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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.