Alaska Council of School Administrators

Education Bulletin
Volume 23 Number 1, May 2017
Alaska Superintendents Association
Alaska Staff Development Network
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals
Alaska Association of School Business Officials
Leadership, Unity & Advocacy for Public Education
Mary McMahon, ACSA & AASSP President

The Legislative Fly-In this year, from April 8th to 11th, came at just the right time for us to join forces and stand united for public education. The highlight of our time together was the fact that we, Alaska’s educational leaders, were successful in speaking with a united voice and message.

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Sean Dusek, ACSA Past President & ASA President

Great leaders learn from past mistakes and know what is good for all people.  This comment came from students at Colony Middle School on what great leaders do to move organizations and society forward.  This impressive comment by eighth graders shared by Principal Mary McMahon during the recent ACSA presentation to the Joint Legislative Education Committee meeting really made an impact.  It is particularly appropriate in light of the difficult decisions our legislators must make as our State grapples with a challenging fiscal reality.

Preparing Today’s Students for an Unfathomable Future
Deanna Beck, ACSA President-Elect & AAESP President

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to represent AAESP in conversations with our legislators in both Washington, D.C., and in Juneau. During our visits, it was reinforced time and time again that we are in a time of change due to different budget priorities and constraints. At the same time, we are discovering our new path in the new world of ESSA.

ACSA Unity
Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, ACSA/ASA/AASSP Executive Director

Before moving to the usual end of session issues, let me begin with some reflections on the legislative and budget process.

At this point in my career, I have been around 20+ end of session negotiations.  They are mostly familiar exercises in behind the scenes deal making coupled with some level of commitment to principles and priorities.

Alaska Superintendents Association
Communication is the Key to Modernization 
Karen Gaborik, ASA President-Elect

When it comes to leading transformative, system-wide change across an entire school district, it quickly becomes apparent how critical the role of communication is at every level of the community. 

Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals
No Room for Negativity on a Championship Team for Change
Dan Carstens, AASSP President-Elect

My experience in Juneau during the April Legislative Fly-In with ACSA brought me back to my coaching days at West Valley High School in Fairbanks. Sometimes, for kids, the wrestling season feels like an Alaskan winter: long and hard. 

Alaska Association of School Business Officials
Holly Holman, ALASBO President

We all look forward to springtime in Alaska, but it can be a stressful time in school business, with budgets that aren’t balanced and the fiscal crisis that is leaving all of us wringing our hands with worry about next school year. However, I was encouraged by the positive attitudes and passion for education that I observed among our fellow members of ACSA attending the Legislative Fly-In, April 8th - 11th!

Afterburner: Unique Training During ASBO’s Executive Leadership Forum
Amy Lujan, ALASBO Executive Director

During ASBO’s February Executive Leadership Forum (ELF), participants were treated to a unique training with Afterburner, a consultant group of former military leaders who specialize in Flawless Execution tools.  I was skeptical at first about how tools used by fighter pilots could translate to school business, but I found their approach and patience with helping us apply these concepts to our issues to be fascinating.
Why are Internal Controls So Important?
Alicia Campbell, Mat-Su School District

The practice of observing internal controls is a fundamental part of any successful Business Department.  Internal controls in your school district should be designed to:
Prevent error and fraud
Detect error that may have already happened, but before the error is posted to the financials
Create a segregation of duties to ensure that more than one person is required  to complete financial processes
Reduce risks to your organization

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Businesses are Champions for Children!
Competency Based Learning: Helping Students to Become Fearless  by Joel Ramirez, Odysseyware

As a consultant, I have worked with many schools implementing a Competency Based Learning (CBL) model using sets of questions that may seem more like a therapy session. Probing questions as to why teachers are implementing a personalized learning solution are followed with staff responses, such as “We have low performers,” “Nothing else is working,” and the infamous “Our principal told us we had to!” Rarely is there commonality or a unified voice. With the increase in demand and popularity for a Competency Based Learning model, district administrators are faced with the question of where to begin. Programs such as Odysseyware guide administrators through the process as we emphasize partnership, as well as product, to assist with personalized learning solutions.

