Voices of Alaska Education
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.
Longest Serving Alaska School Board Member Honored
Collins helped create the school district he served for 43 years
Ray Collins’ stories are about more than his own journey. They are also oral documentation of the transition of a region and its people. Many of the issues being debated today as new ideas in education were initiated decades ago by Ray and his board in response to the critical needs they felt compelled to address: integrating Native language and culture into instruction, orienting new teachers to the local culture, training local people to become teachers, and making the education system more responsive to the needs of local students.

Ray graciously granted an interview while attending the Annual Conference and spoke for nearly an hour about his years of service and dedication to Iditarod Area School District and the people it serves.

AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten congratulates Ray Collins for his 43 years of service to the Iditarod Area School District, as Ray receives a standing ovation from Annual Conference attendees.
AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten to Retire
A Message from AASB President Michael Swain:  Executive Director Norm Wooten announced at the November 11, 2019 board meeting his intent to retire at the conclusion of the 2021 legislative session. The AASB board will be determining what process to use in the selection of a new executive director and implementing it. The board is confident they will have the new executive director ready to assume the position in the spring of 2021. 
Norm Wooten
AASB 66th Annual Conference Highlights
Welcome Home, Superheroes!
Each year the conference takes on a flavor of its own that reflects a mix of current trends, political climate, and participant mindsets. This year, k eynote presenter Donna Oser reminded everyone that they are superheroes, and you all donned masks to prove it!
Your students, schools, districts, and communities have been eagerly awaiting your triumphant return from the AASB Annual Conference, so now it's time to use your newly acquired superpowers to grapple with the Big Education Issues at hand:

Equity. Advocacy. Policy. Language. Culture. Family. Healing. Safety. Trust. Law. Leadership. Relationships. Retention. Engagement. Collaboration. Transformation. Outcomes.

After four jam-packed days that included two full-day pre-conference sessions, two General Sessions, 18 sectionals, a scholarship auction, an awards banquet, Snapshot Sessions, Roundtable discussions, Like-Sized District Forums, business meetings, and district voting on AASB Resolutions, some heads may understandably still be spinning.

So here’s a quick recap: Ideas presented. Questions asked. Topics debated. Counsel considered. Assumptions reconsidered. Bonds strengthened. Partnerships formed. Strategies developed. Consensus reached. Implementation initiated. And ultimately, youth empowered. 

THANK YOU for attending AASB’s 66th Annual Conference! We absolutely enjoyed our time together and hope you find the information presented to be useful in your crucial work on behalf of students. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events, which include the Executive Administrative Assistant Conference (Dec. 5-6), Winter Boardsmanship Academy (Dec. 6-7), and two Legislative Fly-Ins during the session.

During her keynote presentation, Michelle Brooks posed the question; "How are the children?" Now that all of you superheroes have returned to your places of origin, we can confidently proclaim, "The children are well!"

Got your copy of the Alaska Constitution?

Thursday, November 7
Experienced Board Member Academy & Ready, Set, Govern!
New Board Members Get Supercharged at Ready, Set, Govern!
By Jenni Lefing, AASB School Climate and Conference Coordinator

Around 45 new school board members & superintendents attended this year’s Ready Set Govern! (formerly known as Board Room Boot Camp) at Annual Conference.
This day and a half was filled with sessions to help board members build on their skills while connecting and learning alongside School Board Members from around the state.

Developing Successful
Family-School Partnerships
Parent activist and educational advocate Michelle Brooks led a day-long interactive work session during the Experienced Board Member Academy on ways to leverage family engagement to support student equity and achievement. She pointed out that stepping outside comfort zones and understanding your own inherent biases are key factors. "Building capacity to engage with families can only happen when both you and families are open to a new experience," Brooks said.

Laying Down the Law
Ready, Set, Govern! is designed to help newly elected school board members understand and feel comfortable in their new role. Attorney John Sedor provided an overview of legal rights and responsibilities, and other school law issues boards need to be familiar with. Additional topics presented during the day-long preconference session included board standards and conduct, an explanation of the Foundation Formula, curriculum, budget, policy, and the range of support services AASB can supply to school boards.
Friday, November 8
General Session Keynote, Snapshots, June Nelson Auction
The Simple Bare Necessities
The Trailside Elementary School Choir from Anchorage performed a rousing medley of popular songs, dances, and dialog from Disney's Jungle Book Kids to kick off the Friday General Session. Choir Director Ms. Deanna Kulow provided the following account of their performance in the school's newsletter, What's Howling At Trailside : "We sang Friday morning for the Association of Alaska School Boards conference. The students received a standing ovation from an audience of 400!"
Shift Happens
During her Saturday morning keynote, Michelle Brooks built upon the family engagement work from the previous day's Experienced Board Member Academy to explore the process of transformation in greater depth. Brooks outlined a process that included working intentionally to shift mindsets by engaging families in the ways they want to be engaged, building relationships of mutual trust, and forming strong parent and community ties.

State Board Welcomes Attendees
Lorri Van Diest, State Board Second Vice Chair of the Third Judicial District, greeted attendees and expounded on the meaning of the conference theme: Relevant, Committed and Empowered.

"AASB and the State Board of Education can achieve greatness for ALL of Alaskan students," Diest said. "Together we can empower our future and stay committed to ensuring the success of our students."

Learning A Little About A Lot
Snapshot Sessions have been described as "Speed Dating" and representatives of 26 organizations were on hand for this popular session to woo conference attendees. Each presenter was given four consecutive 17 minute time periods to provide a brief overview of their organization, product, or service. Attendees moved among the tables, selecting the topics they were interested in hearing about. After 90 minutes, all present were more informed on a variety of education-related subjects.

Going Once...Going Twice...
Auctioneers Lon Garrison and Rich Mauer generated enthusiastic bidding during the June Nelson Memorial Auction. YLI students assisted by walking through the audience displaying the auction items close-up to potential bidders. Thanks to item don ors and the many successful bidders, over $14,000 was raised that will fund nine student scholarships this year!

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Joel Johnson from Delta Greely School District models a unique lynx fur hat that was donated to the June Nelson Memorial Auction by Frankie Graham of Chugach School District. Following a fierce round of intense bidding, this "cat hat" went home with lucky winner Fernando Barrera of Unalaska City School District .
Saturday, November 9
General Session Keynote, Sectionals, Awards Banquet
Singing Their Way Into Our Hearts

"This land is your land.
This land is my land.
From the Canadian border,
to Nunivak Island.
From Metlakatla,
to Utqiagvik.
This land was made
for you and me."

Ten young students from the Alaska Native Culture School Yup'ik Choir opened Saturday's General Session with a bilingual "Alaskan-ized" performance of this popular song, which brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance.

Use Your Superpowers!
Donna Oser of the Michigan Association of School Boards reminded school boards that "You have the power to change the world" by using your superpowers:
  • Establish a vision for the district that reflects the community’s beliefs and aspirations for their children
  • Ensure that resources are aligned to accomplish the vision
  • Inspire stakeholders to work towards making the vision a reality
  • Hold the system accountable for attaining/making real progress towards the vision

Youth On Boards
By Jenni Lefing and Claudia Plesa

A key way that school boards can ensure that youth voice is part of their decision-making is to have a student school board representative. Saturday’s morning sessions at Annual Conference provided an opportunity for school board members to learn and share about having youth on boards alongside students. One of the sessions offered was Youth on Boards: Why Youth Leaders Matter; an opportunity for attendees to explore best practices for having youth representation on a board or committee.

Are Your Policies Equitable?
Saturday’s Equity and Policy sectional was co-facilitated by Lon Garrison & Lisa Worl from AASB. They began by stating that policy is the foundation for governing your district. It is the “What” and the “Why.” Implementing policy is dealt with by your administration, with the assistance of the board.

The sectional goals were to consider school board roles and responsibilities in relation to equity and policy, and to form ideas on how school board members’ roles can help to improve educational equity.

