support their post-high school education pursuits. This year's successful fundraising efforts have allowed AASB to award fifteen, $1,500 scholarships, which may be applied toward the student's choice of a business, trade, or college institution.

Of this year's 113 applicants, fourteen graduating Alaska high school seniors have been selected to receive June Nelson scholarships. One of the fourteen scholarships was awarded to a student pursuing a credential in career and technical education. In additional, one returning college freshman was also awarded a scholarship.

Congratulations to the 2019 winners, and sincere thanks to all of the applicants. We wish you success in achieving your goals!

AASB Monthly Reports

Each month AASB staff provide a report to the Board of Directors describing progress made toward achieving the goals outlined in AASB's Long Range Plan (Pathways).
Partner Spotlight
Preschool Language Immersion in Yakutat, Hydaburg, and Juneau
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe began their Lingit Yoo X'atángi Kúdi Language Nest in January 2018, Hydaburg's Xaad Kil Immersion Preschool began in September 2018, and Tlingit & Haida Haa Yoo X'atángi Kúdi in Juneau has been preparing to open these past months, hosted family nights (Woosh Tʼaaḵxʼi Gaawú), Lingít Toddler Times (AdátxʼI Gaawú) and is preparing to open the week of April 22-26th.  
Learn how these three schools are making (or are about to make) an impact.

Discovery Southeast Courses

Discovery Southeast is offering two courses this spring focusing on geology, landforms, succession, habitats, and culture. They're free to teachers and open to community members. Each is worth one university credit.

Landforms of Áak'w & T'aakú Aaní: Year-2
May 30-31
June 1-2

Habitats of Áak'w &
T'aakú Aaní: Year-2:
June 6-7
June 9-10

Contact >
Nominations Extended to May 15

DEED is seeking applications that identify exemplary K-12 teachers and principals. We are looking for educators, relatively new to the profession, who demonstrate outstanding instructional and leadership abilities that impact students, colleagues, and the community. These distinguished educators are considered for special recognition programs and for statewide and national advisory boards and task forces. A minimum of five years in education is a must. Applications are due May 15. Recommendation Form >
 Questions? Contact cecilia.miller@alaska.gov

Guest Columns
The Alaska I helped build is under attack
By Vic Fischer, last living delegate of the 1955-56 Alaska Constitutional Convention
Vic Fischer
As one of the founders of Alaska statehood, I am appalled by Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget, which drastically cuts funding for K-12 education and the university, and slashes health services for 213,000 Alaskans, half of them children. It reduces support for seniors and undermines the taxing authority of local governments across the state.

