When Mark John, Cultural Advisor of Calista Education and Culture (CEC) and Elder from Toksook Bay, talks about his work with CEC, he stresses the importance of engaging youth and documenting knowledge and place names for future generations. Mark John has been working with colleagues at CEC to document Yup’ik place names for decades. The Yup’ik Elders he works with believe that sharing knowledge freely across generations is an important part of Yup’ik culture. Yup’ik Elders are eager to teach young people the rich history and names of places of their homeland, including camp and settlement sites, rivers, sloughs, rocks, and ponds. Place names hold stories and knowledge important for language and cultural retention.
Each Spring the Lower Kuskokwim School District hosts the annual Festival of Arts and Academics show in Bethel AK. Students from preschool through 12th grade are welcome to join. Continue reading ‘Festival of Arts and Academics Showcases LKSD Student Art’ by Sara Jung
On Friday evening, January 13, 2023, the Nuniwarmiut School gym was full of lively basketball fans; entire families of lively basketball fans. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn and the sound of basketballs being dribbled filled the air. These fans had come to watch boys basketball as Nightmute, Toksook Bay, Chefornak and Mekoryuk squared off for a weekend of round robin basketball. Any observer would have sensed nothing unique about this scene. These fans knew, however, that this was indeed an historic event. Continue reading ‘A Historic Moment for the Nuniwarmiut School Basketball Teams’ by Peter Hawkins
Students from Rural Alaska don’t often get the opportunity to participate in college tours. Weather, distance, and logistics are a challenge when your hometown is accessible only by small plane or boat. Thanks to the support of the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership, 19 students from villages served by Lower Kuskokwim School District got the opportunity to go on a statewide tour of post-secondary programs at UAF, UAA, APU, and AVTEC. Continue reading College Tour Time!: LKSD GEAR UP Students Visit Alaskan Post-Secondary Programs by ASDN Staff
The Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) is in the process of converting its previous district wide Yugtun language assessment into a fully online assessment called the Yugtun Piciryaranek Qaneryaranek-lluCuqyun (YQPC) that will provide new capabilities for using data to drive curriculum revision and improve instructional practices. This project, named Calillguteluta “Working Together”, is funded through a federal Alaska Native Education (ANE) grant with the U.S Department of Education – Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) serves as a project partner. Continue reading ‘Napaskiak Student Creates Calillguteluta “Working Together” Project Logo’ by Sam Jordan
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.
When more than 20 students joined Lower Kuskokwim School District’s new after school food sciences club this fall, expectations were low. The students, at school sites in Goodnews Bay, Tuntutuliak, and Kipnuk [currently on hold while in “red” Covid-19 status], expected to do a little cooking and a lot of listening to lectures about nutrition and kitchen safety. Instead, what they got was “an exploratory adventure going through cuisine” and so much more, according to Gear Up grant coordinator Alex Bernard.
For the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), staying local isn’t just a mandate during the pandemic — it’s a long term strategy for learning. Recognizing the need for language resources to boost proficiency in the Yup’ik language, as well as a desire for curriculum that students could relate to, the LKSD administration embarked on a multi-year project to create K-12 social studies and science curriculum that addresses both these needs.
With funds and direction from the Quyurramta (“All of Us Together”) grant from the U.S. Education Department’s Alaska Native Education Program, LKSD set out to translate existing texts (with generous permission from TCI publishers) into Yugtun, the Yup’ik language. Continue reading ‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative is one of the largest national programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in the U.S.
Focused on middle and high school students, GEAR UP helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals:
- (1) increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students;
- (2) improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and
- (3) raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families.
The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership serves students in the state’s two largest rural school districts, Lower Kuskokwim (LKSD) and Bering Strait (BSSD) in western Alaska. The partnership is supported by the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN). ASDN’s founder Kelly Tonsmeire serves as the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership Project Director. Continue reading ‘Preparing for College And Flying Drones: The Gear Up Program in LKSD’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN