‘Puppet Play To Support SEL During COVID’ by KPBSD School Counselor Christy Jordan

Last Spring, a third grade teacher asked me to join her Zoom class to introduce myself as the new Elementary School Counselor for Fall and to share a story to address anxiety. We were at the start of the Covid crisis, adjusting to remote learning amidst a worldwide pandemic.

Christy Jordan’s collection of puppets, including the anxious turtle Bartholmew.

I unpacked my puppets and introduced the class to a shy anxious turtle named Bartholomew. I told them Bartholmew moved to Seward over Spring Break, right when Covid hit, and now I can’t get him to come out of his shell. I asked them to help by sharing what they like to do when they feel scared, worried or shy. One by one kids raised their hands and told me different coping strategies that worked for them. As the students spoke, Bartholmew slowly poked his head out, and I thanked the kids for making him feel less alone. Continue reading ‘Puppet Play To Support SEL During COVID’ by KPBSD School Counselor Christy Jordan

Alaska’s Heart through Student Art Expands Its Reach in 2020

Alaska’s Heart through Student Art is an annual celebration of student expression that brings legislators, statewide educational leaders, students, teachers and artists together to celebrate the beauty, inspiration, and creativity of student artists across the state. The event is launched annually in the capital city of Juneau as statewide leaders gather for the legislative session.

More than 100 pieces of student art were meticulously packaged and shipped to the Alaska Council of School Administrators last winter and transported to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Carefully arranged and labeled in this beautifully appointed open gallery space in preparation for the March 2020 event that, as with so many other life events, became upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading Alaska’s Heart through Student Art Expands Its Reach in 2020

‘Six Alaska Teens Honored for Community Service as Local Heroes’ By Heather Marron, Alaska Communications

Collage photo identification – Top row, left to right: Asya Gipson, Zoe Nelles, Ted (Emily) Tedrick – Bottom row, left to right: Trevor Morgan, Joy Martin, Rosalie Cortes

Alaska youth are doing remarkable work to improve lives in our local communities.

Through the Summer of Heroes Program, Alaska Communications is proud to celebrate six youth for their outstanding community service across Alaska. Five youth heroes at large and one youth hero from the company’s employee program will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship for their efforts. Additionally, as part of the program, Alaska Communications will donate $15,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to further support youth development in the state. Continue reading ‘Six Alaska Teens Honored for Community Service as Local Heroes’ By Heather Marron, Alaska Communications

‘Virtual EdCamp Continues~Join us Oct 17th!’ By Tana Martin

You may remember reading about a group of Interior Alaska educators that pulled off a last minute, virtual EdCamp in March of 2020. It was a team effort with contributions made by educators from several school districts. Sadly the team lost their mighty leader, Christina Hum, when she moved Outside this summer. Her enthusiasm for EdCamp inspired and directed us as we built the foundation. The team has carried on. The next virtual event is scheduled for Saturday, October 17th from 9:00am-1:30pm.  ALL Alaskan educators (not just the Interior!) are invited!!!  K-12 educators from all areas & all levels…especially our rural Alaska colleagues! https://tinyurl.com/yy5yz4zy

Continue reading ‘Virtual EdCamp Continues~Join us Oct 17th!’ By Tana Martin

‘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

‘Online Writing Conferences Key to Virtual Learning Success’ by Kayla “Ashton” Morrison

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. 

None of us were prepared for spring, and this fall has been filled with lots of struggles, questions, and tech issues. But there is joy where you look for it, even if it is different than ever before.  Continue reading ‘Online Writing Conferences Key to Virtual Learning Success’ by Kayla “Ashton” Morrison

‘Local Author Seeks ‘I’m Sorry Story’ Read Alouds with Alaskan Teachers & Classes’ by Melody McAllister

Last February my first children’s story, the I’m Sorry Story was released by EduMatch Publishing. It’s a story that follows a young man, Ryan, and his journey of discovering how to take responsibility for his actions and making things right with others when he’s wrong. I wrote it my fifth year of teaching fifth grade while pregnant with my oldest child, who is now 11. When I first wrote this story, it was to create conversation around the importance of a sincere apology without lecturing my students.  Continue reading ‘Local Author Seeks ‘I’m Sorry Story’ Read Alouds with Alaskan Teachers & Classes’ by Melody McAllister

‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

Arctic Light Elementary School is a K-8 public school in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. It is unique in that it is the only public school located on the Fort Wainwright Army U.S. Base. The school mascot is the Arctic Fox.

This year we are sharing our school mascot’s origin story. Arty the Arctic Fox is our mascot and, “Do Good Work, Be a Friend, Every Day” is our motto. With our students we have expanded these words and we were ready for this book to extend the learning. Continue reading ‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

‘Find Your Fire: Supporting Youth Mental Health in the Community’ by Melissa McCormick

Find Your Fire‘ is a local nonprofit in Juneau, Alaska that serves youth and the community through direct actions that address mental health. ‘Fire Your Fire’s’ aim is to help lead young adults and teens to find their “fire” (aka what they are passionate about) by supporting life skills, job opportunities, and mental health resources as they transition into adulthood. Their services have included presentations about digital addiction and mental health, and the effects of vaping. Its latest lawn sign campaign has become a notable support to young and old alike in and around Juneau, especially during the global pandemic. 

Students at Juneau-Douglas High School / YADAA.AT KALÉ hold up Find Your Fire yard signs.

Growing up, we were taught to be kind to others. Through our childhood experiences, we begin to learn what that means. We don’t steal a friend’s lunch, hurt another’s feelings, or bully another kid on the playground. As we transition into adolescence, we begin to focus on what makes us individuals, what attributes we possess, and what defines us. This, largely is what our society is telling us. We see it in the media, in our technology, even in the expectations that our parents, teachers, and mentors provide us. By the time we reach adulthood, we often begin to get caught up in the staying busy, working hard mentality. We strive to succeed in so many areas – our education, our relationships, our professions, our parenting, the list goes on. Life is tough. There are marriages, kids, divorce, family disagreements, mortgages, bankruptcies, health concerns, and so many stressors that we begin to feel impatient with ourselves – and often with others. Continue reading ‘Find Your Fire: Supporting Youth Mental Health in the Community’ by Melissa McCormick