The Alaska that I helped to build is under attack. When we wrote Alaska's Constitution in 1955-56 and achieved statehood in 1959, we established a structure of state and local government to provide essential services. Now, 60 years later, the ideals of statehood and our constitution are under assault by Gov. Dunleavy and his people.
One of our country's best ideas: public education.
By Roy Getchell, Ph.D., Superintendent, Haines Borough School District
Roy Getchell
How many of us have built up something in our minds so much that, once experienced, it proved to be a disappointment? Sometimes life's most pleasant surprises are just the opposite.
It is always a good practice to discover if commonly held opinions are based upon facts, or if they are just a product of false perceptions. American educators have heard over, and over, and over again how broken, subpar, and ineffective our schools are. Poorly analyzed assessments are often weaponized by some for political gain to shame both students and teachers alike in order to tear down one of our country's best ideas: public education.
Student Voice: A Vehicle Towards Equity
By Dr. Sara Bhonsale, Director of Partnerships Hawaii/Alaska, ACHIEVE3000
Dr. Sara Bhonsale
Recently, while in Juneau, I learned about the collaboration between the Yukon-Koyukuk School District and AASB to create a collection of interactive digital books. The books, published last school year, encompass stories, legends, and history of the local communities. They are a collective effort between students, teachers, elders, district staff and other members of the community. What was most striking about these books is the overwhelming "voice" that emanates from each story. The students drove the creation and process. In addition to their creative vision, they provided their own stories, experiences, and history. District initiatives are more frequently including student voice as a vesting vehicle for equity in the classroom. What exactly does this mean? How exactly do we channel student voice into empowering and equitable learning experiences for our learners? 
Why should I teach in Alaska?
By Ben Walker, 2018 Alaska State Teacher of the Year
Ben Walker
The education crisis in Alaska is not related to test scores, indoctrination, per-pupil expenditures or any of the other misleading bullet points that fill campaign flyers and online comment sections. The very real and pressing crisis that threatens the long-term quality of Alaska education is teacher attraction and retention. While it is already hard to attract and retain teachers here in Alaska, especially in our rural and remote areas, this crisis goes beyond the $20 million we lose in annual turnover and the hundreds of currently unfilled positions harming districts. We want to be very clear: Alaska is at the precipice of a mass exodus of teachers, including many of us.
Getting your board to buy in to Robert's Rules
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
A reader writes, "The city council has never used much parliamentary procedure in our meetings. People speak when they want and sidebar discussions are common. How to ease the council into more parliamentary procedure without confusing them?" It's a great question. Here are three steps you can take to get your council or board to buy in to Robert's Rules.
"Mr. Johnson got arrested! What to do when a school employee is charged with a crime."
By Allen Clendaniel of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC
Allen Clendaniel
Part seven of a series on interacting with the world outside of the school house gates.  
A popular high school science teacher got arrested on Friday night. Rumors are flying around the school and community. The rumors are that the charges are serious. The teacher is out on bail and plans to report to his classroom on Monday morning. What do you do on Sunday afternoon?
Code.org Summer Workshops
Scholarships Available

The Code.org computer science curriculum is aligned with the new state standards No previous experience teaching computer science is needed. The workshops are designed to support middle and high school teachers before and during their first year teaching Computer Science Discoveries or Computer Science Principles.

ASD Summer Academy for Teachers, Librarians & Specialists
May 28-29 - Anchorage (K-6 grade level)

FNSBSD Summer Academy for Teachers, Librarians & Specialists
May 31 - Fairbanks (K-6 grade level)

CS Discoveries Workshops

June 3-7 - Fairbanks (6-10 grade level)
June 10-14 - Juneau (6-10 grade level)
  • Free of charge
  • Highest-rated by teachers
  • Your students will love it!
AASB Webinar:
"School Law Basics"
Tuesday, May 8 at Noon 

Are you a first-term board member?  
Do you have questions? 
We have answers!

In this final webinar of the 2019 spring season, we will explore the basic laws
that govern and regulate public education in Alaska.

Join us for an informative
hour with a school law expert as we cover state and federal statutes and practices affecting a school board's role and responsibility.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Email: Lon Garrison 
Call: (907) 463-1660  
Video, audio, and slideshow presentations from the 2019 First-term Board Member Webinar Series are archived at:    
Alaska School Newsletters

We think what's going on in schools is worth sharing!

Each month Commentary will highlight school and district newsletters from across Alaska.
The Inside Scoop seeks to honor student achievements, help promote local events and activities, and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of youth in your district.

We're excited to help spread your good news!

School District Newsletters

Denali Borough School District

Kashunamiut School District

Local Student News
Wrangell students could soon serve on local school board - KSTK

BSSD Art in Juneau - KNOM

Students shine in FCCLA competition, headed to nationals - Kodiak Daily Mirror

Anchorage School District to allow for tribal, cultural attire at graduation - Alaska Public Media

UCSD Band Hits All The Right Notes At The Aurora Music Festival - KUCB, Aleutians

Students learn problem solving through restorative justice practices - Homer News

BRHS Students win awards at the Alaska State Science & Engineering Fair - Delta Discovery

