‘The Annette Island School District (AISD) Highlights Its Reading and Cultural Instruction’ by Superintendent Taw Lindsey

The Annette Island School District (AISD) serves students from Metlakatla and surrounding areas on the beautiful southeast Alaskan island of Annette. Metlakatla or Maxłaxaała means “salt water passage” in the Tsimshian language. The community is only accessible by boat, ferry or plane.

AISD staff recently produced a video highlighting the great things happening at Richard Johnson Elementary School. The video shows examples of AISD’s commitment to reading and cultural instruction.

AISD has implemented a reading initiative during the 2019-20 school year to address learning gaps and to support the Alaska’s Education Challenge goal of reading at grade level by the third grade. Based upon data generated through formative assessments, MAPs assessments, and PEAK testing, we concluded that the current curriculum materials were not aligned with our students’ level of reading. Therefore, we implemented a targeted reading initiative through a partnership with Edgenuity that links with MAPs assessments to identify gaps in learning. Then, the tool provides reading materials at the students’ level of reading so that they can build foundational skills. In addition, the elementary staff collaborated to increase the time students are reading during the day.

The video clip shows how this work is taking place. The beginning of the video shows a clip of ‘Cruz and Zeek’s Reading Studio’. These two 5th graders record younger students reading out loud and highlights the importance of reading.

We also know that it is critically important for students to be able to see, hear, and touch the Tsimshian Culture in our schools. We believe that by connecting the “Tsimshian way of doing” to school, students will become more engaged and feel connected to the school. This is evident by the drum making and music portions of the video. Enjoy!