Poetry Slam
At the Awards Banquet, students attending AASB's Youth Leadership Institute performed an original poem they had jointly composed during a spoken word workshop led by Trey Josey of Diff3r3nt by D3sign. The workshop provided an introduction to the art of the spoken word and its significance in our society, and was one of numerous leadership-oriented sessions YLI youth attended during the conference.

Carl Rose Leadership Award
Frankie Graham of Chugach School District was presented with the Carl Rose Leadership Award by AASB board member Dana Mock of Delta Greely School Board. The award is in recognition of Ms. Graham's dedicated service to Alaska's youth.
Outstanding Board of the Year
Anchorage School District received AASB Outstanding School Board of the Year. The Anchorage board was nominated by the Northwest Arctic School District in recognition of their dynamic response efforts to keep students safe, staff working, and recovery operations underway following the earthquake.
Mackinnon Award
Denali Borough Superintendent Dan Polta congr atulates Tiffany Jackson of the Aleutians East Borough School District on being the winner of the MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award from the Alaska Superintendents Association.
Superintendent of the Year
Yukon-Koyukuk School District Superintendent Kerry Boyd was named Alaska Superintendent of the Year by the Alaska Superintendents Association for exemplary leadership in learning and community involvement.
Unalaska City School District Honored for Response Efforts
In an emotional ceremony, a certificate of recognition was presented to Unalaska City School District by the Cordova School District in sincere gratitude for how well their board took care of Cordova students who were impacted by the tragic plane crash at Unalaska.

The Unalaska City board and community members rallied immediately to take the students into their homes, provide them with food and clothing, assist them in contacting their families, and did everything they could to support and take care of them following the disaster.

Sunday, November 10
AASB Board Elections, Resolutions, Advocacy, Youth Panel
Meet the New AASB Board of Directors!
(From left) President Michael Swain Jr., Bristol Bay; Marie Greene, Northwest Arctic; Chrya Sanderson, Fairbanks North Star Borough; Tillie Ticket, Northwest Arctic Borough; Penny Vadla, Kenai; Deena Mitchell, Anchorage; Past President Tiffany Jackson, A leutians East; President-Elect Katie Oliver, Kodiak; Secretary-Treasurer Starr Marsett, Anchorage; Clarence Daniel, Lower Kuskokwim; Wassillie Gust, Southwest Region; Dana Mock, Delta/Greely; Pete Hoepfner, Cordova; Roxanne Brower, North Slope. Not pictured: Dr. Barbara Amarok, Nome.
Transfer of Power
Incoming AASB President Michael Swain of Bristol Bay receives the gavel from outgoing President Tiffany Jackson of Aleutians East Borough. Swain's vision for his term as president includes district unity, aggressive legislative advocacy, and representing all Alaska students of every culture.
"I t ’s Time To Flip the Script"
"This is a critical time for public education in Alaska. We are under attack," said AASB President Michael Swain in his address to the membership. "We must be willing to fight for the right of ALL children across the state to receive a quality public education, as laid out in our Constitution."
Establishing Positions for 2020
AASB President Michael Swain presides over the Delegate Assembly during the resolutions process. Resolutions provide the basis upon which the association may take a position on a wide variety of topics and issues facing education and students in the state of Alaska.
Be It Hereby Resolved...
On Sunday the AASB membership met as a Delegate Assembly to clarify and amend proposed resolutions, and vote to approve final versions that make up the document "Where We Stand 2020."

Your Role in Advocacy
With education funding and other related issues front and center this session, it will be critically important to have as many school board members and superintendents as possible providing testimony to legislative committees. The presenters shared background information and tools to help our advocacy efforts be effective.

Melissa Randol, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards Association, began by describing similarities between recent political events and their outcomes impacting both Missouri and Alaska state governments.
M elissa Randol, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards Association.
AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten followed up with an overview of issues that will likely dominate the upcoming legislative session, including the legislature's lawsuit on dedicated funding, Foundation Formula funding, probable legislation to be introduced this session, and some distractions that could shift attention away from these issues.

Steve Nelson wrapped up the sectional with a demonstration of AASB's new text alert service that will allow members to provide legislative testimony in as little as 1-2 minutes using their mobile phone.

