Inside This Edition:
- Alaska State Museums Win National Award
- Lisa Vrvilo named AAESP National Distinguished Principal for 2017
- Middle Schooler in Juneau Wins Writing Contest about Kindness
- Listen to Meetings of Alaska’s Education Challenge Committees
- UA to Develop Scholarships for Prospective Secondary STEM Teachers
- Cross Content Conference Set for Fairbanks this Fall
- Application Period Open for Alaska Native Education Grants
- Department Seeks Educators for Alignment Study
- Fourth R Healthy Relationships Curriculum Teacher Training
- State Board to Hold Work Session on May 24
- Request for the K-12 Talent Pool Nominations
- Opportunity to Comment on Draft of ESSA State Plan is Extended to May 28
- Title IIB Math & Science Partnership Grant Opportunity
- Openings Still Available at Summer Arts Institutes for Teachers
- Seminar about Resilient Educators set for June in Girdwood
- Opportunity for Title IIA Subgrants to Eligible Partnerships
- Eric Fry: (907) 465-2851
Alaska State Museums Win National Award
The federally funded Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service to the Alaska State Museums. It is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. The Alaska State Museums comprise the Alaska State Museum in Juneau and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka. The Alaska State Museums, which are part of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, also provide training and consulting services to museums throughout the state. The goal is to help local museums develop the services and programs that best meet the needs of their communities.
“These institutions play a critical role as community catalysts and provide vital resources that drive economic development, foster community well-being, and spark neighborhood revitalization,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Alaska State Museums hold 39,000 natural history and cultural objects that delineate Alaska history. During fiscal year 2016, the Alaska State Museums hosted 175,000 visitors, answered 3,100 reference questions, and trained more than 500 museum staff from other institutions. The Alaska State Museums support the growth, development, and excellence of museums and tribal cultural centers by providing advanced technical support, onsite consultations and assessments, administering grants, writing grants to support professional development, coordinating an internship program, and continuously engaging constituents through online media.
“The Alaska State Museums’ service to visitors and communities is, at its core, about relationships,” said Patience Frederiksen, Director of the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums. “The impact the museum makes in helping the visitor understand the diverse Alaska communities they are visiting, or the professional development opportunities offered small museums and tribal cultural centers, is both positive and long-lasting because these relationships are very personal and resilient.”
“The Alaska State Museums are a vital part of the educational mission of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, serving visitors and residents, adults and children,” said Dr. Michael Johnson, Alaska Education Commissioner. “The museums conduct exciting programs for students and artists on site. The museums’ digital reach extends into every school by making available online tours of exhibits and teacher resources.”
Attending the award ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer will be Patience Frederiksen, Director of the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, and a community member who will represent all members served by the Alaska State Museums. As part of its award, the Alaska State Museums will receive $5,000 and a visit from StoryCorps, a nonprofit that records the stories of Americans. Each conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress; some are featured on NPR’s Morning Edition program. For more information, visit museums.alaska.gov/ or imls.gov.
Lisa Vrvilo named AAESP National Distinguished Principal for 2017
The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals (AAESP) announced that its National Distinguished Principal for 2017 is Lisa Vrvilo, principal of Cottonwood Creek Elementary School in Wasilla. The 2017 NDP Celebration marks the 33rd year that the National Association of Elementary School Principals has presented this prestigious award.
Lisa Vrvilo was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals. A graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage with a master’s degree in educational leadership, Ms. Vrvilo also holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Oregon, Eugene.
Ms. Vrvilo has served as principal of the largest elementary school in Matanuska-Susitna Borough for the past ten years, leading over 500 students and staff by example each day. A principal colleague says Ms. Vrvilo’s “presence in her school radiates positivity, and she is always on the move serving others every minute of every day.”
She put the word action in their school name, when in 2012 her school’s proposal to become a STEAM optional program was adopted by the district. Since then, under her leadership, the innovation continues to grow with continuous professional development for teachers and 1:1 technology implementation for the students. Ms. Vrvilo will travel to Washington, D.C., in October for two days of activities to honor and bring well-deserved recognition to the elementary educators selected by their respective states.
“AAESP believes that Lisa Vrvilo is well deserving of the National Distinguished Principals’ award. We are proud to acknowledge her leadership and commitment to Alaska’s children representing Alaska’s Elementary Principals,” said AAESP President Deanna Beck.
Middle Schooler in Juneau Wins Writing Contest about Kindness
Leora Murray, a student at Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau, will present activity gift bags for patients in the medical-surgical department at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Her school counselor will be present as well as representatives from the Year of Kindness and hospital leadership. Eleven-year-old Leora won a national kindness writing contest and was awarded $250 to spend on a community need. She chose to provide gifts for Bartlett patients.
“Floyd Dryden has had a kindness theme for each month of this school year, in which students participated in very intentional acts of kindness at school, home and the community,” said school counselor Kelly Hansen.
Last winter Hansen asked students to define "What is Kindness" as part of a Think Kindness campaign. The organization, Think Kindness, gave the cash award to the student who had the most creative definition. Twenty students from Floyd Dryden submitted definitions of kindness, and three students were in the top five nationally. Leora’s “What is Kindness” poem was chosen over 75 other schools throughout the nation.
