Inside This Edition:
- Update on Alaska’s Education Challenge
- Department Recruiting for a Director of Student Learning
- Day Camp Staff Needed for Lower Kuskokwim Students Visiting UAF
- Northern Lights ABC K-8 School Nominated for Blue Ribbon School Award
- Reminders About Meeting E-Rate Deadlines
- NASA Space Place Offers Free Educational Resources
- Nominations Sought for Geoscience Teacher Leadership Academies
- State Board and General Public can Nominate State Employees for Governor’s Award
- State Board to Hold Work Session by Audio Conference on March 1
- Prince William Sound College to Offer Millwright Courses in Anchorage
- Arts Education Consortium Releases Summer Institute Schedule
- Two Early Learning WebEx’s Take Place on February 27
- Nominations Open for Principal Awards
- Bond Reimbursement and Grant Review Committee to Meet on February 28
- Eric Fry: (907) 465-2851
Update on Alaska’s Education Challenge
Governor Bill Walker has challenged Alaskans to address student achievement gaps and increase our graduation rate by making sure every student has equal opportunity to learn and succeed. To meet Alaska’s Education Challenge, the State Board of Education is leading a highly participatory process with the public. It will result in recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by year’s end.
The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) began by surveying the public starting February 1, asking Alaskans to share their ideas for topics for public education reform. To date, 775 Alaskans have responded to the survey and provided over 11,000 ideas for topics. In a survey to be published in mid-March, DEED will ask the public to rank those topics by priority. Alaskans are encouraged to express their priorities for public education reform in an online survey at https://gov.alaska.gov/education-challenge. The survey closes on February 28.
This month, Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson will invite a range of Alaskans to serve on five committees that will turn the public’s priorities into recommendations. The five committees will be formed around the State Board of Education’s five strategic objectives for Alaska’s public education system: improve student learning, ensure excellent educators, modernize the education system, inspire tribal and community ownership, and promote safety and well-being. Two members of the State Board of Education will co-chair each committee.
Each committee will consist of no more than 20 stakeholders and include diverse representation from educational stakeholders and the education community. Each committee will include parents, students, educators, legislators, tribal representatives, and educational partners. DEED will reach out to stakeholder associations and communities to nominate Alaskans for specific seats on each committee. Additionally, once committee topics have been determined, DEED will request presentations to committees from the education community.
Committees will begin meeting in late spring and continue through September, with most meetings scheduled for the school year. The State Board of Education will invite public comment on recommendations. The public will be able to follow the process and participate through Alaska’s Education Challenge website: https://gov.alaska.gov/education-challenge. All meetings will be open to the public, and meeting documents will be made available online.
Department Recruiting for a Director of Student Learning
The Department of Education and Early Development is seeking a Director of Student Learning, who will be responsible, either directly or through division staff, for overseeing the work of the Deputy Director, the Rural Education Coordinator, an Education Associate, and four teams working to ensure that each student in Alaska is offered an education that meets the state standards, and has the supports necessary to achieve excellence in that education. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Alaska time on March 15. The State of Alaska is an EEO/ADA employer. Individuals requiring accommodations should call 1-800-587-0430 or (907) 465-4095 in Juneau or (907) 465-2815 (TTY). For the complete recruitment notice, see https://education.alaska.gov/news/StudentLearningDirector.docx.
Day Camp Staff Needed for Lower Kuskokwim Students Visiting UAF
The Alaska Humanities Forum is seeking youth-oriented people who can join Take Wing Alaska as day camp staff for a campus immersion this spring; 20 high school juniors from Lower Kuskokwim communities will explore postsecondary education options while staying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The immersion dates are March 27-April 1, and April 10-15, with training days on March 24 and April 7, respectively. Submit a completed application, a resume, three professional references, and a letter of interest by February 24. View more information.
Northern Lights ABC K-8 School Nominated for Blue Ribbon School Award
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has nominated Northern Lights ABC K-8 School in the Anchorage School District for the U.S. Department of Education’s prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award for 2017. Northern Lights was previously recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2004. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors schools that are high-performing or are schools with a high percentage of disadvantaged students who show significant improvement on statewide assessments. School performance is demonstrated by student scores on statewide assessments in English language arts and math. Northern Lights is nominated as a high-performing school.
“Northern Lights’ excellent staff, strong parental involvement, and multiple community partnerships add up to an exemplary public school,” said Alaska Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson. “I am honored to nominate Northern Lights for a National Blue Ribbon Award.”
A nominated school prepares an extensive application, including a narrative of its vision, community and strengths; descriptions of curriculum, instruction, professional development, and leadership; and student assessment data. A nominated high-performing school must be in the top 15th percentile among all students and in the top 40th percentile in disadvantaged subgroups in meeting standards on the most recent statewide assessment, as compared to similar schools assessing the same grade levels. The disadvantaged subgroups are Alaska Native/American Indian, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency. In nominating schools, the state also looks at participation rates in assessments, attendance rates, and graduation rates where applicable.
Northern Lights ranked first among similar schools in the achievement of Alaska Native/American Indian students, economically disadvantaged students, and English learners. The school ranked second among similar schools in the achievement of students with disabilities. Its attendance rate is nearly 96 percent. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the awardees in September 2017. For more information about National Blue Ribbon Schools, see http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html.