Youth Leadership Institute 2019
By Claudia Plesa
The Annual Conference and YLI are opportunities for school board members and student leaders to come together and discuss issues impacting Alaska schools.

This year, 26 school districts had student leaders participate in YLI. A total of 76 students participated in workshops meant to help develop their leadership and advocacy skills, as well as gain a deeper understanding of issues impacting schools and students in Alaska.

During their four days together, the YLI students created a video about what leadership means to them. They created questions, interviewed each other and shared their experience at YLI. Click below to hear what they had to say about YLI 2019.

Students Speak Out On School Success Strategies
The Sunday luncheon concluded with two Youth Leadership Institute attendees from North Slope Borough School District participating in a discussion facilitated by AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten.

The students shared their thoughts on what helps kids succeed in school, what prevents kids from succeeding, and the one thing they think board members and adults need to hear from students.

AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten listens as students Aria Brown (left) and Carrah Hawley give their thoughts on how school board members can support student success.
Focus on the Board
and you as a member
Lon Garrison, AASB Director of Membership Services
Over the past year or so I have seen some concerning developments in this new age of extremism; the focus on one’s self as the sole authority of what is right. 
As one author of a book I recently read I’m Right And You’re An Idiot (James Hoggan and Grania Litwin) noted, it seems to be more commonplace that this mentality is accepted elected official behavior. Our national and state examples of leadership give us very little to model our public service behavior upon.

More and more, I see board members and board chairs, focusing on what they think is important, what they think is right, and how they feel something should be addressed. This only leads to board dysfunction, a lack of effective governance and leadership, and a lack of respect.

Education Economics
How much does Alaska spend on K-12 education?
By Dayna Jean DeFeo, Director, Center for Alaska Education Policy Research

Education funding in Alaska, as in most states, is one of the largest allocations in the state operating budget. However, many things in Alaska are expensive relative to national averages.
Dayna Jean DeFeo
Recently, my ISER colleagues and I adjusted Alaska’s data from the US Census Bureau 2017 Annual Survey of School System Finances to state and national cost indices. We found that, after applying these adjustments, Alaska’s per-pupil spending is below the national average.

Robert's Rules
Danger Will Robinson!
Public comment ahead!
Ann Macfarlane, Professional Parliamentarian

Read about the Nazi salute in Santa Cruz, singing a Whitney Houston song to express love for a council member, and an activist calling the mayor a “[profanity] racist pig.” A brilliant paper by municipal attorney Brett Vinson on the dangers of public comment.

School Law
You can’t take my phone! Legal issues related to policies restricting students’ mobile devices. 
Allen Clendaniel of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC

Part three of a series: Technology and the Law

When I started practicing law in the fall of 2005, I did not have a cell phone. I didn’t need one. Fourteen years later, I don’t think I could get through half a day without my trusty iPhone 7. 
Today’s students all have smartphones.
Allen Clendaniel
My kids complained that they were the last to get phones because our family had a “wait until middle school” policy. And my kids were right. A 2016 study from the research firm, Influence Central, found the average age for getting a first smartphone is 10.3 years old. Students are getting phones at younger ages and they are all bringing their phones to school.

More of the series, Technology and the Law:

More from Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC:


Q: Our meeting agenda includes curriculum maps for approval. Is this different than adopting a curriculum that gives the public time to review and provide feedback before the board approves it?

Constitutional Quiz
Test your knowledge of Alaska's Constitution

Q: Which of the following statements is true?

  • The legislature shall establish and maintain a system of public schools open to all children of the State.
  • Alaska’s schools shall be free from sectarian control.
  • No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of religious or private educational institutions.
  • None of the above
  • All of the above

Upcoming Events
There's Still Time To Register!
Executive Administrative
Assistant Conference

December 5- 6, 2019
Hotel Crowne Plaza- Anchorage
Connect and share tips, ideas and strategies with Executive Administrative Assistants from other school districts and learn about: 

  • Human Resources 
  • Robert’s Rules and Parliamentary Procedures
  • Keeping Track of School Board Policy
  • School Law: New Laws & Regulations 
  • And much, much more!

