‘Alaska Traditional Skills Curriculum Supports Culturally-Informed Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities’ by ASDN Staff

Nova Picks a Fish graphic by Rain Van Den Berg, based on photo by Robyn Chaney. Cold Water Safety and Set Netting Unit.

As high school students with disabilities and their families start to plan for life after their K-12 school experience, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process requires that planning takes place to thoughtfully prepare for any needed supports and skill development to ensure that the transition to adult life is as successful as possible. Many Alaskan students and their families practice traditional Native Alaskan arts and subsistence skills, and a well-rounded transition plan should reflect those family activities alongside career and college readiness. Continue reading ‘Alaska Traditional Skills Curriculum Supports Culturally-Informed Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities’ by ASDN Staff

‘Haa Tóo Yéi Yatee Haa Yoo X̱ʼatángi: Our Language is Inside Us – Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) Resilience Project’ by JAMM Staff

Student participants and Athabascan songster Yuxgitsiy George Holly developing songs for the JAMM resilience project.

Juneau Alaska Music Matters‘ (JAMM) resilience project is a series of two Língit songs, Daaḵ Nadéin (“the tide is coming in”) and Yánde Kg̱waláa (“the tide is going to go out”), inspired by conversations with Língit elders and JAMM students. These songs are presented in a music video project that brought together students, staff, musicians, dancers, and elders, showing the rich diversity of Juneauʼs culture and showcasing efforts of multiple organizations in Southeast Alaska to revitalize the Língit language before it is lost forever. This project was filmed both at JAMM school sites and throughout Juneau, home of the Áak’w Kwáan  people. Continue reading ‘Haa Tóo Yéi Yatee Haa Yoo X̱ʼatángi: Our Language is Inside Us – Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) Resilience Project’ by JAMM Staff

‘Culture, Collaboration and Creativity!’ by Shelli Franckowiak, 2022 Alaska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year

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

‘Six Alaska Teens Recognized as Heroes for Work in their Local Communities’ by Alaska Communications

From showing the positive outcomes of inclusion to preserving cultural traditions for future generations, or simply lending a hand to those in need, youth today are proving that an individual’s actions can have a tremendous impact on those around them. Through the Summer of Heroes Program, Alaska Communications is proud to celebrate six teens for their outstanding community service across Alaska. Five youth heroes at large and one youth hero from the company’s employee program each will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship for their efforts. Additionally, as part of the program, the broadband provider will donate $15,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to further support youth development in the state. Continue reading ‘Six Alaska Teens Recognized as Heroes for Work in their Local Communities’ by Alaska Communications

On Surviving and Thriving in the Online Classroom by Billeen Carlson

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.

I will admit, I was rather smug. I assumed that my technology-rich Nikolaevsk classroom trained my students for this. My class of 5th-12th grade social studies and language arts students were already prepared to do their learning online. They knew how to navigate Google Classroom and Canvas and PowerSchool. All of them could compose and post videos reflecting on the learning they had gained by engaging with online learning materials.  Continue reading On Surviving and Thriving in the Online Classroom by Billeen Carlson

Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art 2022

Three pieces of student art on a table with silent auction bid forms in front.This spring, Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art, the statewide celebration and auction of student art from all 54 school districts, made its in-person return to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Once again legislators, statewide educational leaders, teachers, and student artists were able to celebrate student artists together.

This is the 7th year that Alaska Council for School Administrators has sponsored the event, collecting art nominated from all over Alaska. Schools shipped pieces to Juneau where ACSA staff and volunteers from the Alaska Arts Education Consortium set up the pieces for display. To kick it all off, ACSA sponsored a reception, bringing educators, administrators and legislators together. Continue reading Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art 2022

‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

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. 

Continue reading ‘Slow Looking’ by Nancy Lehnhart at Juneau School District

Alaskan Student Filmmakers Produce “Atmautluak, AK: Our Village Our Home”

Students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District village of Atmautluak, produced this film as part of the GEAR UP Program at the Joann A. Alexie Memorial School. GEAR UP in LKSD includes: drone pilot certification, filmmaking, culinary institutes, tutoring and college readiness activities. GEAR UP liaison, Jeffery Behelsich supported students as they scripted, planned, interviewed, flew drones, filmed, and edited this introduction to Atmautluak.

The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership is a collaboration between Bering Strait School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District, the University of Alaska, Yuut Elitnaurviat and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) designed to address the needs of students in 37 villages in western Alaska.

‘KPBSD Students Swap Valuable Stories with International Peers’ by Kim Leslie + Students

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