AGSD Monthly Newsletter Feb. 2018

LeAnn Young-Grants * Tracie Weisz-Curriculum & Instruction

RAVE (Rural Alaska Village Entrepreneurs)

RAVE is an Indian Education demonstration grant that Alaska Gateway School District was awarded in the fall of 2017.

RAVE focuses on career studies around specific career clusters. We can provide dual credit certifications and occupational licensing that give students college and career advantages before they leave high school. Students will experience real-world, relevant work situations to help build interests and skills, and to inform future goals and plans

The RAVE grant partners include; Mentasta Traditional Council * Northway Village Council * Native Village of Tetlin * Copper River School District * Tanacross Village Council * Tanana City School District * Tok Native Association * University of AK Fairbanks - Interior Campus

Senior Night

On Wednesday, January 31st, AGSD hosted its first Senior Night. Graduating seniors and their parents participated in an information filled evening with many representatives from several organizations. A big thank you to Crystal Wilson, IAC (Interior Alaska Campus) Ellarae Miner, DANSRD (Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development), Kristy Malemute and Daisy Henry from UAF for the FASFA and Rural Student Services, Sara Blackard with Tok-A-Tan Scholarships and Bronwyn Walton who was there to discuss graduation night preparation details. Thanks to all AGSD staff who were there to support graduating seniors and and Mr. Tad Dunning, AGSD Counselor, for hosting the event.

District Makerspace Ready for Imaginations!

AGSD is excited to bring our students together with a makerspace! The large central room behind the library in Tok School has been set aside for this purpose. A makerspace can be any space at all, and really describes an environment and a mindset. These days, our students spend a lot of time being "consumers" of technology, but are not often creators. Makerspace addresses that specifically. Students are given time, space, and tools to imagine possibilities, think about new ways of doing, and then given the time and tools to test ideas, collaborate with others, and create! In makerspace classrooms and schools, you may see students programming robots, creating circuits, flying drones, filming a stop-motion movie, soldering a new piece of art, creating a cardboard mock-up of a new invention, or simply exploring ideas with common and not so common tools and materials. A makerspace is about "turning kowledge into action" (Flemming, 2015, p.7), and allows for a true opportunity to support personalized learning (Martinez & Stager, 2013).

Our first set of materials to populate our District Makerspace are a set of giant Everblocks (they look and work like giant Legos). These allow students to take Lego building to the next level. Middle school students have had an exciting time unpacking them and planning ideas around the next construction project. Outlying schools are encouraged to bring their classes in to spend time in the Makerspace, and as items are added, some of the materials will "tour" the district so that smaller sites can have on-site makerspaces as well.

District Makerspace is made possible as part of the RAVE grant.

Migrant Education

Alaska Gateway School District offers supplemental services to migrant eligible student. Some of these include;

  • Tutoring-Tok School students can sign up with Karla Champagne!
  • Family Literacy Nights for Migrant families -watch for a scheduled spring event at your school!
  • Summer Fun-pacs that target literacy and math skills are created for Migrant families to take with them when they are traveling away from home. Stay tuned for information!
  • Back to School backpacks of school supplies-these will be available in August.
  • Watch for information regarding magazine orders!
Migrant Education Parent Survey

It is that time of year again! Parents-please complete the migrant survey. This survey helps us gather important data for our program. We appreciate your input.

Migrant Education Staff Survey

It is that time of year again! Staff-please complete the migrant survey. This survey helps us gather important data for our program. We appreciate your input.

Graduations are Set!

Sites with graduates have set their dates and times for their ceremonies! They are as follows:

Eagle Community School: May 10, 2:00pm

Tok School: May 17, 6:00pm

Tanacross School: May 18, 11:00am ("Moving Forward" ceremony for 8th graders)

Walter Northway School: May 18, 2:30pm

These can also be accessed on the AGSD App and the website under the round Calendar button.

A-CHILL Happenings!

Students enrolled in ACHILL courses in the area of veterinary science and Alaska Culture & dog mushing continue to participate in fun hands-on experiences. Students from Mentasta and Northway have built dog houses, Tanacross students went ice-fishing, Dot Lake students are preparing to dance at the TCC convention and students in Tok and Eagle are building dog sleds. This grant allows schools and their local community members to collaboratively engage students in grades 6-12 to be inspired and learn valuable knowledge and skills related to the sciences, math, language arts, and college & career readiness.
A-CHILL Life Blog

Click here to view the A-CHILL blog and see what students in our communities have been up to.

Blended Learning in Action

On February 1, AGSD teachers, as well as 7 educators from our neighboring district, Copper River Schools (CRSD), had the opportunity to spend a day in Tok in a full workshop with Tiffany Wycoff, author of Blended Learning in Action. AGSD is in the midst of a Blended Learning initiative kicked off this year to support instruction in the Variable Schedule. CRSD also uses a Variable Schedule, and is involved in a similar Blended Learning initiative. They are also grant partners with AGSD in our Blended Learning for Success in the Variable Schedule grant.

Teachers spent the day learning more about creating engaging and targeted instruction in their classrooms that will meet each student's needs. Blended learning focuses on personalizing learning so that students learn what they need to learn in a way that engages them through choice, and encourages them to set goals and find ways to work toward them that suit their learning needs. Teachers reported having a great professional learning experience with Tiffany by the end of the day!

