State of Alaska

Vol. 45 No. 24 June 16, 2017

Erin Hardin to Edit the Information Exchange

Starting July 1, Public Information Officer Erin Hardin will compile and edit the Information Exchange. Please send your school, district, or organization news briefs to Ms. Hardin at She can be reached at 907-465-6535.

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Comment on State Plan to Use Federal Library Funds

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 funds for 2018 through 2022. The 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. See to view the plan and send your comments by June 23.

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Two Libraries Offer Paid Internships for Youth

The Kenai Community Library and the Haines Public Library will participate in a connected learning internship program this summer sponsored by the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. Through its Inclusive Internship Initiative (III), PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. Over the course of the summer, interns and mentors will develop and complete a project.

The Kenai Community Library has selected Kianna Steadman as its intern for summer 2017. Ms. Steadman just graduated from Soldotna High School. The Haines Borough Public Library has selected Sarah Long and Keegan Palmieri as its interns for summer 2017. Ms. Long and Mr. Palmieri will be seniors next year at Haines High School. Additional information about the initiative can be found at

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Craig Public Library Will Hold a Summer Discussion Group

The Craig Public Library recently received a Pushing the Limits: PLACE grant to hold a discussion group this summer. According to Craig Library VISTA volunteer Meagan Harris: "Each month for three months, we will read and discuss a book related to Alaska and the themes Change, Community, and Strategy. But this is more than a book club. At the event, we will hear from NOAA scientist Gary Freitag, watch and discuss a related video, and explore our own ideas about these issues. Our goal is to come together, learn, and start some conversations." More information on the library may be found at

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State Officials Visited Nome to Talk about Education and Employment

In late May, Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson, Labor and Workforce Commissioner Heidi Drygas, and Dennis Weston and Jana Heard from the Division of Juvenile Justice visited Nome. Doug Walrath, Director of the Northwest Alaska Career and Technical Center (NACTEC) organized the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the City of Nome, Graphite One Resources, Kawerak, the Nome Job Center, Nome Public Schools, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Sitnasuak Native Corporation, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus. Learn more about the meeting.

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Federal Grants Available to Address Opioids, Obesity, and Mental Illness

School districts are eligible to apply for federal grants focused on family-centered strategies to address the opioid epidemic, childhood and adolescent obesity, and serious mental illness. Applications are due August 1 by 1 p.m. Alaska time. more about the Empowered Communities for a Healthier Nation Initiative.

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Title IIA Subgrant to Eligible Partnerships Grant Opportunity

The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) announces a federal partnership grant for teacher/administrator professional development. Grants will focus on short, intensive instructor/administrator academies in multiple content areas. These areas will be high-needs priorities as determined by individual districts. Such academies will provide teachers the opportunity to develop skills and curricula appropriate to their classrooms and communities while incorporating aspects of ongoing DEED initiatives. The request for applications is available at Search under Title IIA. The deadline is 4 p.m. on August 31.

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State Board Seeks Comment on Proposed Regulation about School Bus Standards

The proposed regulation adopts the most recent state and national standards for school buses that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2018. You can submit written comments up to 4:30 p.m. August 7, or oral comments at an audio conference hearing on September 14. See

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State Board Seeks Comment on Proposed Regulation about Assessment Scores

The proposed regulation: 1) gives the department the flexibility to require statewide assessments in English language arts and mathematics in grades three through eight and at least once in grades nine through twelve, and 2) sets the range of scores in the achievement levels of the Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools (PEAKS) assessment in English language arts and mathematics and the Alaska Alternate Assessment in science. Submit written comments by 4:30 p.m. July 12 and oral comments at an audio conference hearing on July 14. Visit online comment form.

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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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