The Our Alaskan Schools Blog turns four this month! In 2022, we presented 21 stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the state. It was a dynamic year of transition across the state, as educators shifted from a pandemic stance to new stances infused with all we’ve learned from the challenge of the past few years. Here are some of the highlights of the stories featured this past year. Continue reading ‘Year Four for the Our Alaskan Schools Blog!’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN
“We come to school every day to learn, take responsibility for our actions and treat everyone with love, kindness, and respect.”
Denali Elementary was recently named ESEA Distinguished School for 2022-23 and we are so excited about it! We have 300 students preK through 5th grade & are located in Fairbanks, the 2nd largest city in Alaska. Our school is located right in the downtown area so the majority of our students are within a mile and walk to school, even when it’s 25 below zero! Our student population is very diverse. We have 27% of our students who are 2 or more races, 15% Alaskan Native, 30% caucasion, 15% hispanic, 6% african american, 4% asian and 3% pacific islander. About 60% of our students receive free or reduced lunches.
We have a motto here at Denali, “We come to school every day to learn, take responsibility for our actions and treat everyone with love, kindness, and respect”. This motto of spreading love, kindness and respect was given to us from an Alaskan native Artist and carver, Bert Ryan in the late 1990s, who, alongside our students, carved our very own totem pole which stands in our playground today.
At the recent 2022 CSEdCon Global CS Education Conference, the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) accepted an award for ‘overcoming the odds’ from Code.org, the international leader in computer science education. ASDN is a division of the education non-profit Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA). For the past four years, ASDN has served as the Code.org Regional Partner for Alaska and worked to expand access to computer science education across the state by providing professional learning opportunities for K-12 educators and advocating for computer science education policy. To date, ASDN has provided computer science curriculum professional development to nearly 1,000 Alaskan educators in 44 of Alaska’s 54 school districts. Continue reading ‘ASDN Celebrates Code.org Award + Preparing for the 2022 Hour of Code’ by Sam Jordan
I made my first qaspeq when I was around 10 or 11 years old with my sister/cousin/aunt. And then I didn’t pick up sewing a qaspeq again until I was in college in my mid-20s. As a kid I would watch my auntie sew qaspeqs and would just be in awe of her beautiful creations. I longed to be able to sew. The sewing skills I learned at school thanks to my amazing Yup’ik teachers. I am forever thankful for their teachings and it has been a dream of mine to be able to teach and share the knowledge that I learned from grade school, my aunt, and my college qaspeq teachers.
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, 4th and 5th grade artists at Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School in Wasilla, AK created a 160 foot long alfombra de aserrin (sawdust carpet) on our school’s front sidewalk.
Sawdust Carpets (Alfombras de Aserrin) are one or more layers of colored sawdust laid on the ground as decoration. Sawdust carpets are traditionally created in Mexico and Guatemala and are used as part of Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration, welcoming Good Friday and Easter processions of religious icons carried through the streets. Although sawdust carpets take days to design and create, it takes only minutes for them to be happily and reverently destroyed by the shuffling feet of participants in religious processions. Continue reading ‘Culture, Collaboration and Creativity!’ by Shelli Franckowiak, 2022 Alaska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year
Blending cultural studies, education curriculum, and summer camp may seem difficult. However, the team at Kuspuk School District has found a way to do all three and continue to grow their Remote Culture Camp which began in 2021.
From showing the positive outcomes of inclusion to preserving cultural traditions for future generations, or simply lending a hand to those in need, youth today are proving that an individual’s actions can have a tremendous impact on those around them. Through the Summer of Heroes Program, Alaska Communications is proud to celebrate six teens for their outstanding community service across Alaska. Five youth heroes at large and one youth hero from the company’s employee program each will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship for their efforts. Additionally, as part of the program, the broadband provider will donate $15,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to further support youth development in the state. Continue reading ‘Six Alaska Teens Recognized as Heroes for Work in their Local Communities’ by Alaska Communications