Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

04/08/2019 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:04:42 AM Start
08:05:12 AM Presentation(s): Strategies for Making a Difference in Student Achievement by the Alaska Association of School Boards
10:00:18 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Strategies for Making a Difference TELECONFERENCED
in Student Achievement by the Alaska Assoc. of
School Boards
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 8, 2019                                                                                          
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S):  STRATEGIES FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN STUDENT                                                                 
ACHIEVEMENT BY THE ALASKA ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BOARDS                                                                          
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TIFFANY JACKSON, Board President                                                                                                
Association of Alaska School Boards; Board President                                                                            
Aleutians East Borough School District School Board                                                                             
Sand Point, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   Introduced a group of  presentations on the                                                             
topic,   "Strategies  for   Making   a   Difference  in   Student                                                               
Achievement,"  by members  of the  Association  of Alaska  School                                                               
STARR MARSETT, Board President                                                                                                  
Anchorage School District School Board                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation                                                                    
entitled "Strategies for Making a Difference in Student                                                                         
Achievement within Anchorage School District," dated 4/8/19.                                                                    
DEENA MITCHELL, Board Member                                                                                                    
Anchorage School District School Board                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled,  "Strategies   for  Making  a  Difference   in  Student                                                               
Achievement within Anchorage School District," dated 4/8/19.                                                                    
KAY ANDREWS, Board President                                                                                                    
Southwest Region School District School Board                                                                                   
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled, "Bristol Bay Region CTE."                                                                                             
SHANNON-JOHNSON NANALOOK, Board Member                                                                                          
Lake and Peninsula School District School Board; Board Member                                                                   
CTE Governance Board                                                                                                            
Newhalen, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided  a personal  story of  support for                                                             
the  Bristol   Bay  Regional   Career  and   Technical  Education                                                               
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS, Board President                                                                                              
Dillingham City School District School Board                                                                                    
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled, "Bristol Bay Region CTE."                                                                                             
REBECCA HAMON, Board Member                                                                                                     
Bristol Bay Borough School District School Board                                                                                
King Salmon, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled, "Bristol Bay Region CTE."                                                                                             
ROXANNE BROWER, Board President                                                                                                 
North Slope Borough School District School Board                                                                                
Utqiagvik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Introduced  North  Slope  Borough  School                                                             
District   leadership  prior   to  the   PowerPoint  presentation                                                               
entitled, "Early Childhood Education at NSBSD," dated 4/4/19.                                                                   
STEWART MCDONALD, Superintendent                                                                                                
North Slope Borough School District                                                                                             
Utqiagvik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled, "Early Childhood Education at NSBSD," dated 4/4/19.                                                                   
KATHY ITTA AHGEAK, Director of Inupiaq Education                                                                                
North Slope Borough School District                                                                                             
Utqiagvik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled, "Early Childhood Education at NSBSD," dated 4/4/19.                                                                   
MURIEL BROWER, Board Member                                                                                                     
North Slope Borough School District School Board                                                                                
Utqiagvik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation  entitled,  "Early  Childhood Education  at  NSBSD,"                                                               
dated 4/4/19.                                                                                                                   
JIM SLATER, Board President                                                                                                     
Pelican School Board                                                                                                            
Pelican, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided a  statement in  his capacity  as                                                             
president of the Pelican School Board.                                                                                          
FRANK KELTY, Mayor                                                                                                              
Unalaska; Board President                                                                                                       
Unalaska City School Board                                                                                                      
