February Update

Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrating is an integral part of building a welcoming, friendly environment in your school. Take a moment to celebrate even the small things that are happening in your school with your students, staff, and yourself. The results will be remarkable.

The MTSS/RTI Conference was a huge success! Thank you to Dr. Lisa Parady and ACSA/ASDN Team for helping with this great event. There were some fantastic sessions and keynote speakers. The one takeaway for me was the piece from Trisha Skyles’s keynote on safety in our school. She talked about supervision and joint enforcement across the school. If your staff is not on the same page with school rules and enforcement, it can create an unsafe environment for everyone. This was a reminder of the work that needs to be done in my school, especially since we have some new staff each year. The work goes on!

Hopefully you have registered and are planning on attending the Legislative Fly-In later this month, as advocacy is so important - especially this year. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I look forward to seeing you there!

We live in an amazing state and the sunlight is coming back. Get out and enjoy it!

Joshua Gill

AAESP President

Principal, Delta Elementary School

This year, Delta Elementary School in Delta Junction, Alaska was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School for the second time. This was a very special honor for us because of the effort we put in over the last few years to not allow our school to simply survive the challenges the pandemic presented, but to thrive. It was a hard earned and well deserved recognition of the blood, sweat, and tears we all shed under some very difficult circumstances.

DES not only services Delta Junction but also Fort Greely, a missile defense base located about eight miles from the school. Much of the security force on this base is from Puerto Rico, so we have a very high population of Spanish speaking students. Also, Delta Junction has a very high Ukrainian and Russian population. This makes our little prek-5 school of 350 students quite diverse, which we love! Our staff is comprised of 24 certified teachers, and 23 paraprofessionals and support personnel. Many are Russian or Spanish speaking to aid in servicing our rather large ELL population. Our preschool is a special needs preschool. It has a staff of one special education-certified teacher and two paraprofessionals that run two sessions with approximately 12-14 students per session. To meet the needs of our special needs students, we have two certified SPED teachers on staff who are absolutely amazing.

Delta Elementary is well known for its positive climate and high standards. To meet the needs of our wide range of academic abilities and social-emotional levels, we have adopted the MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) framework. Each student is evaluated early in the year and placed in one of three tiers depending on their academic performance and social emotional or behavioral health. We MAP test three times per year, use the Amplify (DIBELS) assessment with year round progress monitoring, and use formative and summative classroom assessments and observations. Teachers and support staff use all of these assessment tools to collaborate weekly, monitor progress, and populate the MTSS framework using the PLC process. Our intervention team consists of a certified reading specialist and two support staff.

We set a goal a few years ago for our school to become more focused on educating the “whole child”. We have found creative ways to offer music and art instruction to each class through utilizing the community and our own limited resources. In addition, we have an amazing physical education teacher who sees each class twice a week. Our district school counselor services all of our tier three SEL students, and partners with a child/family development coordinator to teach social/emotional lessons once a week to each class as well as handle our MTSS documentation and I-team scheduling. We have a librarian who sees the students once a week and has them participate in a variety of activities based on local events and Alaskan themes as well as seasonal happenings. At DES we are committed to offering as many activities as we can schedule. We reach out to the staff and community for people who are willing to share their talents and time for the betterment of Delta’s children.

Without a doubt, however, the factor that has had the most impact on the success of Delta Elementary School has been the practice of finding and supporting strong teachers. Our teacher turnover is very low and their experience level is astronomical. Their commitment to continue to improve their craft through collaboration, professional development, and outside-contract time never ceases to amaze me.

So if you are ever in the area, stop by and see us! We would love to show you around. We don’t shut down until the mercury hits -50, so chances are we will be open! If not, look up our website at http://deltagreely.cyberschool.com/District/Department/16-Delta-Elementary-School or browse our very popular Facebook page linked above.

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AAESP is proud to partner with ExerPlay! For over 30 years, ExerPlay has been designing and building commercial playgrounds for thousands of parks, schools, churches and communities. ExerPlay provides the best equipment and service in the industry to ensure your project will be a long-term and valued asset. With certified playground safety inspectors as our field sales reps, in-house designers, and certified installation crews, our team is the perfect combination for a successful project. Call or email Karl Croft for your free consultation: 907-748-3736, karl@exerplay.com.