Welcome Robert Kelso

We are fortunate to have Robert Kelso join our staff as a teacher in the “Pathways” project. Pathways is a district-wide alternative program concept within Alaska Gateway School District designed for our At-Risk high school students who are significantly behind in their progress toward graduation, or who are in danger of dropping out due to significant risk factors. Robert Kelso works with these students to gain high school credit and participate in work study experiences. Robert comes to us with years of Alaskan teaching experience and we look forward to our students benefiting from his educational background and enthusiasm.

Robert Kelso Bio: I moved to Alaska in 2009. I taught in Selawik, Kasigluk, and Bethel. I am passionate about helping others and making a positive difference in the school. I do my best to always maintain a positive attitude and love being apart of the community.

Welcome Ken Kuykendall

We are fortunate to have Ken Kuykendall join our staff as a teacher in the RAVE (Rural Alaska Village Entrepreneurs) program. RAVE is a 4 year Indian Education Demonstration grant that focuses on career pathways and aligning academic expectations while developing community partnerships and creating local relevant learning experiences. He is teaching Plant Science, Middle School Social Studies, 9th Grade World Geography, MS Survey of Emerging Technologies, and Global Foods. He is classified as a 6-12th Grade Generalist Teacher (so he teaches a wide variety of classes), and he is also trying to recruit students to start a Future Farmers of America (FFA) charter in Tok for next year’s Agricultural teacher to take over.

Ken's Bio: Born in Sweeny, TX, raised in Damon, TX, Carryville, FL, and Eagle River, AK.

Ken has spent the past 3 years in Texas, before that he and his wife Merriam spent 10 months in the Philippines where their daughter Aurora was born. Before that, Ken spent 9 years in Alaska: 5.5 years teaching in rural AK villages; a year working in the oil industry for VECO at PS3; a season working for Crowley delivering heating fuel on the Kuskokwim river; and he also spent time working in the financial sector in Anchorage for Wells Fargo in their Management Training Program and for AK USA Federal Credit Union as an Assistant Branch Manager. Thus, Ken has many years experience working in both “blue collar” and “white collar” employment, and he has a Masters Degree in Political Science, minored in Business Management, but put himself through college at the University of Houston as an AK carpenter for Taylored Restoration.

Ken drove up from the Houston,Texas area mid-year with his family in tow. He limped into town with both tires on his trailer blown, and no spare left! His hobbies include world travel, writing, art, photography, and philosophy. He also enjoys Alaska outdoors camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing in the summer months (when he is not traveling to see extended family in the Philippines or Texas).

Welcome Brian Luebke

We are fortunate to have Brian Luebke join our Northway School staff as a teacher in the RAVE (Rural Alaska Village Entrepreneurs) program. Brian's help in core classes allows Northway School to offer Wood Shop for the first time in years.

Brian's Bio: Born in Wisconsin. Graduated from Fort Lewis College in Colorado. Masters degree at UA in Fairbanks. Married with three children. First teaching job in Alaska in 1978. I have taught in ten villages in rural Alaska. For over fifteen years worked with youth with emotional issues in Fairbanks. My summers are spent playing softball, fishing,

and traveling. I enjoy reading about historical events and collecting Alaskan native masks.

AGSD Teachers Receive Training at RTI Conference

Each year the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) and the Dept of Education (EED) sponsor the largest education conference in the state - RTI. RTI is a term that stands for Response to Intervention. It speaks to the idea that schools and teachers have a plan for meeting the needs of all learners using tiered instruction. This means that teachers will monitor progress regularly, and when a student is struggling, provide interventions (tiered supports) that can help them to overcome gaps or barriers, and get back on track. The RTI Conference brings many internationally known thought leaders in the field to Anchorage for a weekend full of thought-provoking ideas for teachers to bring back to their schools and classrooms. Each year, AGSD teachers rate this as one of the top conferences they would like to attend. This year, AGSD was able to send a team of 10 people to RTI. Although each person chose the sessions that mattered most to them, the team was able to come together on one day of the conference with Superintendent MacManus, and Tracie Weisz, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, to share takeaways from the conference, and ideas about how they would like to bring new learning from RTI back to AGSD.

Service with a Smile!

On February 2, District principals, secretaries, and some classified staff received customer service training from Bradison Management Group out of Anchorage. The day-long training covered issues such as how to best support our "customers" (students, parents, staff), as well as confidentiality training. Staff reported having helpful discussion time during the training to clarify issues that our busy school office and admin staff often don't have time to discuss.

Blended Learning and Distance Learning in AGSD

Several teachers are being trained in using Canvas, the District's new Learning Management System, in order to host course content online for their own "live" classes, as well as for the possibility of teaching distance via video teleconferencing. These teachers will soon be receiving training in designing of online content to make it accessible and engaging for students, as well as to target and measure specific learning goals. They will also be receiving training in becoming "virtual" teachers. In our view a virtual teacher needs to be more than a talking head on a screen - they need to utilize best practices for online instruction to reach out and really engage and connect with students as effectively as they do in live classrooms. We are excited about adding these options for our students in the future, and creating more quality courses for students across AGSD.

Districtwide Spelling Bee

Thursday, Feb. 15th, 10am

Jon Summar Drive

Tok, AK

The winners from all AGSD school Bees are invited to attend!