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
I had the pleasure of attending the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE) conference in Anchorage a few weeks ago. This conference brought together speakers from all over the country and state to discuss technology in education. It was my first time attending and it will be on the calendar every year from now on. I listened to Fredrick Lane talk about cyber-ethics and the issues facing educators now, I learned about all the free resources that are available with Cyber.org and I had the pleasure of attending a presentation from two teachers in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD) on how they use FLIP! to stay in communication with the students throughout their vast school district.
The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) is in the process of converting its previous district wide Yugtun language assessment into a fully online assessment called the Yugtun Piciryaranek Qaneryaranek-lluCuqyun (YQPC) that will provide new capabilities for using data to drive curriculum revision and improve instructional practices. This project, named Calillguteluta “Working Together”, is funded through a federal Alaska Native Education (ANE) grant with the U.S Department of Education – Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) serves as a project partner. Continue reading ‘Napaskiak Student Creates Calillguteluta “Working Together” Project Logo’ by Sam Jordan
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.