This spring, Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art, the statewide celebration and auction of student art from all 54 school districts, made its in-person return to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Once again legislators, statewide educational leaders, teachers, and student artists were able to celebrate student artists together.
This is the 7th year that Alaska Council for School Administrators has sponsored the event, collecting art nominated from all over Alaska. Schools shipped pieces to Juneau where ACSA staff and volunteers from the Alaska Arts Education Consortium set up the pieces for display. To kick it all off, ACSA sponsored a reception, bringing educators, administrators and legislators together.
The reception featured both a silent and a live auction. Senator Peter Micciche served as auctioneer as legislators and school administrators enthusiastically bid. By the end of the night, every single piece had sold. Student artists who chose to participate in the auction received 60% of the proceeds of the sale with the other 40% going to support the annual Student Champion Scholarship, which allows an Alaskan high school student funds to support their development as an artist. Chase Jimmie of Rampart was this year’s scholarship winner. He attended the reception with his mother, Michelle James.
The exhibit, which included 147 art pieces from 27 different Alaskan school districts, was on display at the museum from March 21-April 5th. Student work included: paintings, prints, beading, earrings, hand-sewn baby mukluks, ceramics, metal sculpture, carvings and traditional and digital art.
In my work as the Elementary Visual Art Specialist for the Juneau School District I have for years puzzled about art being an avenue for complex thinking for students. For the last six years, I’ve been very involved with a grant-funded PD project in the Juneau School District called Artful Teaching. We have a large cohort of teachers learning together through workshops and small collegiate study groups called “Art Labs.” We are exploring arts integration and culturally responsive teaching. One of the areas of learning for us has been through Project Zero Harvard and their Visible Thinking routines and practices. I’m experimenting all the time now with how to deepen thinking through art. The following shares a project around students’ school environments.
Students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District village of Atmautluak, produced this film as part of the GEAR UP Program at the Joann A. Alexie Memorial School. GEAR UP in LKSD includes: drone pilot certification, filmmaking, culinary institutes, tutoring and college readiness activities. GEAR UP liaison, Jeffery Behelsich supported students as they scripted, planned, interviewed, flew drones, filmed, and edited this introduction to Atmautluak.
The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership is a collaboration between Bering Strait School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District, the University of Alaska, Yuut Elitnaurviat and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) designed to address the needs of students in 37 villages in western Alaska.
This spring I worked with the Global Nomads Group (GNG) to bring my KPBSD Distance Education science students an opportunity: The option to participate in a short video-based online course with other teenagers from around the world. As GNG describes it, “youth dig into issues they are passionate about, share their stories, and explore the stories of their global peers at their own pace.” Our students focused on the topics of Ocean Health and Sports, and ultimately created action plans to benefit their local and global communities. They lit up when many of their stories were added to the global repository for their international peers to learn from too! Continue reading ‘KPBSD Students Swap Valuable Stories with International Peers’ by Kim Leslie + Students
Students and staff have been under increasing amounts of stress, from the pandemic, social media overload, and a myriad of other causes. This year, the Lighthouse Room was installed in the Valdez High School library (a central location within our building) to help students manage their stress and other mental health challenges.
To be awarded the $50,000 grant, the students need your support. The finalists of the competition are selected by vote. You can cast one vote per day until May 6th, by following this link. https://customculture.vans.com/2022/gallery
To inspire creativity and bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Vans Shoes, created the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program.
For the past two years, four Alaskan school districts involved in a federal Teacher and School Leader (TSL) grant have been working to implement Visible Learning strategies. Visible Learning refers to a body of education research led by Dr. John Hattie that reflects data on what truly works to elevate student learning. The core message of Visible Learning is that teachers are at their best when they are reflecting on the impact of their instructional practices. This is perhaps most effectively summarized in Dr. Hattie’s often-quoted statement, “Know Thy Impact!”
Have you ever heard of AAATTSA? Alaska Alexander Archipelago Tongass to Tidal Science Academy is a magnet program in the Port Alexander School within the Southeast Island School District. Six high school students from all over the nation flew to Sitka, Alaska, then took an adventurous float plane ride to remote Port Alexander to find themselves fully embracing nature in an off-grid community.
Annually U.S News and World Report releases rankings for the best high schools in the country. This past October, the publication released its first rankings of public middle schools in each state, with 62 Alaska middle schools receiving recognition.
Travis Stagg, a physics teacher at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, became inspired to offer students the chance to become pilots by his own love of aviation. After taking a “discovery flight” as a gift from his wife, he went on to become a pilot and certified flight instructor himself.
During his aviation journey, he kept hearing about the need to engage more young learners in training for aviation careers. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, “763,000 new pilots will be needed in the world by 2039, based on Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook.” Ironically, the number of pilot certificates issued by the Federal Aviation Administration has decreased more than 60 percent since 1980.” (APOA) Stagg elaborates, “Report after report can be found online about the important role aviation plays in our state’s economy and that there is an increasing demand for qualified people to keep that industry healthy.” Continue reading ‘Students Prepare to Take Flight in Private Pilot Ground School Elective’ by Nicole Stellon O’Donnell