National Distinguished Principal and National Outstanding Assistant Principal Nominations Due!

Each year, AAESP selects one principal to serve as the National Distinguished Principal for the state of Alaska and represent our state at the national level. Nominations are now open, and anyone can nominate a principal with a minimum of five years of experience in the principalship and three consecutive years of membership in NAESP.

New this year - AAESP is also accepting nominations for the National Outstanding Assistant Principal Award. Nominations are open for a practicing assistant principal who demonstrates exceptional leadership and who has at least one completed year of experience in the role.

More information on both of these award programs can be found at: https://www.naesp.org/programs/.

Please submit your nominations to akelementaryprincipals@gmail.com by February 15th, 2023.

Professional Development Opportunities

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Do you have an aspiring leader in your building that has expressed interest in becoming a principal? Or perhaps you see their great leadership potential and they have yet to discover it!

Building Educational Leaders for Alaska, BELA, is a new program aimed at identifying those future leaders and helping them develop their leadership skills and potential. Please share the following interest form with any aspiring leader that you may know who would make great school leaders in Alaska:


We are planning now for our first event this spring, so don't delay!

PK-12 Monthly Meeting - February 21st at 10:00 a.m.

Our Alaska PK-12 Monthly Collaboration Meetings are scheduled once a month at 10:00 a.m. This month, Andrew Sundboom from ASD's Human Resources Department will be joining us to discuss progressive discipline. The link to the meeting is:


We look forward to seeing you there!

*Please note that our remaining PK-12 Meetings will change to the first Tuesday of each month. Mark your calendars now for March 7th, April 4th, and May 2nd.

ASDN Course Offerings

The Alaska Staff Development Network has several course offerings coming up, and some are offered free to member districts! More detail can be found at: www.asdn.org.

Ruby Payne 2/8, 2/15, 2/22

Emotional Poverty

Free to LKSD, BSSD

($50 Lv 1/ $100 Lv 2)

Heith Peine 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, and 3/9

Accelerate Student Learning with Effective Feedback


($50 Lv 1/ $100 Lv 2)

Judy Elliott 2/14, 3/7, 4/4, 5/2

Use MTSS to do MTSS

FREE to anyone

Computer Science Opportunities for K-12 Administrators and Staff

Computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, collaboration, and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation of fundamental knowledge that is needed to prepare students for the 21st century, regardless of their ultimate field of study or occupation. This is a great way to incorporate extensions for SEL and Alaska’s current reading initiative by integrating another tool and content area, increasing student vocabulary, comprehension, and following written directions.

There are MANY opportunities available that include free Professional Development and financial supports for travel. If interested, please contact Cheryl Bobo at: cbobo@alaskaacsa.org, or go to: AK CS For All (itec2engage.com).

Call for Student Art!

The Alaska Council of School Administrators needs your students’ artwork! We are excited to announce the Alaska Council of School Administrators “Alaska’s Heart Through Student Art” — the 8th Annual Student Art Show.

This is an opportunity to showcase student creativity and expression in The Andrew P. Kashevaroff Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, in Juneau. Our goal is to have art from each of our 54 school districts. Submissions will be displayed for school administrators and legislators at the end of February at the APK Building in Juneau. Students who participate in the auction will receive 60% of the final bidding price; the other 40% will go to art scholarships.

Please share this entry form, which includes all the art guidelines, with your teachers: ART GUIDELINES AND SUBMISSION FORM

Please make sure the artwork arrives in Juneau by Sunday, February 26, 2023 or inform us if your Superintendent or Principal will bringing the art work with them to Juneau. Submission can be shipped to Juneau at the following address:

ACSA Exhibit Submission

234 Gold St

Juneau, AK 99801

For questions, please reach out to Chala Giron at cgiron@alaskaacsa.org or call (907) 586-9702.

We’re thrilled to see the beautiful artwork from your students!

Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals

Jennifer Schmitz, Executive Director

Jen Rinaldi, Deputy Director