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.
Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska has a 40+ year history of excellence. Tanana serves about 350 students in grades 7 & 8. About one third of our students are part of families with a member serving at Fort Wainwright, a US Army post adjacent to the school.
When COVID hit in March of 2020, school immediately shifted to remote learning. Our captain, Principal Carla Marquand, called on Tanana staff to rise to the challenge. She knew her crew was capable. We had to stretch a bit farther outside our comfort zones. We took a deep breath, adjusted, & built upon our strengths. We didn’t reinvent the helm…we simply changed direction of the ship. Collaboration, Chromebooks, & communication were assets our Tanana crew already possessed. When everything about “doing school” changed on a dime, Tanana was prepared to succeed.Continue reading ‘What Works: Tanana Middle Built Upon Its Strengths When The Learning Landscape Changed!’ by Tana Martin
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.
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.
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.
“We love kids. We love books. We love to serve.” This was a recent consensus made by the combined library staff in Fairbanks North Star Borough School District as to why we work in a school library. And that, my friends, is why K-12 school libraries are important. Kids need love. Kids need books. Kids need help.
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.