Unalaska, Unalaska, Alaska                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a  statement in his capacity as the                                                             
mayor of Unalaska  and the president of the  Unalaska City School                                                               
BARBARA AMAROK, Vice President/Clerk                                                                                            
Nome Public Schools School Board                                                                                                
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled,  "Strategies   for  Making  a  Difference   in  Student                                                               
Achievement," by the Alaska Association of School Boards.                                                                       
EMELY MARTINEZ, Student Representative                                                                                          
Lower Kuskokwim School District; Student                                                                                        
Bethel Regional High School                                                                                                     
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified following  the presentations  by                                                             
members of the Alaska Association of School Boards.                                                                             
MAYA WALL, Student                                                                                                              
Bethel Regional High School                                                                                                     
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified following  the presentations  by                                                             
members of the Association of School Boards.                                                                                    
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:04:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET DRUMMOND  called the  House Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:04 a.m.   Representatives Story,                                                               
Tuck, Revak,  Hopkins, and Drummond  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.    Representatives Zulkosky  and  Johnson  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
^PRESENTATION(S):  Strategies for Making  a Difference in Student                                                               
Achievement by the Alaska Association of School Boards                                                                          
PRESENTATION(S):  Strategies for Making a Difference in Student                                                               
     Achievement by the Alaska Association of School Boards                                                                   
8:05:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  the only order of  business would be                                                               
presentations on  the topic, "Strategies for  Making a Difference                                                               
in  Student Achievement,"  by the  Alaska  Association of  School                                                               
Boards (AASB).                                                                                                                  
8:05:56 AM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY JACKSON,  Board President,  Association of  Alaska School                                                               
Boards,  and  Board  President,  Aleutians  East  Borough  School                                                               
District School Board, informed  the committee local school board                                                               
members  are responsible  for the  governance  and allocation  of                                                               
resources  within  school  districts,  and  must  make  difficult                                                               
choices  on  how to  manage  dwindling  resources and  increasing                                                               
mandates.  She referred to  a survey that indicated Alaskans have                                                               
overwhelming  support  for public  education:    79.7 percent  of                                                               
Alaskans surveyed support providing  students with a well-rounded                                                               
education; 72.1  percent support  elected officials  who increase                                                               
funding   for  [kindergarten   through   twelfth  grade]   (K-12)                                                               
education.    Ms.  Jackson  said school  boards  strive  to  meet                                                               
challenges  and to  work  in  the best  interest  of students  as                                                               
evidenced  by the  following presentations.    She stressed  that                                                               
without support  from all  legislators -  no matter  what actions                                                               
educators and school boards implement  - Alaska will fail to meet                                                               
its  minimum  basic  requirement  to  fund  and  support  quality                                                               
education for all of its students.                                                                                              
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
8:10:42 AM                                                                                                                    
STARR MARSETT, Board President,  Anchorage School District School                                                               
Board,   co-provided   a    PowerPoint   presentation   entitled,                                                               
"Strategies  for  Making  a  Difference  in  Student  Achievement                                                               
within Anchorage School District," dated  4/8/19.  She stated the                                                               
Anchorage  School  District  (ASD)  has  strategies  for  student                                                               
success through  its mission -  Destination 2020 -  including six                                                               
initiatives or  goals, the successes  of which are measured  by a                                                               
public data dashboard  (slides 2 and 3).  She  explained the data                                                               
dashboard  provides  easily  accessible information  on  students                                                               
such  as school,  grades, ethnicity,  proficiency, and  behavior.                                                               
One  specific  initiative  is  to  increase  reading  proficiency                                                               
(slide  4),  and  she  directed   attention  to  slide  5,  which                                                               
illustrated the K-2  reading benchmark measuring curriculum-based                                                               
reading.   Ms.  Marsett pointed  out at  Homestead Elementary  in                                                               
