It Starts With You

Productive Partnerships With Alaska's Schools

Picture-Solid partnerships with Alaska school districs will prepare students for transition into higher education

One Alaskan Elder is Making a Big Difference in Her Community

Ina Bouker is much more than a teacher in DIllingham Alaska.  She she has been growing teachers in her community for about three decades.  Click here to see how she has been making a difference through the UA Future Educators of Alaska program.


Here’s a quick snapshot of some achievements accomplished By partnering with Alaskan schools thus far

  • ACT scores: 32 percent increase in scores sent to UA between FY09 and FY14; and 41 percent MORE students indicate UA as their first choice in FY14 vs. FY09.
  • The proportion of recent Alaska high-school graduates who go to college has stayed roughly the same since 2010, with about half entering postsecondary within 12 months of graduating from high school. More than 60 percent of all recent Alaska high school grads who pursue postsecondary education choose UA, equivalent to about half of all college-bound recent Alaska high school graduates. This has been the pattern since 2010. Nationally, about 70 percent of all recent high school grads enter postsecondary within 12 months of graduating.
  • Future Educators of Alaska was federally recognized as a Career Technical Student Organization integrating leadership with traditional knowledge to encourage rural education as career paths for students.
  • UAS designed and implemented a new Superintendents' Academy to educate new school superintendents across Alaska; the initial group has 10 participants. The state saw a 50% turnover in superintendents last year. The Academy builds on UAS success in offering its Principals' endorsement program.
  • UAS Teacher Education data show highest level of teacher preparation productivity- ratio of teacher education graduates to number of faculty.

Alaska faces significant challenges

Alaska has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country, and one of the lowest college-going rates in the nation. The University of Alaska is an open-enrollment institution; a student with a high school diploma or GED will be admitted.

UA students typically require higher levels of developmental course work compared with students at more selective public universities. Yet Alaska employers tell us they prefer to hire Alaskans and UA-trained teachers, accountants, engineers, etc., because they are better suited for the Alaska workforce and want to remain in Alaska.

How can UA partner more effectively with our K-12 school districts to address these issues in a holistic manner? How can we better align curriculum, make expectations clear and provide the necessary support to ensure effective partnerships with K-12 districts result in better prepared students for college classrooms?


Issue and Effect Statements

The Issue statements below address compelling concerns raised by Alaskans through more than 80 listening sessions. The Effect statements associated with each Issue statement express what UA intends to achieve as a high-performing education institution.

ISSUE A: High expectations for the continuing impact of the Alaska Performance Scholarship and the new K-12 Alaska Academic Standards notwithstanding, today half of UA first-time freshmen do not place into college-level courses and require one or more university developmental classes at student, university and state expense.  

Effect: High school graduation requirements and UA freshmen placement requirements are aligned across Alaska and postsecondary preparation pathways are clearly identified and communicated.

ISSUE B: The professional preparation that leads to retention of Alaska-educated teachers, especially those in rural Alaska, begins with UA’s education programs and continues into UA Statewide’s Alaska teacher placement process and the Alaska Statewide Mentor Program. The legislature has made it clear that UA is neither recruiting enough education students nor graduating enough teachers who are willing to accept positions in rural Alaska and remain teaching there long enough to positively impact student learning. Teachers moving to rural Alaska from outside the state do so without an adequate understanding of Alaska Native cultures, languages and rural living conditions. Although UA cannot unilaterally improve teacher retention rates in rural Alaska, it can wield significant influence.

Effect: The teacher retention rate in rural Alaska equals that in urban Alaska and is significantly improved by educating more Alaskan teachers.

ISSUE C: The quality of life and the economic potential of Alaska depend on an educated population. Currently, Alaska has one of the lowest rates of high school graduates continuing directly into postsecondary education. At the same time, increasing numbers of jobs in the state require postsecondary education.

Effect: The college-going rate in Alaska, the proportion attending college in-state and the proportion entering postsecondary education immediately after graduating from high school are similar to other western states.

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