When Mark John, Cultural Advisor of Calista Education and Culture (CEC) and Elder from Toksook Bay, talks about his work with CEC, he stresses the importance of engaging youth and documenting knowledge and place names for future generations. Mark John has been working with colleagues at CEC to document Yup’ik place names for decades. The Yup’ik Elders he works with believe that sharing knowledge freely across generations is an important part of Yup’ik culture. Yup’ik Elders are eager to teach young people the rich history and names of places of their homeland, including camp and settlement sites, rivers, sloughs, rocks, and ponds. Place names hold stories and knowledge important for language and cultural retention.
Uvlaalluataq! (Good morning in Iñupiaq)
Maayong Buntag! (Good morning in Bisaya)
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
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
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
This year, Delta Elementary School (DES) in Delta Junction, Alaska was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time. This was a very special honor for us because of the effort we put in over the last few years to not allow our school to simply survive the challenges the pandemic presented, but to thrive. It was a hard earned and well deserved recognition of the blood, sweat, and tears we all shed under some very difficult circumstances. Continue reading ‘Delta Elementary School Honored for Second Time as a National Blue Ribbon School’ by Principal Milt Hooton
“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.
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!”
Alaska’s teachers are some of the most devoted professionals in the country. Almost 1,000 educators from across the state of Alaska chose to spend two or three weekend days in January learning, collaborating, and reinvigorating their practice at the RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction Conference 2022 (and RTI Rural Schools Pre-Conference).
What educators took away from the conference was tremendous, and what we heard from them was worth sharing out. Continue reading ‘The 2022 Alaska RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction Conference’ by the Staff at ACSA/ASDN
Alaska’s PK-12 school system is embracing the teaching of computer science like never before. Educators across the state, and their students, have recognized that navigating the digital world is not just about being a consumer of digital content, it’s about the skills needed to create that content. And to become a creator means knowing the building blocks of how digital content is made using computer science.
Being a creator means that your individual insights and perspectives on the world can be represented and celebrated. Alaskan students experience the world through languages, cultures, climates, and geography that exist nowhere else. To ensure the digital landscape includes space for these unique perspectives, Alaskan students need to be equipped with the right knowledge to meaningfully share what they know and impact how digital spaces represent them. And because we know that Alaska Natives, women, and other people of color are historically underrepresented in the field of computer science, it is critical that we focus our efforts on giving those groups the skills needed to succeed in the digital future.