Eagle River, winter assessments  indicate reading proficiency was                                                               
increased and  the school is  moving toward the goal  of lowering                                                               
the percentage  of at-risk  students.   The district  also offers                                                               
Science,  Technology, Engineering,  and Math  (STEM) programs  at                                                               
Central   and  Campbell   schools;  exceptional   world  language                                                               
programs;  career  technical  education;  dual  high  school  and                                                               
college  credits;  robust fine  arts;  home  school resources  at                                                               
Central  school; online  learning;  future  coding in  elementary                                                               
schools (slide 6).  Ms. Marsett  continued, noting ASD has a goal                                                               
to   expand  its   existing   internship   program  and   provide                                                               
internships for  all students within  the next five  years (slide                                                               
7).   Slide 8 illustrated  the success  of a student  who attends                                                               
Specialized   Academic  Vocational   Education  (S.A.V.E.)   High                                                               
School.    Ms.  Marsett  cautioned   all  of  the  aforementioned                                                               
programs  could  "be  gone  tomorrow"  due  to  painful  cuts  to                                                               
resources.  She said, "We've been  asked to do more with less and                                                               
I  think we've  done  that, but  to  do less  with  less ...  you                                                               
wouldn't see the successes that  we're talking about today."  Ms.                                                               
Marsett asked the committee to support HB 287.                                                                                  
8:16:41 AM                                                                                                                    
DEENA MITCHELL,  Board Member,  Anchorage School  District School                                                               
Board, expressed her appreciation  for the committee's support of                                                               
HB 287.   She  returned attention to  the internship  program and                                                               
said ASD  seeks to  provide week-long  internships to  every high                                                               
school  student,  which  promotes graduation  from  high  school;                                                               
however,  the program  takes resources  and is  being piloted  at                                                               
King  Tech High  School.   Further,  ASD has  placed reading  and                                                               
educational  coaches  in all  of  its  elementary schools.    Ms.                                                               
Mitchell stressed all of these programs take resources.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  STORY asked  how  ASD  is able  to  add  coding to  the                                                               
elementary curriculum without additional funding.                                                                               
MS.  MARSETT explained  coding will  be  provided in  cooperation                                                               
with  a software  company at  minimal cost  to ASD.   In  further                                                               
response to Co-Chair Story, she  said the program will be offered                                                               
to  fifth  or sixth  graders  and  she  offered to  provide  more                                                               
information when available.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  returned  attention   to  slide  5  and                                                               
questioned whether  reading proficiency  measurements accommodate                                                               
testing in bilingual students' most proficient language.                                                                        
MS. MITCHELL  said testing is  in English; however,  the Academic                                                               
English  Learner (AEL)  program  has been  restructured to  bring                                                               
services to the school level and support AEL students.                                                                          
MS. MARSETT  added ASD  is exploring  ways to  better communicate                                                               
with  [AEL] families  through a  smartphone QR  Code Reader  that                                                               
would provide messages from the school in their first language.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  spoke in  support of  immersion programs                                                               
in schools.                                                                                                                     
8:21:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  noted Ms.  Jackson referred  to increased                                                               
mandates placed  on schools  and asked  for examples  of mandates                                                               
that may be unfunded and may not be beneficial.                                                                                 
MS.  MITCHELL said  Bree's Law  [House  Bill 214,  passed in  the                                                               
Thirtieth  Alaska   State  Legislature]  requires   training  and                                                               
programming and is  an unfunded mandate.  She  offered to provide                                                               
additional information in this regard.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  offered to  verify the  source of  funding for                                                               
Bree's Law.                                                                                                                     
MS. MARSETT said  other mandates, such as  third grade retention,                                                               
are under  discussion and  expressed her hope  ASD and  the state                                                               
would collaborate on mandates.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  what  ASD is  doing to  strengthen                                                               
social and emotional learning programs.                                                                                         
MS. MARSETT  said the  district has  active social  and emotional                                                               
learning  (SEL),  and  efforts  such as  Capturing  Kids'  Hearts                                                               
