The University of Alaska Fairbanks campus has been home to Alaska’s Upward Bound (UB) program for over 52 years. The federally grant-funded Upward Bound project reaches across the state to assist first-generation-to-college students in small, rural high schools. The program strives to increase the number of high school graduates who continue on to enter universities and colleges.
It is a rare educational innovation that both endures and remains relevant for 50 years. Ask any person under 55 years old from Juneau about their elementary school memories and they will say, “Sea Week.” At first it was called Sea Week, but it grew exponentially to Sea Month. Sea Week is a Juneau school and community success story.
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative is one of the largest national programs for increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in the U.S. Focused on middle and high school students, GEAR UP helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals: (1) increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students; (2) improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and (3) raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families.
The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership serves students in Alaska’s two largest rural school districts; Bering Strait (BSSD) and Lower Kuskokwim (LKSD) in western Alaska. The partnership is supported by the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN). ASDN’s founder Kelly Tonsmeire serves as the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership Project Director.
The Bering Strait School District (BSSD) serves 15 village communities, the majority of which are only accessible by plane or, in the case of Diomede, by helicopter. The district is geographically one of the largest in the United States, encompassing an area of 80,000 square miles. BSSD’s GEAR UP program serves a cohort of 556 students in grades 6-9 and prides itself that their program is highly responsive the needs and ambitions of its students. Continue reading ‘Inspiring a Passion for STEM on the Western Edge of Alaska: The GEAR UP Program in BSSD’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative is one of the largest national programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in the U.S.
Focused on middle and high school students, GEAR UP helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals:
- (1) increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students;
- (2) improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and
- (3) raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families.
The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership serves students in the state’s two largest rural school districts, Lower Kuskokwim (LKSD) and Bering Strait (BSSD) in western Alaska. The partnership is supported by the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN). ASDN’s founder Kelly Tonsmeire serves as the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership Project Director. Continue reading ‘Preparing for College And Flying Drones: The Gear Up Program in LKSD’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN
Each December schools around Alaska and around the world set aside time for an activity called the ‘Hour of Code‘ that helps to demystify what it means to write computer code and to show that anybody can learn the basics of computer science. The 2019 Hour of Code runs December 9th – 15th. The theme for this year’s Hour of Code is #CSforGood, recognizing that computer coding can help solve many critical problems in the world. Continue reading ‘Alaskan Schools Prepare for Next Week’s Hour of Code’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN
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.
The Our Alaskan Schools blog is excited to host our second student blog post. This post comes to us from four middle school/high school students at Rampart School in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District. We are excited for this opportunity to share the exciting things happening in Rampart from the perspective of these amazing student-journalists!
Last year, Rampart was selected as one of two communities in Alaska to participate in a pilot water purification program. This program provides an easy and affordable way to access clean water by making a water filter for you and your family. The project is called Village Safe Water and is a part of the Water Division for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (dec.alaska.gov/water.aspx). Continue reading ‘Water Purification Project’ written by Malik, Chase, Liyana and Natalie at Rampart School
This June in Fairbanks about 50 middle school students participated in a three week Summer Math Camp. This year’s camp focused on encouraging students to notice and wonder, to see different ways patterns grow, to persevere in solving problems, and to believe in themselves. Continue reading “I Believe I Can Do Math!” – Fairbanks Summer Math Camp by Mentor Teacher Samantha Wuttig
During the noon hour of April 25, 2019, the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) held a ‘Snack and Study’ event at the Alaska Capitol Building about the importance of computer science in Alaska’s Schools. Sponsored by Representative Harriet Drummond and Representative Andi Story, the event presented basic information about computer science, discussed why it represents a new literacy in the education curriculum, and how it can help fill existing jobs and define new ones in the Alaskan economy. Continue reading ‘ACSA/ASDN Present ‘Snack and Study’ Event on Computer Science at the Alaska Capitol’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN
This winter, students in the Nenana City Schools (NCS) took part in a dog mushing program sponsored by NCS and the local tribal government, the Nenana Native Association. Continue reading ‘Nenana City Schools Hosts Winter Dog Mushing Program’ by Stephen Calkin at NCS and Sam Jordan at ASDN