This past February four long-time Alaskan school Superintendents celebrated their graduation from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program. The AASA is the premier national association for school system leaders and serves as a leading national voice for public education and district leadership.
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.
In Fall 2020, faced with the challenge of conducting Pearl Creek Elementary’ s Extended Learning Program remotely, I turned to chess to help students connect with each other. As a longtime school chess club sponsor, I knew how much fun students had playing against each other, so I just needed to figure out a way for them to play online. I invited students to play using a copy of a shared google drawings template during Zoom sessions with ELP students enrolled in Fairbanks North Star Borough School District’s e-learning and BEST homeschool programs. I was happy to find that, even remotely, I was able to hop from game to game and give advice or settle disputes as they arose.
About a year ago, I started rethinking how I teach.
Not because someone told me to, or a mandate of any sort. But I felt a pressing on my heart to switch some things around and find some more joy. This planning and idea mulling turned out to be a blessing during remote learning.
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.
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.
The Our Alaskan Schools blog is excited to host our first-ever 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!