There's Still Time To Register!
2019 Winter Boardsmanship Academy

First Ever School Law Day & Equity Day!

December 6-7, 2019
Hotel Crowne Plaza- Anchorage

Winter Boardsmanship Academy - Day 1:

First Ever School Law Day 

Join us to focus on the Business of Student Education in Alaska through school law sessions.

This day will be led by John Sedor and others from Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans, and Filippi, along with Saul Friedman, Curt Hebert, Marsh McClellon and DEED Commissioner Michael Johnson.

Topics will include:
  • Superintendent’s Contract 
  • Health Insurance in School Districts
  • Students & Safety 
  • and other essential topics to help you and your district.

Winter Boardsmanship Academy - Day 2:

Equity Day 

AASB’s Equity Day is an opportunity for school board members to explore educational equity within their schools and district.

This year’s equity day will explore issues of equity within different groups.

Topics will include:
  • Students in Poverty
  • The School Board’s Role in Teacher Retention
  • And much more!
There's Still Time To Register!
2020 School Climate & Connectedness Survey
Registration Now Open!

Choose a two-week window
for students and staff between
January 20 - March 20
Join over 30 school districts who measure school climate as a first step to improving and strengthening school environments, relationships, and connections between students, staff, and families.

School Health Profiles Survey - A Spotlight on School Health Policies and Practices
Wendy Hamilton, School Health Program Manager, Alaska Division of Public Health
Have you ever wondered what percentage of secondary schools sell candy in vending machines, school stores or snack bars? It’s 12%, down from 54% in 2002!
Wendy Hamilton
Did you know in 49% of school students take only one required health education course in grades 6-12?

How about only 17% of secondary schools have a full-time registered nurse who provides health services to students?

These important indicators of school health–and many more–are surveyed in the biennial School Health Profiles surveys (aka Profiles), conducted in Alaska every even year since 1996 by the Department of Education and Early Development and the Department of Health and Social Services.

Spirit of Youth invites school districts to
join their efforts as champions for Alaska’s youth
Spirit of Youth knows that there are good things happening in our state and young people are often at the heart of them. For 22 years Spirit of Youth has empowered Alaska’s youth through statewide, media-based youth recognition programs. Since their start they have shared thousands of positive stories about Alaska’s youth through television, radio, print and public recognition. 

Spirit of Youth relies on community members to let youth know they matter by making a nomination for recognition. All nominees are publicly recognized in their communities and receive a certificate signed by the Lieutenant Governor. Nominations help create opportunities for youth leadership and allow teens to share their voices and get recognized for their contributions.

Of nominees, eight youth or youth groups and eight runners-up are selected to receive Spirit of Youth Awards including a scholarship. All Alaskan youth ages 12-19 are eligible.

Do you know a teen or youth group doing something positive in your community? Nominate them for Spirit of Youth recognition at  spiritofyouth.org  

For more information call 907-272-2875

The deadline to nominate youth is December 31

Alaska School News
The Inside Scoop

Each month Commentary highlights Alaska school and district news to honor student achievements, help promote local events and activities, and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of youth in your district. Add us to your school or district newsletter mailing list.
School Newsletters

Alaska Gateway School District

Anchorage School District

Annette Island School District

Denali Borough School District

Galena City School District

Iditarod Area School District

Juneau School District

Lower Kuskokwim School District

Pelican School District

Southeast Island School District

Wrangell Public School District
Include your school or district news items or newsletter

State Budget News

Nathaniel Hertz, Alaska Public Media

Becky Borer, Associated Press

Peter Segall, Juneau Empire

Jeff Turner, Alaska Native News

Dermot Cole, Anchorage Press

Steve Quinn, KTVA

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media

Michelle Theriault Boots & Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News

Austin Baird, Alaska Native News

James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

Dermot Cole, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM

James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News

Peter Segall, Juneau Empire

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

Carey Restino, The Arctic Sounder

Natasha von Imhof, Denton Daily

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Steve Quinn, KTVA

Alaska Education News
Alaska school district seeks study of state testing accuracy
Associated Press
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District requested an analysis of the accuracy of statewide student testing that produced lower than expected results, officials said.
Standardized tests are always a concern among school districts, and testing changes every few years in Alaska make it difficult to determine progress through the data, Association of Alaska School Boards Executive Director Norm Wooten said. "What we look at, what we encourage school districts to look at on standardized tests, is a progress model,” Wooten said.