Student/Education Focused Newsletters

Alaska School Activities Association

Sitka Sound Science Center

Browse The Inside Scoop Newsletter Collection >
Include your school or district newsletter in The Inside Scoop!    
State Budget News
Statewide reaction to Governor Dunleavy's proposed budget continues as school districts, municipalities, businesses, organizations, and the public assess its potential impacts. In response, the Alaska Legislature is developing a budget of its own. News coverage is presented in chronological order as events have unfolded.
March 27 - Krysti Shallenberger, KYUK, Bethel

Rural residents testify against state budget cuts
March 28 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Hold the cuts: Alaska House committee proposes flat budget as starting alternative to governor's plan
March 28 - James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

Ketchikan School District ponders budget-building options
March 29 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan 
March 29 - Laura Kragel, KUCB, Unalaska  
March 29 - Nils Andreassen, Anchorage Daily News 
Opinion: Support the University of Alaska, oppose Dunleavy cuts
March 30 - Alan Gross, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Dunleavy talks education - The second part in the Clarion's sit-down with the governor
March 30 - Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion

The governor gets down to business - Dunleavy talks local and state economy
March 31 - Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion

Opinion: Difficult choices ahead: Fairbanks should prepare for the reality of the governor's budget cuts
March 31 - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Opinion: The Dunleavy administration admits error used to justify medical school cut
March 31 - Dermot Cole, Fairbanks Daily New-Miner

School Board votes against resolution that would have taken a stance on statewide education funding cuts
UA President Johnsen recommends closing UAA College of Education, amid accreditation debacle

School district passes budget
April 2 - Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion

Bill would help immersion school teachers
April 2 - Mollie Barnes, Juneau Empire

Opinion: Cut education funding, and watch school outcomes suffer
April 2 - Charlie Stephens, Juneau Empire

April 2 - Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Opinion: Dunleavy's budget: Malfeasance or misfeasance?
April 3 - Elstun W. Lauesen, Juneau Empire

Community leaders address Dunleavy's proposed budget
April 3 - Robin Wood, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Sitka school board to focus on specific cuts at next hearing
April 3 - Robert Woolsey, KCAW, Sitka

University of Alaska president recommends closing UAA's School of Education in wake of accreditation loss
April 4 - Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
Opinion: It's no "Little House on the Prairie" anymore
April 5 - Deena Bishop, Anchorage Daily News

Opinion: Public preschool investment reaps returns
April 5 - Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, Norm Wooten and Sarah Sledge, Arctic Sounder

Opinion: Fight over revenues a symptom of slack sovereignty
April 5 - Nils Andreassen, Bristol Bay Times

Alaska House poised to debate budget
April 6 - Associated Press / KTVA, Anchorage

University of Alaska board votes no on education school accreditation
April 9 - Associated Press / Juneau Empire

Dunleavy says 'no deal' on budget without legislative progress on constitutional amendments
April 9 - James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

House prepares for special sessions, sets aside money in the budget
April 10 - James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy's red veto pen looms over this year's budget debate
School districts in Southcentral look at hiring options after UAA accreditation decision
April 10 - Rebecca Palsha, KTUU, Anchorage

An end to school bond debt reimbursement could hike local property taxes
April 10 - KTVA, Anchorage

Showdown brewing between Governor and Legislature over forward funding of education
April 10 - Jeff Landfield, Alaska Landmine

Permanent Fund Dividend looms as House wades through budget
April 10 - Alex McCarthy, Juneau Empire

Gov Prods Legislators To Accept His Budget
April 10 - Becky Bohrer, Sitka Sentinal

Opinion: Investment in public preschool reaps high returns for our children and our economy
April 10 - Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, Norm Wooten, and Sarah Sledge, Delta Discovery

Opinion: Alaska continues to lose revenue over its oil tax policy
April 11 - Lisa Weissler, Juneau Empire
April 11 - Nat Herz, KTOO, Juneau
Opinion: Dunleavy Must Learn to Balance a Budget
April 11 - Eric Muench, SitNews, Ketchikan

School board chooses FY20 budget starting point
April 11 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan

