BroadwayBoundAK: ACPA Creates Competition to Bring Alaskan Youth to Broadway’s Hamilton by ACSA Staff

Bring Alaska students to the room where it happens!

Starting this summer, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (ACPA) and Broadway Alaska are bringing some of Broadway’s biggest hits to an Alaskan audience with runs of four major shows in Anchorage. This first show is the smash-hit HAMILTON.

As a way to create opportunities for youth around Alaska to attend Hamilton and get to know more about Broadway productions, ACPA is partnering with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HAMILTON on an Alaskan specific, statewide competition for students in rising grades 7-12 to submit a HAMILTON-inspired 2-minute video or 2-page written piece showcasing their original work. Continue reading BroadwayBoundAK: ACPA Creates Competition to Bring Alaskan Youth to Broadway’s Hamilton by ACSA Staff

‘Sandwich Project Brings Together Community Around Student Food Security’ by Carmen Pell

Totes of weekend food await to be transported to the nine schools supported by the Sandwich Project.

In November 2018, a Palmer High School (PHS) student, Zoe Nelles, was struck by a realization that her peers may not have weekend food security. Zoe took the initiative and reached out to a PHS teacher for help, and from there the PHS Sandwich Project began. In the beginning stages of the project, Zoe would make PBJ sandwiches in her home and used donated non-perishable food items to fill the bags. The first week 7 food bags were delivered to students on a Friday afternoon. Zoe continued to spear head the program for 2 years, through the spring of 2020, when she graduated.

Through generous grants from the Mat-Su Health Foundation, The Food Bank of Alaska, and The Palmer Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Alaska Community Foundation, the project continues to grow each year. This grant money was used to buy not only food items, but also to buy structural supplies to sustain the program, such as shelving and bins to properly store items as well as a freezer and refrigerator for perishable items. Continue reading ‘Sandwich Project Brings Together Community Around Student Food Security’ by Carmen Pell

‘Cultural Exchange at the Heart of Teaching Success’ by Juvy Pamunag

Uvlaalluataq! (Good morning in Iñupiaq)

Maayong Buntag! (Good morning in Bisaya)

Shungnak School is a culturally responsive institution where Iñupiaq language is present in everyday instruction.

Hi! My name is Juvy Magsanay Pamunag, a J1 teacher from the Philippines. I am from Mindanao region, and I speak Cebuano colloquially known as “Bisaya”. This is my 2nd year teaching in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, and I teach ELA and Social Studies to grades 6 to 12 learners in Shungnak School. Continue reading ‘Cultural Exchange at the Heart of Teaching Success’ by Juvy Pamunag

‘BSSD Students Win Honors at the Alaska Science & Engineering Fair’ by ASDN Staff

Special thanks to BSSD teachers Luzviminda Dinglasan and Lya Duncan for their contributions to this blog post.

A large trophy topped with a winged figure sitting on a classroom desk.
The Outstanding School trophy home in Gambell.

Five students from Bering Strait School District advanced from their school science fairs to the Alaska Science & Engineering Fair in Anchorage Alaska. The students represented Gambell and Wales, two rural Alaskan villages with populations of 630 people and 160 people respectively. With the support of the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership, the competitors and their teachers flew 735 miles from their remote villages to Anchorage to participate in the statewide competition. Continue reading ‘BSSD Students Win Honors at the Alaska Science & Engineering Fair’ by ASDN Staff

‘A Focus On Visible Learning Practice: Two Teacher Perspectives from Shungnak School’ by Sam Jordan

Shungnak School students and staff start the school day with movement to energize learning.

This spring, a cohort of educators from four partner school districts  participated in an online professional learning class focused on the implementation of Visible Learning practices in their classrooms. This class was formed as part of a multiyear effort to deepen the use of researched-based practices in classroom instruction through the Increasing Performance and Retention in Alaska’s Rural Schools (IPRARS) initiative, a federal grant managed by the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA). Continue reading ‘A Focus On Visible Learning Practice: Two Teacher Perspectives from Shungnak School’ by Sam Jordan

‘A Historic Moment for the Nuniwarmiut School Basketball Teams’ by Peter Hawkins

The Mekoryuk Herders boys basketball team huddles as they prepare for the first basketball games held at their school since 1998.

On Friday evening, January 13, 2023, the Nuniwarmiut School gym was full of lively basketball fans; entire families of lively basketball fans. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn and the sound of basketballs being dribbled filled the air. These fans had come to watch boys basketball as Nightmute, Toksook Bay, Chefornak and Mekoryuk squared off for a weekend of round robin basketball. Any observer would have sensed nothing unique about this scene. These fans knew, however, that this was indeed an historic event. Continue reading ‘A Historic Moment for the Nuniwarmiut School Basketball Teams’ by Peter Hawkins

College Tour Time!: LKSD GEAR UP Students Visit Alaskan Post-Secondary Programs by ASDN Staff

LKSD GEAR UP students visited the Troth Yeddha’ Campus at University of Alaska at Fairbanks

Students from Rural Alaska don’t often get the opportunity to participate in college tours. Weather, distance, and logistics are a challenge when your hometown is accessible only by small plane or boat. Thanks to the support of the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership, 19 students from villages served by Lower Kuskokwim School District got the opportunity to go on a statewide tour of post-secondary programs at UAF, UAA, APU, and AVTEC. Continue reading College Tour Time!: LKSD GEAR UP Students Visit Alaskan Post-Secondary Programs by ASDN Staff

‘Alaska Superintendent Cohort Completes National Certification’ by Sam Jordan

Superintendents Scott MacManus, Kerry Boyd and Pat Manning pose with fellow Superintendent and cohort mentor Dr. Bridget Weiss.

This past February four long-time Alaskan school Superintendents celebrated their graduation from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program. The AASA is the premier national association for school system leaders and serves as a leading national voice for public education and district leadership.

The opportunity to participate in the certification program came as part of their district’s participation in a federal grant called Increasing Performance and Retention in Alaska’s Rural Schools (IPRARS), which is administered by the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA). Continue reading ‘Alaska Superintendent Cohort Completes National Certification’ by Sam Jordan

‘Developing A Place-Based Computer Science Curriculum’ by YKSD Teacher Andrew Bellamy

Place-Based Computer Science Curriculum Website: Place-Based Computer Science Curriculum

Place-based education is a philosophy that utilizes the context of student knowledge – culture, location, nature, and history – to connect to curricular and core content within the classroom. Despite numerous articles and studies on the merits of land-based and place-based education in rural Alaska, there is little information regarding a connection between the culture and ecology of this culturally rich land with a substantial computer science curriculum. One can find math modules, art and music units, and ELA lessons that attach to Alaska Native culture through a simple web search, but Computer Science has remained a subject that is primarily in the classroom and focused on materials that do not necessarily connect with the students’ lives outside of school. Continue reading ‘Developing A Place-Based Computer Science Curriculum’ by YKSD Teacher Andrew Bellamy

‘8th Annual ‘Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art’ Event Showcases Alaskan Student Art’ by Sam Jordan

(Photos by Sam Jordan)

Last month, the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) hosted the 8th Annual ‘Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art’ reception. The event, held in Juneau at the the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum, is an annual statewide celebration and auction of student art from Alaska’s 54 school districts. Legislators, statewide educational leaders, teachers, and student artists came together to celebrate and support student artistic achievement in Alaska. Continue reading ‘8th Annual ‘Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art’ Event Showcases Alaskan Student Art’ by Sam Jordan