What do we do in this new reality of quarantines, hunker downs, alternate work sites, and social distancing? When the numbers of sick and dying are exponentially increasing, alongside more and more friends and family losing their jobs as businesses close? How do we deal with the unprecedented changes that COVID-19 and Coronavirus cause in our daily lives? When stress, anxiety, and fear loom constantly, and normal as we’ve known it no longer exists.
We breathe. We breathe without thinking. Automatically we breathe, unless we are one of the unfortunate souls caught in the worst of Coronavirus.
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.
We celebrated Black History Month at Clark Middle School in Anchorage this year by creating a walk-through museum. The museum told the story from the days of picking cotton and sharecropping to Katheryn Johnson, the great mathematician whose life was portrayed in the recent movie, “Hidden Figures.”
Alaska’s winter season is something special. Extreme. Beautiful. Unpredictable. Long. To get to and from school, many students and staff stoically suit up with the necessary hats, gloves, jackets, snow pants and boots, often traversing formidable snow berms and ice encrusted roadways. They also sometimes brave temperatures that can reach down to -65 below zero. The moving thing about Alaska’s school communities is that they embrace these realities with a special brand of Alaskan hardiness and inspired appreciation.
The Our Alaskan Schools Blog is pleased to offer ‘A View from the Window’, a showcase of visual snapshots from seven different schools across the state that highlight what students and staff are experiencing during this unique season in The Last Frontier.
Highlighting and celebrating public education in Alaska is a privilege. Over the past year, the Our Alaskan Schools blog has hosted over 50 unique education stories from across Alaska, most written by educators themselves. To celebrate our first year, here is a brief recap of our ten most viewed stories about the ‘great things happening in Alaska’s schools’.
We are an energetic group of fifty 3rd and 4th graders at Bowman Elementary School in the Anchorage School District who make up S & L’s (Sarah and Lisa’s) family group. Our ‘Alaska Love’ project is an activity for elders (grade 4 students) that allows them to share one of their special Alaskan experiences with our family group. While youngers (3rd graders) don’t present, they look forward to being an elder the following year and having their chance to share their special family memory. The academic focus of the project is writing a personal narratives, public speaking, and Alaska geography. Continue reading The ‘Love Alaska’ Project by Sarah Petersen and Lisa Longlet at Bowman Elementary School
The Tuluksak School is located in the Yupiit School District in southwestern Alaska, a region where many families are from a Yup’ik cultural background and speak the Yup’ik language. The school district is comprised of three schools in the communities of Akiachak, Akiak, and Tuluksak.
James T. Hutchison High School or ‘Hutch’ as we affectionately call it, is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) school of choice within the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. We enroll approximately 100 students per grade, 9th-12th grade. In addition to our core 400 students, there are 164 students from across the district that attend classes at Hutch on a part-time basis.
Hutch provides an integrated learning environment within a culturally diverse community, where academic and career-technical experiences encourage a life-long love of learning, personal integrity, civic mindedness and preparation for successful post-school employment.