‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

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. 

Continue reading ‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

Alaskan Student Filmmakers Produce “Atmautluak, AK: Our Village Our Home”

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.

‘Wrangell HS Makes the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program Top 50: You Can Help Their Project Win’ by ACSA Staff

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

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To inspire creativity and bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Vans Shoes, created the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program.

Continue reading ‘Wrangell HS Makes the Vans High School Custom Culture Art Program Top 50: You Can Help Their Project Win’ by ACSA Staff

‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

My name is Raquel Schroeder. I’m Bristol Bay Yup’ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik with family ties in Bristol Bay and the Bering Strait. I’m a member of the Curyung Tribe and a Shareholder of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated from high school in 2010. I went to Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State and Iḷisaġvik Tribal College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, where I earned a certificate in Early Childhood Indigenous Education. In this program, I learned the importance of culturally-responsive practices and the need for preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages.

I developed an interest in creating projects with art, design and technology that focus on Alaska Native cultures, languages and land. This is important to me because, as a mother and educator, I found there aren’t many easily-accessible resources that reflect the beauty of Alaska’s land and Indigenous peoples. With a lack of resources that reflect students’ environments, it can be difficult for them to find identity in learning, which may lead to social and academic issues in the long run. My goal is to celebrate and represent every student in the educational resources I create. Continue reading ‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

Alaska’s Heart through Student Art Expands Its Reach in 2020

Alaska’s Heart through Student Art is an annual celebration of student expression that brings legislators, statewide educational leaders, students, teachers and artists together to celebrate the beauty, inspiration, and creativity of student artists across the state. The event is launched annually in the capital city of Juneau as statewide leaders gather for the legislative session.

More than 100 pieces of student art were meticulously packaged and shipped to the Alaska Council of School Administrators last winter and transported to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Carefully arranged and labeled in this beautifully appointed open gallery space in preparation for the March 2020 event that, as with so many other life events, became upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading Alaska’s Heart through Student Art Expands Its Reach in 2020

‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

Arctic Light Elementary School is a K-8 public school in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. It is unique in that it is the only public school located on the Fort Wainwright Army U.S. Base. The school mascot is the Arctic Fox.

This year we are sharing our school mascot’s origin story. Arty the Arctic Fox is our mascot and, “Do Good Work, Be a Friend, Every Day” is our motto. With our students we have expanded these words and we were ready for this book to extend the learning. Continue reading ‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

‘Preludes Program Brings Huge Benefits to the Paul Banks School’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN

For the past three years, students at the Paul Banks K-2nd Elementary School in Homer, Alaska have been spending part of their school week learning to play violin. The ‘Paul Banks Preludes’ program was inspired by the JAMM music program in Juneau, which itself was inspired by the El Sistema music program in Venezuela. Kindergarten and 1st grade students have violin sessions three times per week, while 2nd graders have optional after school sessions twice per week. The program is open to every student, including those with special needs.

Continue reading ‘Preludes Program Brings Huge Benefits to the Paul Banks School’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN

’20th Annual Wax Museum Project’ by Kipp Norris at Valdez City Schools

Seventh Graders at Gilson Middle School in Valdez pose in their wax museum costumes for the 20th annual project.

What has become a right of passage for every seventh grader in the Valdez City School System took place on May 7th as Gilson Middle School just hosted it’s 20th annual Wax Museum Project. Continue reading ’20th Annual Wax Museum Project’ by Kipp Norris at Valdez City Schools

‘Respect and Awareness Within Our Local Landscapes’ by Sylvia Madaras at Discovery Southeast

Discovery Southeast is a Juneau-based non-profit that works in local public schools and provides professional development to educators. Their work “deepens our connection with nature through education and exploration. We introduce children and families to the outdoors, providing the foundation for lifelong interests, skills, and exploration. We promote a better understanding of ourselves, the natural world, and our place in it.”  Discovery Southeast’s investment in public schools connects hundreds of school-age students to their local wild areas every school year. Continue reading ‘Respect and Awareness Within Our Local Landscapes’ by Sylvia Madaras at Discovery Southeast

‘Is Maith Leis a Bheith Ag Seinm Ceol!’ (Irish Gaelic for ‘I like to play music’) by Valdez City Schools Superintendent Shawn Arnold and Sam Jordan at ASDN

Valdez City Schools students perform as part of the Dublin Choir Festival

Thirteen Valdez High School students, three teachers, and a number of family members recently returned from the Dublin Choral Festival in Ireland.  The group toured with Music Contact International for a seven-day experience full of music, culture, art, history, and architecture.  During the tour students visited monastic ruins in the Irish hills, toured the Edwardian inspired Dublin Castle built atop medieval ruins and experienced the levity and local flair of a century old pub. Continue reading ‘Is Maith Leis a Bheith Ag Seinm Ceol!’ (Irish Gaelic for ‘I like to play music’) by Valdez City Schools Superintendent Shawn Arnold and Sam Jordan at ASDN