‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

I never could have predicted that my teaching life would include arranging demonstrations involving marine mammals and holding my students inside because of polar bear warnings, but that’s exactly what happened.

My name is Angie. I teach high school in Brevig Mission, an Inupiaq village in the Bering Strait School District.

Brevig Mission, Alaska

It’s 2021, and I love my life in the village and my job at the school. I’ve gone from never having butchered a single animal to being able to make heart and tongue soup. I’m raising a daughter who can spot a berry patch from a distance and gets it right every time. Last year’s senior class had been in my class since sixth grade. There was a lot of growth in those years, and I got to witness it all. Continue reading ‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

As the Principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in the Southwest Region School District, I want to showcase one unique way that we are engaging students in a virtual environment in New Stuyahok, Alaska. I was born and raised in Alaska, and I have always been very connected to the land and its’ resources.  I actively participate in subsistence activities to harvest fish, game, and edible plants, and my chief goal as a principal is to help my students and staff connect to the traditional way of life in a meaningful way.One opportunity we have had while in the red risk level where students are participating in distance learning is facilitating a way for them to connect through Subsistence Bingo.

Continue reading ‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

‘What Works: Relating To and Respecting Parents’ by Nikki Fisher

Teacher Nikki Fisher’s remote teaching set up

I teach 4th and 5th grade in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, all subjects, and math for 4th through 8th grade. I am finding that being in daily contact with parents and being completely transparent with them about my own life is what is working for me. Continue reading ‘What Works: Relating To and Respecting Parents’ by Nikki Fisher

‘A New Google Educators Group for Alaska’ by Chelsea Hurst at YKSD

Growing up, I played team sports. Through this experience, I learned that a team is only successful if all of the athletes are willing to work together toward a common goal. As I transitioned into a classroom teacher, I approached my profession with the same attitude. I loved to bounce ideas off of coworkers, share successes, failures and seek help when needed. I knew that in order to become a better teacher, I had to work with my colleagues toward a common goal: the success of our students.  Continue reading ‘A New Google Educators Group for Alaska’ by Chelsea Hurst at YKSD

‘Diving Into The Shift: KPBSD Remote Learning’ by Amanda Adams and Devin Way

‘Diving into the shift’ was how the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) approached taking on the idea of Remote Learning. The Professional Development team decided to take this situation head-on, and tackled it with gusto. The team knew that the weeks ahead presented unprecedented shifts in practice that teachers would need support for, AND the team knew there was a wealth of knowledge and expertise to pull from.

Social media post alerting the KPBSD community of the plan to shift to remote learning

Continue reading ‘Diving Into The Shift: KPBSD Remote Learning’ by Amanda Adams and Devin Way

‘Inspiring Stories from Alaska’s Schools Emerge Amid the Crisis’ by Seanna O’Sullivan and Sam Jordan at ASDN

In a matter of a few short weeks public schools around the world have been challenged by COVID-19 virus with an unprecedented task: with little or no time for training, resources or directives, assemble a widespread distance education program that reaches every student, in every grade, in every home. 

Alaskan principals from across the state meeting to plan for the COVID-19 response (photo courtesy of New Stuyahok Principal Robin Jones)

Superintendents, educators and support staff around Alaska have responded to this crisis with resolve, creativity, care, and at times, some well needed humor. Our schools have developed meal distribution sites in different locations, assessed needs of students, families and communities across the state and developed systems for delivering instruction, ever mindful of the need to avoid risk of transmitting the virus.  Continue reading ‘Inspiring Stories from Alaska’s Schools Emerge Amid the Crisis’ by Seanna O’Sullivan and Sam Jordan at ASDN

‘Timing, Timing, Timing’ – Virtual EdCamp in Fairbanks, Alaska by Christina Hum, Richard Hum & Tana Martin

Timing, both in comedy and education, is everything! After helping to organize Alaska Interior EdCamp for March 24th, 2020, we couldn’t agree more. EdCamp is a grassroot version of unconference. An opportunity for educators to come together & make connections by learning from others. There are no planned sessions. EdCamp is free & open to everyone. When participants arrive, they communicate the topics about which they hope to learn & share. Organizers use that information to quickly build the schedule board of sessions. Click here to learn more about EdCamp

One of the small group breakout sessions in the virtual EdCamp… excited educators!

Continue reading ‘Timing, Timing, Timing’ – Virtual EdCamp in Fairbanks, Alaska by Christina Hum, Richard Hum & Tana Martin

A View From The Window: Our Alaskan Schools in Winter by Sam Jordan at ASDN

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.        

Continue reading A View From The Window: Our Alaskan Schools in Winter by Sam Jordan at ASDN

‘The Annette Island School District (AISD) Highlights Its Reading and Cultural Instruction’ by Superintendent Taw Lindsey

The Annette Island School District (AISD) serves students from Metlakatla and surrounding areas on the beautiful southeast Alaskan island of Annette. Metlakatla or Maxłaxaała means “salt water passage” in the Tsimshian language. The community is only accessible by boat, ferry or plane.

Continue reading ‘The Annette Island School District (AISD) Highlights Its Reading and Cultural Instruction’ by Superintendent Taw Lindsey

‘The Hooper Bay School Culinary Arts Class Serves Up Nourishment and Healing’ by Teacher Eric Gold

The culinary arts class has prepared holiday cookies for elders, community members and school staff each year.

The Hooper Bay School Culinary Arts Class has taken on a life of its own since it began in the fall of 2014. Originally created as a 1-semester elective, it has become one of the more demanded classes in the high school. In addition, it has a following in the school and community, and students either from the class or those unable to take it, are often found in the cooking room after school visiting, cooking and cleaning or otherwise engaged in projects that support the school and community.

Continue reading ‘The Hooper Bay School Culinary Arts Class Serves Up Nourishment and Healing’ by Teacher Eric Gold