furthers  relationships  between  teachers  and  students.    She                                                               
cautioned schools  are not able to  provide sufficient counselors                                                               
and social workers or suicide  prevention; in fact, students have                                                               
requested more mental health services.                                                                                          
MS. MITCHELL added  United Way provides a social  worker at Title                                                               
1 "plus"  schools.  However,  a student referred  for psychiatric                                                               
services sometimes waits nine or ten months for an appointment.                                                                 
MS. MARSETT pointed  out ASD has four health  clinics in schools,                                                               
which  provide mental  health services,  that are  funded through                                                               
outside organizations and thus are in jeopardy of closing.                                                                      
8:26:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  how student  achievement  differs                                                               
from student learning.                                                                                                          
MS. MITCHELL said ASD views  each student holistically, including                                                               
their  possible  trauma  or  foibles, hence  the  impact  of  SEL                                                               
efforts.    She  opined  teacher   turnover,  and  a  30  percent                                                               
[student] transient rate in Anchorage,  do not help students form                                                               
helpful   long-term   relationships;   however,   extracurricular                                                               
activities create opportunities for students to develop long-                                                                   
term relationships.                                                                                                             
MS.  MARSETT  advised learning  takes  place  when a  student  is                                                               
present; achievement occurs when the  school meets the needs of a                                                               
student beyond learning.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  illustrated the importance of  technical and                                                               
arts classes by stories of students  who were inspired to stay in                                                               
school and out of trouble.                                                                                                      
8:30:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY   returned  attention  to  slide   5  asked  what                                                               
interventions   are  directed   toward  K-2   students  who   are                                                               
identified with  reading proficiency levels of  some-risk and at-                                                               
MS. MARSETT explained within the  English Language Arts program a                                                               
portion of time is used to  work with students in groups based on                                                               
assessments  of their  level of  proficiency,  whether they  need                                                               
extra help, or more challenge.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  STORY  questioned whether  there  is  contact with  the                                                               
parents of children who need extra support.                                                                                     
MS.  MARSETT said  contact is  made  through the  school, by  the                                                               
teacher, and through the student information system [Zangle/Q].                                                                 
MS. MITCHELL advised  [communication with parents] is  an area in                                                               
which  ASD   can  improve  with  time   and  resources;  however,                                                               
improvement is difficult for teachers with large classes.                                                                       
MS. MARSETT gave  an example of a fifth-grade class  so large two                                                               
of the thirty-five students were  seated on the windowsill of the                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  questioned whether results have  been reported                                                               
from the new [AEL] program.                                                                                                     
MS. MARSETT  advised the K-2  program is  in its second  year and                                                               
fall and winter  measurements have been mixed.   The program will                                                               
take  time after  a  "rough  start with  our  teachers" thus  the                                                               
program will create more interaction with teachers.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  if   schools  have  problems  reaching                                                               
families who do not have smartphones.                                                                                           
MS. MARSETT said  she was unaware of any instance  where a parent                                                               
could not be reached.                                                                                                           
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
8:37:39 AM                                                                                                                    
KAY ANDREWS,  Board President,  Southwest Region  School District                                                               
School  Board, co-provided  a  PowerPoint presentation  entitled,                                                               
"Bristol Bay Region CTE."   She introduced a consortium of school                                                               
boards  from  four school  districts:    Southwest Region  School                                                               
District  (SWRS);  Lake  and Peninsula  School  District  (LPSD);                                                               
Dillingham  City  School  District (DCSD);  Bristol  Bay  Borough                                                               
School  District (BBBSD).   Ms.  Andrews said  the consortium  is                                                               
composed of school districts that  support student achievement in                                                               
the 24  communities of the Bristol  Bay region.  The  Bristol Bay                                                               
Regional  Career  and  Technical  Education  Consortium  (BBRCTE)                                                               
