News Archives

Juneau hosted more than 100 high school students, teachers, administrators, legislators and community members from throughout Alaska on March 9 to celebrate the education profession.  Read more...
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has received federal funding to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning and cultural knowledge exchange between underserved schools in rural Alaska and Hawai'i.  Read more...
More than 70 Alaska high school students from 13 districts gathered in Fairbanks on March 25-26 to explore education careers and develop leadership skills.  Read more...

Teachers and teaching aides from six villages in the Bering Strait School District immersed themselves in a science and culture camp in Unalakleet, Alaska, last month to learn how to integrate science and Native knowledge in the classroom. Read more...

On August 30th, the ADN reported on the difficulties of hiring and retaining rural teachers statewide in Alaska.  Alaska Teacher Placements' General Manager of the project, was one of the people interviewed for the story.

The statewide education job clearinghouse advertised roughly 100 open teaching jobs and 65 special-education jobs in Alaska's public schools by Wednesday — when school had already started in a majority of the state's districts.

Toni McFadden, manager of the clearinghouse, said the statewide job-posting system did not track changes in the number of teaching positions left vacant over the years. However, she said, it seems like the number only grows. "Every year it's harder to fill the jobs and there are more jobs open when school starts," she said. "There's more pressure to hire because, nationwide, there are fewer teachers."
Read the full story by ADN.

Future Educators of Alaska (FEA) has officially converted over to a new program that is operated at a national level, Educators Rising.  Our local chapter will be Educators Rising Alaska, affiliated with the national Educators Rising. Behind the scenes we are undergoing many transitions, but will maintain the principal core of FEA. Features of this new program include:
 
  • Increasing the available workforce of teachers committed to Alaska. Less than half of Alaska’s teachers are prepared in-state.
    Invite Alaska students to explore education as a potential career.
  • Designed for today's high school students with a new, Alaska-specific 4-course CTE Pathway that leads students on an examination of the roles of learner, leader and teacher of others. Students who complete the pathway can join the workforce as a para-educator or continue on at a university taking coursework that will lead to teacher certification.
  • Spans Alaska’s vast geography with a robust national virtual community to connect students and teachers with colleagues and ideas.
  • Statewide effort that draws students from diverse communities and supports efforts to make best-fit matches to increase years of service in Alaska’s schools.
  • Districts choose a delivery model that matches existing structure and available resources.
  • Coordinated support beginning in high school, extending through college and into the profession from the UAF K-12 Outreach office and the national Educators Rising organization.
Future Educators of Alaska (FEA) staff, students and guest lecturers have just returned from the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) state conference and FEA Academy. CTSO was held in Anchorage March 23-25. Approximately 40 FEA students presented in Creative Lecture, Inside Our Schools, and/or Lesson Plan Arts competitive events. The first place winners from Mt. Edgecumbe and Ketchikan are now eligible to compete at the Educators Rising National Conference in Phoenix June 23-26, 2017 with FEA’s ANE grant travel support.

As soon as the conference was over, approximately 50 FEA students plus staff, advisers and presenters went right into the FEA Academy held at Anchorage Embassy Suites and UAA from March 25-27. While at Embassy Suites, students were able to ask questions via a live video link to the Alaska Commissioner of Education; participate in mock interviews; play college prep BINGO; and learn classroom management techniques. At the UAA campus they met with the UAA School of Education dean and staff; took a tour of the campus and Native Student Services led by UAA student ambassadors; and 10 students opted to take the ACCUPLACER test at the UAA Testing Center.

FEA is coming close to becoming an Alaska state chapter of Educators Rising. The Educators Rising national director will be coming to Anchorage from May 30 - June 1 to give a professional development workshop to lead coordinators from multiple school districts.

 

by Brandon Smith
The School of Education's K-12 Outreach Office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks held a workshop today to discuss how they can partner with others to better support the recruiting and retaining of teachers in Alaska.

Information gathered during the discussion will be taken by the Outreach Office so they can better support Alaska's school districts. Normally, rural areas struggle to staff their schools; but recently, urban cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks have seen this challenge as well.

Many were in attendance, including the Executive Director for the Alaska Council of School Administration, Lisa Skiles Parady. According to Parady, within the last four years, there has been a 60 percent turnover rate for superintendents across the state. She says in order to keep teachers in their positions for longer, change needs to start with principals and superintendents.

Teachers, mentors, legislators, site and university administrators and members of the public attended K-12 Outreach's open house on December 1st. It was held in the Board of Regents Room in the Butrovich Building from 5 - 6:30 pm.  This evening event was an opportunity for all to learn more about the K-12 Outreach offices, and how these offices support teaching, students and the communities of Alaska.
 The Open House was held October 12th, 5pm - 6:30pm at the Gorsuch Commons, on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Representatives from each K-12 Outreach program were in attendance, as well as a few Alaska Statewide Mentors, and some of their Early Career Teachers (ECTs). A number of local Legislators attended, as well as other staff from K-12 Outreach. This event was free and open to the public.
 

The Alaska Statewide Mentor Project (ASMP) was recently awarded a $25,000 donation from Alaska Communications, a telecommunications company. The grant, which was facilitated through the University’s Statewide Foundation program, goes toward continued funding for teacher mentors. ASMP is one of four programs within the office of K -12 Outreach, all focused on teacher and student support. The K-12 Outreach office is housed under the School of Education at UAF.

 Glenda Findlay, Director of K-12 Outreach, expressed enthusiasm over the recent announcement, “This is an important piece for support of new teachers across our state, and we’re honored to have an Alaskan business make a commitment to our program.” Alaska Communications has been making annual donations to ASMP for the past 5 years.

 ASMP provides individualized support to first- and second-year teachers with the goals of improving student achievement and teacher retention. It strives to develop an effective teaching force that is responsive to the diverse academic needs and cultural backgrounds of all students. Currently, ASMP employs 28 skilled, veteran Alaskan educators who mentor over 300 teachers in 24 districts.

“This program is an integral piece to help grow and retain teachers in Alaska. At a time when our state is experiencing shortfalls in funding, the funds from Alaska Communications helps ASMP provide continued support for teachers and education”, Findlay further stated.

 In August, over two dozen Bering Strait School District educators, District staff, cultural knowledge bearers and scientists participated in the five-day REACH Up Science and Culture Camp seven miles north of Unalakleet. Teachers learned culturally relevant, hands-on, place-based science, focused on Alaska’s changing landscape. Teachers worked with science and cultural experts conducting field experiments such as measuring CO2 flux from tundra soils and analyzing water chemistry of the North River. Below is an article that appeared in the Nome Nugget.

Nome Nugget
Alaska Statewide Mentors met on August 30-31st, in Anchorage, to receive their start-up training for the coming school year before heading out to the numerous classrooms across Alaska where they will mentor Early Career Teachers (ECTs). Thirty-three trained mentors, who are veteran teachers, have fanned out across Alaska to service village and city schools.
 
The Anchorage Daily News attended and interviewed some of our mentors.  You can read the article here.