State of Alaska

Vol. 45 No. 22 June 2, 2017

Jethro Jones of Kodiak Named a Digital Principal of the Year

Jethro Jones, principal of Kodiak Middle School, has been named one of three 2017 Digital Principals of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The award honors school leaders who have excelled at effectively using technology to support teaching, learning, and school management in order to drive student success.

"Jethro Jones' goal is to ensure that students have a nimble educational experience, with the help of the best technology that they need,” the association said. “He initiated innovative school schedules to incorporate STEM-, CTE-, and arts-based exploratory classes as well as independent study. Because Kodiak Middle School is near a Coast Guard base, Jones has used FaceTime or Skype to connect students moving from other coastal U.S. cities to students at Kodiak, in an effort to make a move to Alaska less intimidating. Aside from being the driving force behind technology integration at the school, Jones is also the host of Transformative Principal, a podcast featuring interviews with principals, leaders, and influencers who help improve K–12 education throughout the world."

Mr. Jones will receive an expenses-paid trip to present at the 2018 NASSP National Conference and access to a three-part highly interactive online leadership training program, the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders. See nassp.org/dpoy.

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Draft Plan for Federal Library Funding in Alaska is Available for Comment

This month, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries and the Alaska State Library need your help to finalize the Alaska State Plan for 2018-2022. The draft plan guides how the State Library will spend federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds for 2018 through 2022. LSTA funds impact many statewide library programs and services and are used for continuing education travel grants for library staff and competitive project grants for libraries. To receive a copy of the state plan and to comment on it, contact Patience Frederiksen by June 23. If your time is limited, you may want to focus on the three goals (pages 8-17), with objectives and activities that support each goal. These pages are the heart of the state plan.

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Navy Offers Digital Library to Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard Families

The U.S. Navy has a digital library that many people in Alaska may be able to take advantage of. It’s called the Navy MWR Digital Library and is available at NavyMWRDigitalLibrary.org. Digital customers enjoy e-books and audiobooks, foreign language learning, test prep, research resources that support lifelong learning and professional, and recreational reading. The library can be used by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, including: active-duty personnel, reservists, retirees, dependents of active-duty, reservists and retirees, Naval Academy Midshipmen, DoN Delayed Entry Program Personnel, and civilian employees.

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Museum of the North Exhibit Features Artwork about Polar Bears

An exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks tells the story of an Alaska woman whose love of polar bears and passion for the North led to an extraordinary collection. Polar Passion contains a select portion of the artwork that Grace Schaible has collected over the past several decades. A longtime Alaska lawyer, as well as the state’s first female attorney general, Ms. Schaible has donated hundreds of works of art to the museum. She also amassed one of the largest collections of polar bear artwork in the world, including hundreds of sculptures, prints and paintings. Another feature of the exhibit is the story behind the “Ice Walker” Raven’s Tail robe woven by Sitka artist Teri Rofkar. Ms. Schaible commissioned the piece based on her friendship with the artist, even though polar bears are not a typical Tlingit theme. The exhibit includes footage of Ms. Rofkar creating the robe and video of the 2015 Festival of Native Arts, when the robe was worn on stage by a traditional dancer. See uaf.edu/museum/exhibits/special-exhibits/polar-passion.

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Documentary about Teacher of the Year Highlights Rewards and Challenges

The National Humanities Center has launched the 2017-18 America in Class webinar series with an exclusive streaming event of Teacher of the Year, a new documentary that offers a poignant look at the teaching profession through the eyes of North Carolina high school social studies teacher Angie Scoli. More than a first-person look at the rewards and challenges of teaching, the film asks us to consider the ways that our culture and media expects educators to be either “heroes” or “hacks” -- and the struggle for our teaching faculty to find the right balance in their lives. Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Starting on June 1, you can register for a code that gives you access, for a charge, to the full-length documentary for a 48-hour window. You will be registered to attend a panel discussion of the film scheduled for August 2 that will address teacher support and professional growth. As well, the National Humanities Center will make available a school or site license to showcase the film with your faculty, your school administration, your parent and advocacy groups, and with anyone in your community who values education. Review charges and register for your viewing online.

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Department is Recruiting for Three Positions

The Department of Education and Early Development is recruiting for three positions:

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Listen to Meetings of Alaska’s Education Challenge Committees

Audio conferenced meetings of Alaska’s Education Challenge committees will start next week. The public is encouraged to listen to a livestream of meeting audio at akl.tv. Here is the master schedule. More information, including meeting agendas, will be posted to the main education challenge webpage. The committees are developing recommendations to transform Alaska’s public schools. Governor Bill Walker introduced Alaska’s Education Challenge in his State of the State Address in January. He challenged Alaskans to establish an efficient, sustainable, and comprehensive system to provide an excellent education for every student.

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Title IIB Math & Science Partnership Grant Opportunity

The Department of Education and Early Development announces a federal partnership grant for teacher/administrator professional development in science and mathematics. Two grants will be awarded—one to focus on science standards, and one to focus on math practices. Both grants will highlight curriculum development and cross-curricular integration. Projects will prepare Alaska teachers and school administrators to develop strategies, units, and ways of thinking that incorporate math and science principles to further career and college readiness. Proposals are due June 16. Download the RFP. Please direct all questions to Bjørn Wolter at bjorn.wolter@alaska.gov.

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Seminar about Resilient Educators set for June in Girdwood

Brightways Learning is presenting a seminar about resilient educators. It is set for June 12 & 13 at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The registration fee is $249. One continuing education credit is available from the University of Alaska Anchorage; the fee must be paid by the participant.

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State Board to Meet by Audioconference June 7-8

The State Board of Education and Early Development will hold a regularly scheduled meeting by audio conference on June 7-8, originating from the first-floor board room at 801 West 10th Street, Juneau. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. June 7 with a work session and resume at 9:00 a.m. June 8 to continue the work session and hold the business meeting. Download the June meeting packet.

The board will take public comment on agenda and non-agenda items starting at approximately 9:15 a.m. June 7. Comment at this oral hearing is limited to three minutes per person and five minutes per group. Public comment can be made for this meeting, during this time only, by calling 1-844-586-9085 if you are outside of Juneau. For participation from Juneau, call 586-9085.

This meeting will be streamed through the Legislative Information Office over alaskalegislature.tv/ (audio only) beginning at 9:00 a.m. on June 7 and at 9:00 a.m. June 8. Click on the meeting name to listen to the proceedings. When public comment is over, the meeting will continue to be broadcast at the above web site. Oral comment also can be made by visiting your local Legislative Information Office (LIO). For more information about LIO’s, call 907-465-4648.

The purpose of the meeting is to hold a work session and a business meeting. Topics at the work session include an update on the state plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, an update on Alaska’s Education Challenge, an update on the joint UA regents/state board committee, a discussion of the board’s procedures for self-evaluation and the board’s bylaws, updates on legislative and budget topics, three proposed regulation packages to go out for public comment (school bus standards, cut scores for statewide assessments, and the definition of vocational education), adoption of proposed regulation packages (pre-elementary, staff physical exams, and career and college readiness exams).

Topics at the business meeting include the regulations listed above, appointments to board subcommittees, selection of meeting dates and locations, selection of officers, a regularly scheduled executive session to evaluate the commissioner, standing reports on the department’s divisions, the commissioner’s report, appointments to the Mt. Edgecumbe High School advisory board, and approval of the minutes of the March 27-29 meeting and May 3 work session.

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