Alaska Staff Development Network
The Alaska Staff Development Network is a professional education program designed for Alaska's teachers and school administrators.  Check for a complete list of all of our courses and events.

Alaska School Leadership Institute
For Rural and Small School Leaders
May 22-24, Anchorage Downtown Hilton Hotel

Effective school and district leaders constantly cultivate the skills, capabilities, and practices necessary to collaborate with teachers, analyze achievement data, identify and set goals, influence the delivery of instruction, and manage the change process. How leaders think about their work and the manner in which they respond to others within their sphere of influence shapes the culture of our schools and districts.

Topics for the Alaska School Leadership Institute the year include: cultivating the leadership dispositions that grow a positive school culture, providing effective feedback, building and supporting a highly effective system with Mathematics, and the impacts and opportunities of the new ESSA for rural school systems.Click Here for More Information and to Register Online

Save the dates!  The 2018 RTI/Effective Instruction Conference is scheduled for January 26-28 at the Denaina Center in Anchorage.  Discover how to translate research to practice, focus your efforts on using the most influential instructional practices, and learn about the critical impact of collective efficacy on student learning.

New Teacher? These classes meet multicultural education and Alaska history requirements for Alaska teacher certification. 

Communicating Across Cultures with Father Michael Oleksa  (3 credits, 500-level) 
Join the Rev. Dr. Michael Oleksa, a leader in the development of cross-cultural communication in Alaska and student of Native cultures for this blended learning multicultural education course.  This course meets at the BP Center in Anchorage on  May 30, 31, and  June 1, 2017.  Online follow up work due  July 24, 2017
For more information or to register:
Alaska Alive with Father Michael Oleksa   (3 credits, 500-level)
Join the Rev. Dr. Michael Oleksa for an exploration of the culture of the Native peoples of Alaska and the connections between environment and emigrations.  Course meets at the BP Center in Anchorage on  June 1, 2, and 3, 2017.  Online follow up work due  July 24, 2017.
For more information or to register: 

Alaska Alive - Online, distance, asynchronous class, start anytime!  Participants have a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year to complete the class.  This is a multimedia course that meets EED certification and recertification requirements in Alaska Studies.
Click here for more information

Creating Culturally Responsive Schools - Online, distance, asynchronous class, start anytime!  Participants have a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year to complete the class.  This is a multimedia course that meets EED certification and recertification requirements in Multicultural Education.  Click here for more information

It's Your Ticket To Work
John M. Sedor, ACSA Special Projects 

Tighter budgets will require tougher decision making. Tougher decision making may result in various school constituencies being frustrated with district and school administrators. If you agree with the above two statements, you may want to be aware of the potential PTPC ripple effect. The Professional Teaching Practices Commission sets out the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. It is problematic for several reasons and could be a significant bump in the road where difficult but necessary decision making must occur. 

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ASA Incoming Superintendent Induction Program
Peggy Cowan, ASA New and Incoming Superintendent Coordinator

Two years ago, the ASA Executive Director and Board expanded the support to new superintendents and launched the Alaska Superintendents Association Incoming Superintendent Induction Program. The program was spurred by ASA’s leadership long term support of our colleagues and the continuing high turnover rate of Alaskan superintendents. The program provides an opportunity for expanded collegiality with peers and professional development during the critical first and second year of a superintendent’s new position.

Guest Columnists
Commissioner Comments
Dr. Michael Johnson, Commissioner of Education Guest Columnist

Comments presented by Commissioner at the Alaska’s Education Challenge meeting on April 20, 2017, at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage
Philosophy of Education
Dr. Mark Miller, Superintendent, Juneau School District

I was recently asked to explain, in 1,000 words or less, my philosophy of education. Either formally or informally, education philosophy has always existed. The Native Elders and Greek Philosophers thousands of years ago and more modern thinkers like Horace Mann and Allan Bloom all had their ideas on how best to educate children. While I can’t put myself in that level of company, here is what I believe.

