In November 2018, a Palmer High School (PHS) student, Zoe Nelles, was struck by a realization that her peers may not have weekend food security. Zoe took the initiative and reached out to a PHS teacher for help, and from there the PHS Sandwich Project began. In the beginning stages of the project, Zoe would make PBJ sandwiches in her home and used donated non-perishable food items to fill the bags. The first week 7 food bags were delivered to students on a Friday afternoon. Zoe continued to spear head the program for 2 years, through the spring of 2020, when she graduated.
On Friday evening, January 13, 2023, the Nuniwarmiut School gym was full of lively basketball fans; entire families of lively basketball fans. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn and the sound of basketballs being dribbled filled the air. These fans had come to watch boys basketball as Nightmute, Toksook Bay, Chefornak and Mekoryuk squared off for a weekend of round robin basketball. Any observer would have sensed nothing unique about this scene. These fans knew, however, that this was indeed an historic event. Continue reading ‘A Historic Moment for the Nuniwarmiut School Basketball Teams’ by Peter Hawkins
“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 celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, 4th and 5th grade artists at Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School in Wasilla, AK created a 160 foot long alfombra de aserrin (sawdust carpet) on our school’s front sidewalk.
Sawdust Carpets (Alfombras de Aserrin) are one or more layers of colored sawdust laid on the ground as decoration. Sawdust carpets are traditionally created in Mexico and Guatemala and are used as part of Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration, welcoming Good Friday and Easter processions of religious icons carried through the streets. Although sawdust carpets take days to design and create, it takes only minutes for them to be happily and reverently destroyed by the shuffling feet of participants in religious processions. Continue reading ‘Culture, Collaboration and Creativity!’ by Shelli Franckowiak, 2022 Alaska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year
In the Spring of 2020 my students stopped coming to school. The Kenai Peninsula extended Spring Break while my colleagues and I scrambled to figure out how we were going to reproduce the learning that had been going on in our classrooms for children that were now at home, often unsupervised.
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
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.
It’s hard to believe it, but the Our Alaskan Schools Blog turns three this month! In 2021, we featured 25 stories of schools and classrooms around the state. Here are some of the highlights of the stories we featured this past year.