Opinion: To improve student success, Alaska must adopt a statewide approach
Deena Bishop, Superintendent, Anchorage School District
The recent National Assessment of Educational Progress test results for 4th- and 8th-graders were released this week, and Alaska students rank near the bottom in both reading and math. This is truly disappointing. Our students have amazing potential and we owe it to them to do better.
Photo: iStock
There are pockets of success around our state, but one major takeaway from these results is that Alaska’s approach to teaching reading is not working. The state of Alaska needs a comprehensive reading bill to hold us all accountable for our children’s learning.

School board supports policy restricting sex offenders on campus
Angela Denning, KFSK, Petersburg
The Petersburg School Board has taken another step towards adopting a policy that would restrict sex offenders on campus. The board discussed the issue at their last meeting and passed a policy in its first reading.
The Association of Alaska School Boards is recommending that local school districts consider adopting a policy that deals with sex offenders on site. Currently, there is no state law regarding it. The AASB has forwarded a sample policy to Petersburg and other districts and that’s what Petersburg’s school board is modifying now.

District faces substitute teacher shortage
Iris Samuels, Kodiak Daily Mirror
On Monday, the Kodiak Island Borough School District needed more than 60 substitute teachers. Only 45 were available. Though the need on Monday was uncharacteristically high, the number of substitutes required on a typical day — between 30 and 40 — still leave the district in a difficult situation, according to Assistant Superintendent Beth Cole. Since the beginning of the school year, there has been only one day when the supply of substitute teachers met the demand.

Kodiak Middle School
Photo: Destiny Fitzgerald
Calista Has A Plan To Help High School Students Plan For Life After Graduation
Krysti Shallenberger, KYUK
Figuring out how to navigate life after graduating high school is tough. But thanks to a recent grant from the Alaska Department of Education, the Calista Corporation has a plan to help students in three Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta school districts. They call their project Tengluni or "Take Wing," which they hope will increase high school graduation rates and prepare students for life after high school by using Yup’ik values and curriculum. 

Thread Bear brings clothes and life skills to Kodiak students
Iris Samuels, Kodiak Daily Mirror
The Kodiak High School is home to the town’s newest thrift store, Thread Bear.
Thread Bear, which sells upcycled clothing, is run by special needs students ages 18 to 22 in the Kodiak Island Borough School District. The goal is for students to learn life skills by running the store.

The Thread Bear at Kodiak High School. Photo: Kodiak Daily Mirror
Car detailing business has taught students career skills for 18 years
Samie Solina, KTUU, Anchorage
It takes a lot of cleaning supplies, employees and man-power to run a car detailing businesses.
But the students at King Tech High School will tell you it takes more than soap. “It teaches us about responsibility, it teaches us about working with a team,” said senior Korey Lyle.
Photo: KTUU
For the past 18 years, students have helped run the car detailing business at King Tech High School. It’s part of the Career Work Readiness course that rotates students through different career paths like culinary, automotive and cosmetology.

Tuition, fees to increase at state’s vocational training center
James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News
It could get more expensive to attend the state-owned vocational training school in Seward.
On Friday, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development released details of a plan to raise fees at AVTEC, the only state-owned postsecondary training school, by 4% every year for the next three years. The department also plans to raise administrative fees and fees for housing at the school.

Amazon Gives Nenana School funds for Computer Science
Kris Capps, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Amazon is changing student lives and futures in the high school at Nenana. The school was selected to participate in the Amazon Future Engineering program, and Amazon now funds computer science classes.

Photo: Amazon
As the Juneau School District responds to online monitoring concerns, student questions remain
Zoe Grueskin, KTOO, Juneau
This fall, the Juneau School District began using a third-party service to monitor emails and messages sent on school accounts, hoping to increase student safety. Students and parents have raised concerns about privacy and data control. The district has made adjustments, but there’s still plenty of confusion. Provided by a tech monitoring company called Bark, it’s a service the Juneau School District started using this fall to monitor what passes through student accounts.