What is Kindness?
Kindness is an ocean wave of warmth crashing over everything, and nothing is left dry.
Kindness tastes like a well-baked cookie; sweet and soft.
Kindness spreads like a cold, but it is the best illness.
Kindness feels like a warm spring day./Kindness is like an invisible fire, warming everyone's heart.
Kindness elevates everyone's spirit, sending it past outer space and into infinity.
Kindness is the glue that holds us together.
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. View the master schedule online. More information, including meeting agendas, will be posted to the main webpage at gov.alaska.gov/administration-focus/alaskas-education-challenge/.
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. The ultimate goal is for students to graduate high school ready for career training and college, whether in the workforce, the military, apprenticeships, technical education programs, or associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs.
Alaska’s Education Challenge builds on the work of the State Board of Education and Early Development, which identified five priorities for public education: improve student learning, ensure excellent educators, modernize the education system, inspire tribal and community ownership of educational excellence, and promote safety and well-being. For each of the priorities a committee of up to 20 parents, students, educators, tribal members, legislators and others — co-chaired by State Board of Education members — will meet periodically into September. The committees will submit their recommendations to the State Board of Education, which will prepare a report for the Governor and Legislature by year-end.
UA to Develop Scholarships for Prospective Secondary STEM Teachers
A University of Alaska faculty team will develop a new scholarship program to support Alaskans who want to become secondary science, technology, engineering and math teachers. A $74,000 National Science Foundation grant will allow the team to build the plan for a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the University of Alaska. The program will provide full scholarships to support Alaska STEM majors as they earn their teaching certificates.
The state has a large number of small rural schools that grapple with high teacher turnover and an increasing demand for STEM instructors. Rural schools often have only one teacher responsible for teaching all the STEM subjects across multiple grade levels. The team’s plan will draw on teacher preparation and STEM experts throughout the UA system to ensure that people who want to become teachers can get the educational resources they need at their home universities.
The team will study successful programs at other universities, such as the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin. The model started in 1997 as a student-focused way to recruit STEM majors and prepare them to become teachers. Now in its 20th year, UTeach has been implemented at 44 universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
Cross Content Conference Set for Fairbanks this Fall
The Alaska Cross Content Conference is set for September 29, September 30, and October 1 in Fairbanks. This event was formerly the state math/science conference, state literacy conference, and state world languages conference. The theme of the 2017 conference is Putting the Pieces Together: Educating Alaskan Students. A student designed the logo. The conference includes nationally recognized speakers, receptions, and field trips, a leadership strand, a Collaboration Café (sponsored by Education Elements), lunches, a vendor fair, and networking opportunities. There will be 1-, 2-, and 3-credit options for attending the conference.
Some of the speakers that will be presenting are: Ron Clark, founder of Ron Clark Academy, author of The Essential 55 for Educators; Catlin Tucker, author of many books, articles and blogs on Blended Learning; Juli Dixon (and daughters), author of The Stroke of Luck and co–writer of the Go Math Middle School and High School math program; Kim Stillwell, a National Science Teacher’s Association Press presenter on picture perfect science lessons and argument-driven inquiry series for middle and high school science.
Also: Gwynne Ellen Ash, a member of the International Reading Association board of directors, author, and researcher on adolescent literacy comprehension; Kristen Ziemke, author of Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom; Catherine Ousselin, a blogger blogger on world language and technology integration; and Chrissy Lauterbach, author on social emotional learning and using music in the classroom.
See 2017AKcrosscontentconference.org or follow it on Facebook @2017 Cross Content Conference and Twitter @AKCrossContent.
Application Period Open for Alaska Native Education Grants
The Notice Inviting Applications for the Alaska Native Education Program is out for public inspection in the Federal Register. View notice as a PDF (scroll down for the notice.) Interested parties should read the notice carefully for its details. The deadline to submit applications is 12:30 p.m. Alaska time on June 14. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be read unless the applicant has documented proof from grants.gov that the grants.gov system (not the applicant or the applicant’s system) caused the delay. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 28 grants will be awarded, with an average amount of $370,000. Program Contact: Almita Reed, telephone: (202)-260-1979, e-mail: Alaska.Native@ed.gov. If you use a TDD or TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
Department Seeks Educators for Alignment Study
The Department of Education and Early Development is seeking Alaska educators to participate in a study of the alignment of the new state assessments to the Alaska standards. The study will take place in Anchorage on August 2-4. Panelists’ travel, lodging, a per diem, and a daily stipend will be covered, if eligible. Apply by May 22. For questions, contact Margaret MacKinnon, Director of Assessment & accountability, at Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth R Healthy Relationships Curriculum Teacher Training
Special Fourth R Healthy Relationships Curriculum training is being offered June 1-2 in conjunction with the Anchorage School District Summer Learning Academy. One professional development credit is offered by the University of Alaska Anchorage. See course #52 asdk12.org/pld/asdsummeracademy. The Fourth R (R = Relationships) is an evidence-based comprehensive health education curriculum that focuses on healthy relationships and decision-making relevant to adolescents to reduce violence and many of today's risk behaviors. It is one of the recommended curricula by the Alaska Safe Children’s Act Task Force for dating violence prevention grades 7 -12.
