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.
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).
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.
As schools look to re-engage their students following a year of online learning, the Alaska Academic Decathlon for high school students and Pentathlon for students in middle school offers small group learning opportunities that extend beyond the boundaries of the classroom.