seeks  to  facilitate  the  delivery   of  career  and  technical                                                               
education (CTE)  to students in  said school districts.   Between                                                               
fiscal year  2012 (FY 12)  and FY  19, hundreds of  students from                                                               
the aforementioned  four school  districts have  taken coursework                                                               
and/or  have completed  CTE  course work  and  earned over  1,000                                                               
college  credits and  industry  certifications,  which could  not                                                               
have  been provided  by individual  school  districts (slide  2).                                                               
The courses  and pathways are  based on regional and  state labor                                                               
markets  and provide  continuing  education, apprenticeships,  or                                                               
employment  (slide 3).    Critical to  BBRCTE's  success are  the                                                               
partnerships  with  school  districts   and  local  and  regional                                                               
organizations  that  inform  industry-recognized  certifications,                                                               
occupational  endorsements,  and  dual  credit  opportunities  to                                                               
students (slide 4).   Further, the program serves  to develop all                                                               
skills  that are  necessary  to be  successful  in the  workplace                                                               
(slide 5).                                                                                                                      
8:41:12 AM                                                                                                                    
SHANNON-JOHNSON  NANALOOK,  Board   Member,  Lake  and  Peninsula                                                               
School  District  (LPSD)  School  Board, and  Board  Member,  CTE                                                               
Governance Board,  informed the  committee she  is a  graduate of                                                               
LPSD and lives with her family  in Newhalen.  She gave a personal                                                               
story  of  her daughter's  success  after  earning her  Emergency                                                               
Trauma Technician certification through  the BBRCTE program.  Her                                                               
daughter  is  now  a  first   responder  in  their  community,  a                                                               
community  which lacks  law  enforcement  or adequate  healthcare                                                               
response.    In addition,  her  daughter  received dual  credits,                                                               
which allowed  her to graduate  from high school with  honors and                                                               
pursue  her  dream of  graduation  from  college.   Ms.  Nanalook                                                               
pointed  out CTE  graduates are  workforce ready  with skills  to                                                               
find and  maintain jobs;  the CTE program  makes a  difference in                                                               
student achievement in her region.                                                                                              
8:42:51 AM                                                                                                                    
KIMBERLY  WILLIAMS,  Board   President,  Dillingham  City  School                                                               
District  School Board,  provided examples  of risks  to BBRCTE's                                                               
partnerships -  and the opportunities  and successes  it provides                                                               
to students -  that are posed by the  governor's proposed budget.                                                               
She explained  each school district  provides time  for certified                                                               
staff  to  develop  coursework,   and  for  classified  staff  to                                                               
coordinate  student travel  so that  students can  participate in                                                               
one-week  courses four  times per  year.   Also, school  district                                                               
administrators   provide  collaboration   and  oversight.     Ms.                                                               
Williams  stressed  Alaska's public  schools  are  at a  "tipping                                                               
point."  She  said, "... I'm asking you to  please place Alaska's                                                               
future  at the  forefront of  your decision  as our  students and                                                               
children will be the leaders of our great state."                                                                               
8:44:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA HAMON, Board Member, Bristol  Bay Borough School District                                                               
School  Board,  observed the  wide  diversity  between urban  and                                                               
rural  regions is  one facet  that makes  Alaska a  unique state.                                                               
The communities  in the  Bristol Bay  region are  traditional and                                                               
beloved  homelands  containing  many of  Alaska's  most  valuable                                                               
resources  and  profitable  industries   that  are  supported  by                                                               
residents  of  local  communities;   however,  children  are  the                                                               
region's most  valuable resource  and schools  provide employment                                                               
and  the "heartbeat"  of communities.   She  cautioned against  a                                                               
future in which  Alaskans cannot live with their  families in the                                                               
Bristol Bay region.  Ms. Hamon  urged for a growing economy and a                                                               
ready  workforce throughout  the  state made  possible by  stable                                                               
funding for schools and innovative programs such as BBRCTE.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  asked whether BBRCTE receives  direct or                                                               
in-kind financial  assistance from  any of its  partnerships and,                                                               
if so, the scope of the support that is provided.                                                                               
MS. ANDREWS said all partners  listed on slide 4 have contributed                                                               
