State of Alaska

Vol. 45 No. 23 June 9, 2017

State Board Proposes Score Ranges for New State Assessments

The State Board of Education and Early Development, meeting June 7-8 by audio conference, adopted three regulation projects and sent out for public comment three proposed regulation projects.

To conform to state statute, the board adopted regulations that will limit the department’s health and safety oversight of pre-elementary schools to those that receive public funding, such as programs in school districts and Head Start centers. Private schools, which will no longer be overseen by the department, will continue to be overseen by the Department of Health and Social Services.

To conform to recent state statutes, the board repealed requirements that school district staff undergo a physical examination periodically, and requirements that students take a career and college readiness assessment as a condition of high school graduation.

The board sent out for public comment proposed regulations that: 1) set the range of students’ scores in the four achievement categories of new statewide assessments of English language arts and mathematics; 2) set the range of students’ scores in the four achievement categories of science assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities; and 3) allow the state the flexibility to assess students annually in English language arts and mathematics in grades three through eight and at least once in grades nine through twelve. Current regulations specify grades three through ten.

The board also sent out for public comment proposed regulations to: 1) adopt the most recent national and state safety standards for school buses, and 2) expand the definition of vocational education to include grades seven and eight, as well as nine through twelve. The latter proposal allows school districts to use state and federal vocational education funds in grades seven and eight.

The board appointed Mary Huntington of Koyuk and Michelle D. Martin of Juneau to the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Advisory Board for three-year terms.

The next meeting of the board will be an audio conference on July 14, starting at 8:00 a.m. to consider the proposed regulations regarding assessment, referenced above. The comment form. The packet for the June 7-8 meeting.

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Department of Education and Department of Law Analyzing Effects of Shutdown

Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson announced June 8 that the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) is working with the Department of Law to analyze the potential effects of a government shutdown, and is developing a contingency plan for a shutdown of its services if a fully funded state budget is not passed before July 1. Governor Walker is hopeful the legislature will reach a compromise so this shutdown does not occur. But out of an abundance of caution, he wants Alaskans to understand how services provided by DEED would be potentially at risk.

The following services are potentially at risk of being shut down, delayed, or interrupted if the legislature fails to pass a fully funded budget before July 1:

  • Early learning and Head Start programs, and federal Title programs and grants that support the state’s most vulnerable students
  • Processing of teacher certifications
  • The operation of Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Professional Teaching Practices Commission, the Alaska State Library, the Alaska State Archives, the Alaska State Museum, and the Sheldon Jackson Museum
  • Operation of the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building in Juneau, which includes the Alaska State Museum. The summer season is the busiest time for visitors, and closure of the facility would result in a reduction of fees collected as well as affect scheduled events and standing agreements with tourism companies
  • State and federal data reporting, including statewide assessment results
  • implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • and Alaska’s Education Challenge timelines would be negatively affected.

Minimal staff likely would continue to work to meet constitutionally and federally mandated requirements, such as payments to formula funding and summer food programs for children, and administrative and fiscal support to ensure essential services of DEED and the State Board of Education continue, such as closing out fiscal year 2017 obligations and state facilities maintenance. The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and the Alaska Student Loan Corporation would likely maintain minimal staffing to meet federal and bond trust loan requirements.

"I am hopeful that the legislature will pass a fully funded budget before July 1 so that DEED can continue to provide valuable and important services to support our state’s students and their families," said Commissioner Johnson.

This year’s preparations for a shutdown of government services are different from those of 2015, when the legislature had passed a partially funded budget. This year, the legislature has not appropriated any money to be spent on government services. As a government shutdown in Alaska is unprecedented, Department of Law is examining what money could be spent to continue vital state services if the legislature has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to pass a budget.

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Career and Technical Education Conference Announces Keynote Speaker

The Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education announced that Dr. Britt Andreatta is the keynote speaker for the 2017 Professional Development Conference. You can register now for early bird rates and reserve your hotel with Anchorage Marriot Downtown’s special group rate. Dr. Andreatta is an internationally recognized expert in leadership and learning. Drawing on her background in leadership, psychology, education, and the human sciences, she understands how to unlock the best in people, helping organizations rise to their potential.

Dr. Andreatta has more than 25 years of experience consulting with businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations. She has published several titles on learning and leadership including Wired to Grow: Harness the Power of Brain Science to Master Any Skill and Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model for Driving Success. Dr. Andreatta has served as professor and dean at the University of California, Antioch University, and several graduate schools. She regularly consults with executives and organizations on how to maximize their full potential. See

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State Libraries, Archives and Museums Prepare for Exhibit of the 1867 Transfer

The Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums is gearing up for an exhibit related to the 150- year anniversary of Alaska’s transfer from Russia to the United States. The exhibit will feature significant maps, photographs, documents, and objects related to the 1867 transfer, most of which will be exhibited for the first time. The exhibit will be held in the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building in Juneau this fall.

Materials going on exhibit include rare paper documents related to the 1867 transfer, which have undergone conservation treatment and repair by a professional conservator. A grant through the Alaska Office of History & Archeology helped bring a professional paper conservator to Alaska to work on these historic documents. The highlight of the exhibit is an eight foot map of Sitka, drawn in 1867 for the transfer. Other materials include documents penned by Chief Administrator of the Russian America Company, Prince Dmitry Petrovich Maksutov.

The exhibit will include the nineteenth-century painting Signing of the Treaty of Alaska by Emanuel Leutze. The German-born artist is the creator of the well-known painting that depicts General George Washington crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution. Leutze’s Signing of the Treaty of Alaska remains one of the most iconic historical recreations of Alaska’s history. The exhibit will open October 6, 2017, and run through the month.

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Department is Recruiting for Architectural Assistant

The Department of Education and Early Development is recruiting for an Architectural Assistant.

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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 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

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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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