Reminders About Meeting E-Rate Deadlines
School districts must update their profiles in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal (https://portal.usac.org/suite/) prior to the opening of the FY2017 Federal Communications Commission filing window. The deadline for updating applicant profiles is February 26 at 7:59 p.m. Alaska time. Universal Service Administrative Co. guidance for updating EPC applicant profiles can be found at: http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=746.
The FCC/USF E-rate Form 471 filing window will open at 8:00 a.m. Alaska time on February 27 and will close at 7:59 p.m. Alaska time on May 11. All schools and libraries seeking USF/E-rate support for the upcoming school year must submit applications during this time. Valerie Oliver, the State of Alaska E-rate Consultant for Schools and Libraries, is hosting a webinar on completion of Form 471; she and maintains a list serve of tips and reminders for Alaska applicants. You can contact her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASA Space Place Offers Free Educational Resources
NASA Space Place offers a host of free resources and activities for parents, teachers, and students. See https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/ and https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/menu/parents-and-educators/.
Nominations Sought for Geoscience Teacher Leadership Academies
The annual American Geosciences Institute (AGI)/ExxonMobil Exploration Teacher Leadership Academies are seeking nominations for participants. Each year, K-5 and middle school teachers meet in Houston, Texas, for week-long academies, where they learn Earth science content, explore hands-on STEM activities, and gain real-world science experiences. These academies prepare teachers with teaching techniques and resources they can share with their colleagues and students.
Funding from ExxonMobil and AGI covers academy-related costs for the teachers, including travel to Houston, meals, lodging, and educational materials. Participants interact with their peers from other states, develop skills and knowledge for teaching Earth and space science, and develop plans for presenting effective teacher workshops.
Organizers encourage science supervisors, principals, science coaches, and other administrators to nominate teachers by the priority review date, which is March 10, 2017. They anticipate having space for 25 participants in each academy; they will accept applications until all spaces are filled.
State Board and General Public can Nominate State Employees for Governor’s Award
The Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award program to recognize state employees is accepting nominations up to March 1. The categories are Co-Worker Excellence, Customer Service Excellence, Exceptional Performance, Crisis Responder, Innovation in Cost-Savings, and Leadership (the last-named excludes commissioners and deputy commissioners). In many categories, you can nominate an individual or team of at least two people. Nominations are welcome from the public. All nominees must be state employees. See http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliawards/.
State Board to Hold Work Session by Audio Conference on March 1
The State Board of Education and Early Development will hold a work session on March 1 by audio conference originating at the Commissioner’s Office boardroom, second floor, 801West 10th Street, Juneau. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. The board will not take public comment. The public is invited to listen to the audio conference, which is expected to last one hour, by calling 1-800-315-6338 and using access code 16107. The purpose of the work session is to receive an update from Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson on department activity. Persons with disabilities who need accommodations to participate should contact Melissa Bell at 907-465-2802 or e-mail email@example.com at least five days before the accommodation is needed.
Prince William Sound College to Offer Millwright Courses in Anchorage
Prince William Sound College in Valdez will expand its millwright program to the Anchorage campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Millwrights fix, maintain, and move industrial machinery. Starting millwrights can earn $70,000 a year and more. Prince William Sound College offers occupational endorsements and an associate of applied science degree in industrial technology with a millwright emphasis. Some of its faculty will offer at least Millwright I and II courses in Anchorage next year. See http://pwsc.alaska.edu/industrial-technology/.
Arts Education Consortium Releases Summer Institute Schedule
The Alaska Arts Education Consortium has announced plans for the 2017 Summer Arts Education Institutes. The consortium has been offering various trainings since 2004 and as many past participants agree: “Oh man! This was the most fun ever! I want to go to an Arts Institute every single year! .... Please don't ever stop doing this. It's so important, so useful and will make students so happy, enriched.” See www.akartsed.org.
Two Early Learning WebEx’s Take Place on February 27
Alaska Developmental Profile Fall Reports. Monday 2/27 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Join by phone 1-855-244-8681 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada) 1-650-479-3207 Call-in toll number (US/Canada).
DEED Early Learning Updates. Monday 2/27 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Join by phone 1-855-244-8681 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada), 1-650-479-3207 Call-in toll number (US/Canada).
Nominations Open for Principal Awards
The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals is accepting nominations for yearly principal awards. Nominations can be made by anyone in the community or school. Nominations are due February 24. Contact Kim Bautista, AAESP Vice President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bond Reimbursement and Grant Review Committee to Meet on February 28
The department’s Bond Reimbursement and Grant Review Committee will meet on February 28 in Juneau at the Michael J. Burns Building (810 W. 10th Street). The meeting will be held from 9:30 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. in the state board room on the first floor. The agenda, teleconference access information, and meeting packet will be available online at https://education.alaska.gov/Facilities/BRGR/ after February 15. Topics will include department and committee reports; review of proposed changes to, and adoption of, the FY2019 capital improvement project application; and revisions to publications relating to school facilities, including the Capital Project Administration Handbook and Project Delivery Method Handbook. The public is welcome to attend in person or via teleconference.