‘Five Years of Celebrating Alaska’s Incredible Education Community’ By Sam Jordan at ACSA

When the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) first started the work of blogging about the great things happening in classrooms and schools across Alaska five years ago we wanted to balance the dialogue about education in our state. It can be so easy to get stuck in the logistics of how schools are funded or organized. The brilliance of a public school systems, however, is and always will be at the ground level, in classrooms, where a dedicated, creative and kind educator takes on the task of kindling the fire of learning in a young person.

For five years now, educators from across our state have been willing to share the creative, powerful ways that they bring learning opportunities to their students. More than that, we’ve observed how schools shine as the center of communities in our state, how they bring people together, and how they further the advancement of Alaska’s future by investing in our state’s most valuable resource: our children.

This past year, we hosted 22 brilliant stories from around Alaska. From Delta Greely, we heard from Principal Milt Hooton about his school being honored as a National Blue Ribbon School. In Napaskiak, we heard from student Kristen Maxie about creating logo art for a new Yugtun Piciryaranek Qaneryaranek-llu Cuqyun language assessment being developed.

Far north in Shungnak, we heard from teachers Juvy Pamunag and April Pague about how they bring world-class research-based instructional practices into their classrooms. And out west, Principal Peter Hawkins shared the historic moment of basketball returning to Nuniwarmiut school after 25 years. We also heard from the college preparation GEARUP program in LKSD about student visits to in-state colleges.

In Palmer, we learned about a community-wide Sandwich Project to ensure student food security. Down south in Metlakatla, staff highlighted the Master Diving Program that provides safe training for student divers to participate in the local dive harvest industry. We also learned of Wasilla student Solei Jordan’s rainforest reforestation fundraiser project and art teacher Sara Jung shared the staggering artistic talent of LKSD students.

Portrait art from student in the LKSD.

There is no end to the ongoing dedication and creative spirit of Alaska educators and students. As we close five years of blogging about our incredible education community, the Our Alaskan Schools blog looks to the future and can’t wait to bring you more of these stories in the months and years to come!