The Juneau School District posted information about Bark for Schools on its homepage, as it appears here on Oct. 31, 2019, including FAQs and an informational video produced by Bark .
School board approves sports fund transfers, Siemens contract
Eric Stone, KRBD, Ketchikan
Ketchikan’s school board has appropriated $80,000 for sports after administrators warned that several teams were in the red. The board unanimously approved the transfer Wednesday to support football and volleyball along with boys’ soccer and boys’ basketball programs.
Administrators say the cash was drawn from accounts for vending, concessions and other surplus funds.

Ketchikan High School
Photo: KRBD
FNSBSD Considers Changing School Start Times
Robyne, KUAC, Fairbanks
More research is showing later school start times for teenagers might lead to better student performance. A presentation to the Fairbanks North Star Borough school board last night examined changing school start times to let teenagers get more sleep. The Board of Education will vote tonight on whether to keep paying for a consultant to study the possibilities.

Anchorage School Board approves $82.8 million bond proposal mostly targeting earthquake-related repairs
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage School Board narrowly approved a $82.8 million bond proposal for the April ballot after a flood of community input and debate between board members.

“This was a very tough decision for the board,” said School Board President Starr Marsett, who voted in favor of the proposal. “There was a lot of difference of opinion.”
Workers remove damaged concrete siding inside Gruening Middle School in Eagle River. Photo: Loren Holmes
Tension surrounded whether the board should add Aquarian Charter School to the bond, whether it should reopen Eagle River’s Gruening Middle School and whether it should remodel or replace Inlet View Elementary School. The board also sparred over whether to have two bond proposals or one.

Legal opinion for Anchorage School District raises concerns about proposed education ballot measure
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
A lawyer for the Anchorage School District is raising concerns about a proposed education ballot measure, describing it in a recently released legal opinion as a “well-intentioned but poorly-executed effort to address perceived problems with Alaska’s public education system.”
If enacted, the ballot measure would amend state law to provide guidelines about education issues, from class size to teacher pay to curricula. But Anchorage School Board President Starr Marsett said while she agrees with the goals in the proposal, she has concerns that they are “unfunded mandates.” She’s also concerned that the ballot measure, if approved, would strip away authority from local school boards, she said.

USDA grants nearly $1M to rural Alaska schools
Jennifer Summers, KTVA
Two school districts in Alaska are being awarded nearly half a million dollars each in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development through its Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program, according to a release from the department.
The Hydaburg School District will receive $498,076. The money will be used to put video conferencing equipment in schools on three islands, linking them to central offices and Anchorage facilities. According to the USDA the network will benefit nearly 5,000 Alaskans.

The Yukon Flats School District will receive $498,723. The money will be used for an interactive video conferencing program focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related courses.

Lower Kuskokwim School District Begins Search For New Superintendent
Greg Kim, KYUK
The Lower Kuskokwim School District Board has begun its search for a new superintendent. At last week’s special board meeting, the board voted to contract the Association of Alaska School Boards to recruit candidates for the position.
LKSD Board President Clarence Daniel says that the board plans to interview candidates over the winter and hire someone by March. This will be Dan Walker’s last year as superintendent. He started his career at LKSD as a teacher in Quinhagak.

Superintendent Search Service
Looking for a New Superintendent?

The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting successful and economical superintendent searches for over twenty years.
Our Superintendent Search Service provides expert facilitation of the entire search process, including identifying the needs of the district, recruiting candidates, conducting background searches, facilitating interviews, and all the steps to help with the hiring process. Learn about our Search Service

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions,  Contact Us

 Answer to Constitutional Quiz Question
Q: Which of the following statements is true?

  • The legislature shall establish and maintain a system of public schools open to all children of the State.
  • Alaska’s schools shall be free from sectarian control.
  • No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of religious or private educational institutions.
  • None of the above
  • All of the above

A: All of the above. (Article 7, Section 1, Alaska Constitution)

Association of Alaska School Boards | aasb.org