to the program.  In  further response to Representative Zulkosky,                                                               
Ms. Andrews  said she  would provide to  the committee  the total                                                               
amount of funding received from BBRCTE partners.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  expressed her belief  partners typically                                                               
provide  a  significant  amount  of  money;  for  example,  other                                                               
Bristol Bay entities  have invested tens of  thousands of dollars                                                               
in fisheries research in partnership  with the Department of Fish                                                               
and Game.                                                                                                                       
8:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WILLIAMS stated  from her knowledge as a board  member of the                                                               
Bristol Bay  Native Corporation (BBNC)  board of  directors, BBNC                                                               
provides  each  of  the  four   school  districts  with  $25,000;                                                               
furthermore, one  of BBNC's subsidiaries provides  tax credits to                                                               
the  consortium.   These  contributions  leverage  grants to  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  concluded  slide  4  reflects  tens  or                                                               
perhaps hundreds of thousands of  dollars of investment by BBRCTE                                                               
MS.  HAMON   agreed  the  consortium  benefits   from  its  great                                                               
partnerships; however, the program  cannot exist without a robust                                                               
public school foundation that provides teachers and staff.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS strongly supported Ms. Hamon's statement.                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  noted  the Department  of  Labor  and  Workforce                                                               
Development (DLWD) has proposed HB  67 which would direct DLWD to                                                               
collaborate   with  the   Department  of   Education  and   Early                                                               
Development  to  coordinate  and  monitor  career  and  technical                                                               
education  programs.   She asked  whether  BBRCTE publicizes  its                                                               
offerings to inform  other districts and DLWD, and  if BBRCTE has                                                               
an opinion on the bill.                                                                                                         
MS HAMON was unsure as  to whether information about the training                                                               
programs has  been circulated beyond the  Bristol Bay communities                                                               
and local industry; she offered to provide more information.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  expressed his  strong support of  career and                                                               
technical education  and the partnerships BBRCTE  has established                                                               
with industry.                                                                                                                  
8:55:23 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:55 a.m. to 8:59 a.m.                                                                       
8:59:27 AM                                                                                                                    
ROXANNE  BROWER,  Board  President, North  Slope  Borough  School                                                               
District  School Board,  informed the  committee the  North Slope                                                               
Borough  School District  (NSBSD)  represents Atqasuk,  Anaktuvuk                                                               
Pass,  [Utqiagvik], Kaktovik,  Nuiqsuit,  Point  Hope, and  Point                                                               
9:00:42 AM                                                                                                                    
STEWART  MCDONALD,  Superintendent,  North Slope  Borough  School                                                               
District, introduced  a PowerPoint presentation  entitled, "Early                                                               
Childhood Education at  NSBSD."  He said the  North Slope Borough                                                               
School District (NSBSD)  team is focused on what  is important to                                                               
children in the NSBSD education system.   He related NSBSD made a                                                               
$1.6 million cut  to achieve a balanced budget;  in addition, the                                                               
North  Slope  Borough cut  over  $3.5  million, thus  the  school                                                               
district is currently starting the  fiscal year with $7.5 million                                                               
less  in   its  budget.     Dr.   McDonald  said   the  following                                                               
presentation is not about the  details of budget cuts but relates                                                               
to  NSBSD's  vision  of early  childhood  education  -  preschool                                                               
through  third grade  -  and the  importance  of early  childhood                                                               
education to a former student.                                                                                                  
9:03:07 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHY  ITTA AHGEAK,  Director of  Inupiaq Education,  North Slope                                                               
Borough  School  District,  gave  remarks  spoken  in  her  first                                                               
language, Inupiaq.   Ms.  Ahgeak said NSBSD  seeks ways  to bring                                                               
people together and  considers the very early years  of a child's                                                               
life  to be  years of  tremendous growth  that merit  significant                                                               
investment (slide 2).  She  advised the presenters represent five                                                               
generations since contact and noted  the tremendous change on the                                                               
North Slope;  although change  is hard,  economy is  a philosophy                                                               
that is  embraced by  the region.   Ms.  Ahgeak related  NSBSD is                                                               
redefining its  definition of early  childhood to  "the formative                                                               