Seward community sounds off in meeting exploring consolidation of local schools
April 11 - Beth Verge, KTUU, Anchorage

Tlingit and Haida president criticizes budget after Gov shares policy goals
April 12 - James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

House budget scales back cuts proposed by governor
April 12 - Henry Leasia, KHNS, Haines

Opinion: Local trails hurt by Dunleavy's cost-shifting move
April 12 -Eric Troyer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
April 12 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan

House sends budget with spending cuts to Senate, without setting PFDs 

Opinion: AG makes flimsy claim about school funding
April 13 - Dermot Cole, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Dunleavy: Legislature 'knowingly underfunded' Senior Benefits program ahead of suspension
April 13 - Jes Stugelmayer, KTVA, Anchorage

 To stay or to go? Anchor Point parents and teachers grapple with potential school closure Candidate Dunleavy said he had no plans to cut ferries, schools, university. Then Gov. Dunleavy proposed deep reductions.
The PFD - Yours, Mine or Ours?
April 15 - Rhonda McBride, KTVA, Anchorage

Pre-K funding bill gives them something to talk about
April 16 - Ben Hohenstatt , Juneau Empire
Is living in Alaska enough to keep teachers long-term?
April 17 - Scott Gross, KTVA

Ketchikan School Board moves forward with draft budget
April 17 - Leila Kheiry, KRBD, Ketchikan

District considers consolidating Homer High, Homer Middle Schools
April 17 - Megan Pacer, Homer News

Assembly approves additional district funding
April 17 - Kat Sorensen, Homer News

Support or oppose? A statewide poll shows what some Alaskans think about Dunleavy's budget
April 17 - Alex McCarthy, Peninsula Clarion

April 18 - Tim Rockey, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Opinion: Governor's property tax plan would kill Valdez
April 18 - Valdez Mayor Jeremy O'Neil, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Labor union sues to block privatization of Alaska Psychiatric Institute
April 18 - Associated Press / Juneau Empire
Opinion: Defend education funding
April 18 - Norm Wooten, Sarah Sledge, Lisa Skiles Parady, Peninisula Clarion

Opinion: University of Alaska struggles to deliver education efficiently
April 19 - Win Gruening, Juneau Empire

Sitka nonprofits fear economic, social setbacks of deep state budget cuts
April 19 - Enrique Pérez de la Rosa, KCAW, Sitka

Dunleavy preaches budget austerity at North Pole church
April 19 - Erin McGroarty, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Assembly votes to support education
April 19 - Tim Rockey, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Opinion: Advice to Gov. Mike Dunleavy: Forget about an advisory vote
April 20 - Larry Persily, Reporting From Alaska

April 20 - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

April 22 - Rebecca Palsha, KTUU, Anchorage

April 22 - Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media

April 22 - KTVA, Anchorage
April 22 - Megan Pacer, Peninsula Clarion

April 22 - Anchorage Press

April 22 - Tim Bradner, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

April 24 - Scott Gross, KTVA, Anchorage

April 25 - Austin Baird, Alaska Native News

April 26 - Carey Restino, Bristol Bay Times

April 27 - Tim Bradner, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

April 28 - Rep. Zack Fields, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
April 28 - Patty Owen, Fairbanks Daiy News-Miner 
April 28 - Dermot Cole, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Other News 
Meghan Redmond Named 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year
Meghan Redmond
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has named Meghan Redmond, assistant principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, Alaska, the 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year. Her award announcement is made during NASSP's annual celebration of National Assistant Principals Week. Redmond is in her fourth year as assistant principal at Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, Alaska, a K-12 school consisting of 134 students.