The training is designed for teachers and health teachers grades 7-12, school nurses or school counselors intending to implement the Fourth R Curriculum in a school setting or professional community partners intending to implement the program in a community setting or assist their school district with instruction. Travel scholarships are available. To pre-register, please contact Samantha.Wilson@alaska.gov or call 907-465-2304. Deadline to pre-register COB May 15.
State Board to Hold Work Session on May 24
The State Board of Education and Early Development will hold a work session on May 24 by audio conference originating at the Commissioner’s Office boardroom, second floor, 801 West 10th Street in 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 meeting is to hold a work session to receive an update from Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson on department activity. The board’s meeting packet is available on DEED's State Board page under meeting dates. Persons with disabilities who need accommodations to participate should contact Shawn Sypeck at 907-465-2802 or e-mail email@example.com at least five days before the accommodation is needed. For more information, call 907-465-2800.
Request for the K-12 Talent Pool Nominations
This is your opportunity to give something back to the educators who are of great value to your district, community, and state. The Department of Education and Early Development is seeking applications that identify exemplary K-12 teachers and principals. We are looking for educators, relatively new to the profession, who demonstrate outstanding instructional and leadership abilities that impact students, colleagues, and the community. These distinguished educators are considered for special recognition programs, statewide and national advisory boards, and task forces. A minimum of five years in education is required.
These educators may be elementary, middle, or high school teachers or administrators — typically classroom teachers, as opposed to specialists — and are known by peers and supervisors as unique in their field. Previous formal recognition is not required. In fact, we prefer educators who are outstanding but have not received other recognition.
The information you provide will be confidential. Please fill out the K-12 Talent Pool Nomination Form. All questions must be answered, preferably typewritten. Include a resume and one-page narrative that addresses how the candidate meets the criteria mentioned in your letter. We ask that you keep this recommendation confidential and do not share it with the nominee. Complete applications are due by June 1, 2017. For questions, please contact Cecilia Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-465-8703.
Comment on Draft of ESSA State Plan is Extended to May 28
The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) is seeking public comment on the first draft of the state plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law. ESSA provides states with greater flexibility than the No Child Left Behind Act it replaces. States must submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education by Sept. 18 to show how they will implement ESSA.
Alaska’s first draft was shaped by over 4,000 stakeholder comments from nearly 1,000 Alaskans at 40-plus meetings conducted across the state over the last year. DEED now is seeking additional public comment to strengthen the first draft, ensuring that the plan takes full advantage of expanded state and local options and addresses the state’s unique educational needs and priorities.
DEED will gather public comment on this first draft through 8 p.m. on May 28. For the public’s convenience, DEED has created eight feedback forms that address the plan’s various sections. Members of the public may comment on the entire plan or only on the sections that interest them. DEED encourages the public to read the plan’s section(s) before commenting. The plan and all eight feedback forms are available online.
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. You may download a copy of the RFP. Please direct all questions to Bjørn Wolter at email@example.com. A one-hour webinar FAQ about the grant will be held at 3 p.m. May 22. The meeting number is 802 598 923. You also can join by phone at 1-907-269-3000 and 1-907-269-7570.
Openings Still Available at Summer Arts Institutes for Teachers
The Alaska Arts Education Consortium still has some open spaces in the dynamic Arts Summer Institutes. Study arts and culture with teachers from throughout Alaska. Earn credits and return to teaching invigorated. For more information or registration, go to akartsed.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Summer in the Juneau Rainforest
- July 24-August 4
- four credits
- two weeks of arts and study of local culture
Very reasonable housing available at the university. In partnership with Sealaska Heritage Foundation, Juneau School District, and the University of Alaska Southeast. Registration fee $495 (member) and $600 (non-member). Scholarships for Juneau, Angoon and Hoonah teachers.
- Arts, Culture and Technology in Sitka
- June 5-16
- four credits
- two weeks of arts, technology, and Alaska culture
Housing available at Sitka Fine Arts Camp. In partnership with Sitka School District and a Sitka committee representing a number of organizations. Registration fee $495 (member) and $600 (non-member).
- Arts are Exceptional in Anchorage
- July 31-August 4
- three credits
- one week of building knowledge of working with special education students in the arts
In partnership with Anchorage School District and Kennedy Center VSA. Registration fee $249 (member) and $350 (non-member). Twenty $100 scholarships available to the first 20 teachers signing up.
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.
Opportunity for Title IIA Subgrants to Eligible Partnerships
The Department of Education and Early Development announces a federal partnership grant for teacher/administrator professional development. Grants will support professional development institutes using WIDA CLIMBS curricula. Content and Language Integration as a Means of Bridging Success (CLIMBS) is a professional learning curriculum designed to introduce participants to the use of research-based approaches and WIDA resources to support ELL students in their classrooms.
Training may be either:
- The CLIMBS Course Trainer program (to train district staff as CLIMBS instructors).
- The CLIMBS Course (to train teachers directly at a WIDA event).