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2017 Educational Association Events
National Principals Conference, July 9-11, 2017 Philadelphia 
ALASBO Summer Leadership – July 21-23, 2017 – Sitka, AK
ASA/DEED Summer Meeting, July 29-31, 2017 Juneau

ASA Fall Meeting, September 20-23, 2017 Kenai
ASBO Annual Meeting and Expo – September 22-25, 2017, Denver, CO

Alaska Principals' Conference, October 21-24, 2017 Anchorage

ALASBO Annual Conference – December 3-6, 2017, Anchorage, AK
      2017 National Principals Conference
      Click here for more information and to register
      BP Alaska Principals Foundation
      2017 Scholarship
      BP has partnered with the Alaska Principals Foundation to award 25 graduating seniors across Alaska each with a one-time $4,000 scholarship. Since the BP Principals Scholarship began 30 years ago, BP has contributed over $3.5 million to support the continuing education of deserving students.  Congratulations to the 2017 recipients!

      Jayne Hanna, Nuniwarmiut School, Commissioner's Scholarship Winner 
      Carly Dennis, Chugiak High School
      Kira Hamilton, Robert Service High School
      Sierra Imoe Wasilla High School
      Luke Meiwes, South Anchorage High School
      Gretta Pickett, West Anchorage High School
      Ezekiel Eakin, Kotzebue High School
      Jayden Wilson, Frank A. Degnan High School
      John Jones, Interior Distance Education of Alaska
      Chance Shank, Dot Lake
      Brian Dusek, Soldotna High School
      Emily Koziczkowski, Kenai Central High School
      Matthew Minium, Nikiski Middle/High School
      Ruth Cvancara, Family Partnership Charter School
      Emily Garlock, Steller Secondary
      Joshua Luff, Eagle River High School
      Cameron Edwards, Ketchikan High School
      James Henderson, Metlakatla High School
      Justin Sleppy, Thunder Mountain High School
      Mercy Alsworth, Tanalian School
      Katie Beans, Andreafski High School
      Taylor Holman, Unalaska High School
      Colton Mack, Sand Point School
      Payton Martin, Palmer High School
      Isaac Smoldon, Houston High School  
      ACSA Board of Directors and Staff

      Mary McMahon, President – AASSP, ACSA
      Colony Middle School    

      Sean Dusek, President – ASA, ACSA Past President
      Kenai Peninsula Bor. School District

      Deanna Beck, President – AAESP, ACSA President-Elect
      Northwood ABC Elementary School

      Dr. Karen Gaborik, President-Elect - ASA
      Fairbanks School District

      Kerry Boyd, Secretary - ASA
      Yukon-Koyukuk School District

      Dan Carstens, President-Elect – AASSP
      Nikiski Middle High School

      Mario Gatto, Alaska State Coordinator- AASSP
      Lathrop High School

      Rod Morrison - AASSP Past President
      Gilson Middle School

      Kim Bautista Vice President - AAESP
      Susitna Elementary

      Jennifer Schmidt - Past President
      Scenic Park Elementary

      Holly Holman, President – ALASBO
      Unalaska City School District

      Cassee Olin, President-Elect - ALASBO
      Sitka School District

      Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady
      Executive Director,
      Office & Membership Services Manager
      Kathy Blanc
      ASDN Administrator
      Kelly Tonsmeire
      Grant Director

      Ceann Murphy
      Program Coordinator, ASDN

      John Sedor
      Special Projects Director

      Peggy Cowan
      ASA New and Incoming Superintendent Coordinator

      John Pile
      Executive Director, AAESP
      Amy Lujan

      Executive Director, ALASBO 
      Alaska Council of School Administrators