Because the remote nature of the school limits opportunities for exposure to various careers and other robust experiences, Redmond leads the school's quarterly exploration weeks which allow students to focus on one or two courses that help them explore careers and interests-with some exploration weeks leading to industry-based certifications. "I never want my students to feel as if they missed out on anything because of where they are from or who they are," Redmond said. "So, I have made it my mission to find creative solutions using technology; a strong school staff team; and partnerships with local, regional, and state entities in order to close the opportunity gap for my students."
More students means more security for Chugiak High School
By Scott Gross, KTVA, Anchorage
ASD President Starr Marsett Photo: KTVA
When 600 students are moved from one school and placed into another, there's a good chance more monitoring and security will need to follow. That's what happened after the November 30th earthquake. Gruening Middle School in Eagle River was deemed unsafe and the students were moved to Chugiak High School. The Anchorage School Board approved a recommendation to increase security and surveillance cameras on the Chugiak High School campus. "We've got added students out there, added staff and we need to make sure we have cameras in areas that maybe weren't populated," school board president Starr Marsett said. "And so, making sure all of our students were safe just for various reasons that we need those extra cameras working. Heaven forbid should anything happen we want to make sure our students are safe."
Alaska's rural schools could get a boost in internet speed
Hollis School is part of
Southeast Island School District.
Photo: Elizabeth Jenkins
For the last five years, the state has helped Alaska schools pay for faster internet - up to a point. As technology has advanced, some say it's time to raise the bar. A pair of bills before the Legislature would do just that. Alaska faces a digital divide. Within the state, rural areas lag behind the larger cities when it comes to internet access. That lag has a big impact on students. That's according to Patience Frederiksen, director of the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, who oversees a program that helps school districts across the state pay for faster internet. "It really enhances education for students, to have so much more stuff that they can offer through the internet that they can't have locally, because their towns are so small," said Frederiksen. Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed 2020 budget would reduce funding for the program.
Bill would help immersion school teachers
By  Mollie Barnes, Juneau Empire
Lance Twitchell, UAS Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages, testifies in favor of HB 24. Photo Mollie Barnes
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier for non-native English speakers to get their teaching certificates in Alaska. The House Education committee held a hearing Monday to discuss House Bill 24, a bill regarding teaching in languages other than English. They took public testimony about the bill which would allow the department to issue a limited teacher certificate, valid only in the area of expertise for which it is issued, to a person to teach Alaska Native culture, military science, vocational or technical education or any subject if the language of instruction is not English.
Unique Alaska spelling bee makes headway in Yup'ik literacy
By  Madeline McGee, Anchorage Daily News
Chevak 3rd grader Jemima Pingayak spells a word during the Statewide Yup'ik Spelling Bee for Beginners. Photo: Loren Holmes
The word was "qecgaa." Akagaralria Auna Friday, a third grader from the Kashunamiut School District in Chevak, would be the seventh student to take a stab at spelling the Yup'ik word, which in English means "He jumped over it." The word had stumped six other spellers at Saturday's Yup'ik Spelling Bee for Beginners at College Gate Elementary School in Anchorage. Each had gotten a curt "quyana" from the judges - a word that means "thank you," but also signals to the speller they've misspelled the word. What Auna wanted to hear was "assirtuq," which means "It is good." "Qecgaa," she said into the microphone. "Q-E-C-G-A-A. Qecgaa." "Assirtuq."
Auna placed second on Saturday in the spelling competition, which brought together 18 students from seven schools and six school districts in Southwest Alaska. It's the most competitors the bee has seen in its eight-year history, organizer Freda Dan said.
OPINION: Alaska's graduates should have right to honor cultural identity
Across the state, Alaska's seniors are counting down the days until they walk across the stage to receive their diploma after more than a decade of learning. High school graduation is a proud day for many families, a moment to honor the hard work and efforts of the community's youth. But in Alaska, it doesn't honor some of them as much as it should. Until recently, Alaska Native students living in Alaska were forbidden from wearing traditional tribal regalia of any sort at their graduation.
NYO day one filled with love and laughter
By  Mary Kate Burgess, KTUU
Photo: KTUU
2019 Native Youth Olympics kicked off with a wonderful fanfare, as more than 450 athletes filled the Alaska Airlines Arena to compete in games that hold onto history and heritage of the Alaskan native peoples. The kneel jump is up first, and Mte. Edgecumbe took that event by storm, Regan Hoblet took first place with a jump of 47 and 3/4 inches. Her teammate, Murphy Charles, takes the win for for the boys with a jump of 59 inches.

More on NYO
By Dave Goldman, KTVA
By Katie Kazmierski, KNOM 
American Ninja Warriors Nate DeHaan and Nick Hanson talk friendship and representing rural Alaska
American Ninja Warriors Nate DeHaan and Nick Hanson on DeHann's Warped Wall Photo: Katie Basile
The television show "American Ninja Warrior" enters its 11th season next month, and again will feature the "Eskimo Ninja", Nick Hanson from Unalakleet. Hanson visited Bethel last week to hang out with his buddy, fellow American Ninja Warrior, Nate DeHaan. These two comprise two thirds of all the Ninja Warriors to ever come from Alaska. KYUK sat down with the two ninjas to talk about how they became friends, and what it means for them to represent rural Alaska on the show.
Will Alaska endorse climate science education?
By  Elizabeth Jenkins, Alaska Public Media 
Sitka school district adopted Next Generation Science Standards. Photo: Elizabeth Jenkins
It's been more than a decade since the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development updated its classroom science standards. What's missing is a thorough explanation of one of the biggest problems on Alaska's doorstep: climate change. But on Friday, the board unanimously approved a draft framework of a growing national model, which makes that point clear. Alaska's  13-year-old science standards would not make the honor roll according to Glenn Branch, the deputy director at the National Center for Science Education.
"They're very short and undetailed," Branch said. But Branch thinks the  new standards under review are a big improvement.
"It's about as good as one can realistically expect," he said. Alaska could be joining dozens of other states by adopting the framework of Next Generation Science Standards.  Some school districts  are already ahead of the curve.
School district defends handling of restroom incident at North Pole High  
By Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Karen Gaborik
The school district has been navigating issues around transgender students for years, from elementary school on up, and there hasn't been any big problems around bathrooms until now, said Karen Gaborik, superintendent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough school district. In an interview she confirmed that no trans student was directly involved in an incident two weeks ago, during which a boy was kneed in the groin by a girl as a group of boys attempted to enter the girls bathroom at North Pole High School. Eight students, including the girl who kneed the boy, were disciplined after an investigation. A post on social media sparked the chain of events.

More on this story:
Karen Gaborik,Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Sara Tewksbury & Amanda Becker, Webcenter 11  

School board chooses new interim superintendent
By  Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion
John O'Brien
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education has chosen John O'Brien to be the interim superintendent of schools. The pick comes as a surprise since O'Brien wasn't included in the district's published superintendent candidate list. Only two candidates John Pothast and Dr. Christine Ermold, who also work for the district, were slated for board interviews. After five hours of executive session, school board president Penny Vadla offered O'Brien, the current assistant superintendent of instruction, an interim position and to negotiate a contract. Communications liaison for the district, Pegge Erkeneff, said more information will be coming out in the near future. O'Brien will be taking over for Sean Dusek, who resigned earlier this year.
Jamie Burgess Named Nome Superintendent
By  Katie Kazmierski, KNOM 
Jamie Burgess
Jamie Burgess dropped the word "Interim" from her superintendent title last Thursday, as the Nome School Board elected her the Superintendent of Nome Public Schools. In a special meeting on Thursday following interviews of Burgess and the only other candidate, Christopher Aguirre, the school board's choice was unanimous. Burgess has been working at NPS since 2016 as the Director of Federal Programs, Instruction, and Accountability, a position she's been juggling along with Interim Superintendent since she took over for Superintendent Bill Schildbach, who resigned in February.  Burgess will continue to serve both positions until the end of the current school year, and the Board plans on hiring a new Federal Programs Director for Full Year 2020.
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