years" even  before conscious  memory.   The North  Slope culture                                                               
seeks to bring elders, youth,  and children together to provide a                                                               
good  education   for  children.    She   recalled  the  National                                                               
Association for the  Education of Young Children  (NAEYC) Week of                                                               
the Young Child  used to be celebrated in Alaska  (slide 3).  One                                                               
of the  strategic goals of NSBSD  is to create a  vehicle through                                                               
which  language   and  culture   programs  will   revitalize  the                                                               
endangered  Inupiaq language;  immersion programs  are successful                                                               
and supported  by communities  in the  region.   Currently, NSBSD                                                               
has  added  two  locations  of  immersion  programs  to  existing                                                               
programs, and  has based its  strategy on  "creative curriculum,"                                                               
developed by certified teachers and best practices (slides 4-8).                                                                
9:09:29 AM                                                                                                                    
[Due to technical  difficulties, portions of the  audio were lost                                                               
MS.  AHGEAK  continued, describing  how  NSBSD  is bringing  back                                                               
local teacher aides "that were  somewhat pushed out of the system                                                               
through [the No  Child Left Behind (NCLB)  legislation].  Another                                                               
NSBSD  strategy  is  how  it  directs  place-  and  culture-based                                                               
education  to  young  children  by  teacher  instruction  in  the                                                               
classroom.     She  closed,  relating   her  personal   story  of                                                               
mitigating the  effects of difficulties  presented by  changes to                                                               
her culture through the "net" provided by the school system.                                                                    
[Due  to  technical  difficulties,  portions of  the  audio  were                                                               
9:12:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MURIEL BROWER, Board Member, North  Slope Borough School District                                                               
School  Board, informed  the committee  prior  to her  childhood,                                                               
NSBSD  had created  an early  childhood  education (ECE)  program                                                               
known as "ECE 3 and ECE 4"  to support 3- and 4-year-olds, and to                                                               
set them up for success.   This was a foundation for her success,                                                               
from  [pre-K to  twelfth grade],  and through  the University  of                                                               
Alaska  (UA)  system.   Ms.  Brower  graduated from  Barrow  High                                                               
School  in  1997,  from  UA  Fairbanks  (UAF)  in  2018,  and  is                                                               
continuing   her  education   at   UA  Southeast   (UAS).     She                                                               
acknowledged  there are  still  great  racial disparities  within                                                               
Alaska, but her  resiliency came because the path  of her culture                                                               
and  the path  of  the public  education  system worked  together                                                               
successfully.   She  said her  life could  have gone  differently                                                               
without the  opportunities presented  by higher education  to her                                                               
and her mother throughout the  public education system, including                                                               
a pre-K program.                                                                                                                
[Due  to  recording difficulties,  the  remainder  of Ms.  Muriel                                                               
Brower's testimony was lost.]                                                                                                   
[Due  to  recording difficulties,  a  portion  of the  audio  was                                                               
9:17:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said the foregoing  testimony reminded him of                                                               
the motto  of the  [2014] Alaska Federation  of Natives:  Rise As                                                               
One.   He  directed  attention  to slide  8  and  inquired as  to                                                               
NSBSD's teacher turnover rate.                                                                                                  
DR.  MCDONALD  said teacher  turnover  has  been  as high  as  30                                                               
percent, is  now improved to 25  percent, and the goal  is for 20                                                               
percent turnover.   He  mentioned the  difficulty of  retaining a                                                               
workforce in remote villages.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   lamented  the  state's   unwillingness  to                                                               
compensate  teachers and  stressed the  importance of  efforts to                                                               
make teachers part of their communities.   He then asked for more                                                               
information on the Week of the Young Child.                                                                                     
MS. AGHEAK explained NAEYC has a  history of a strong presence in                                                               
Alaska  supporting  teachers  and   honoring  their  work.    The                                                               
organization sponsors  national and regional  celebrations during                                                               
the Week of  the Young Child, and in [Utqiagvit],  there was once                                                               
a circus celebration  for the community.  She  expressed her hope                                                               
this  event can  again be  celebrated in  Alaska -  especially in                                                               
rural areas  - and suggested  a [legislative]  proclamation would                                                               
be appropriate.                                                                                                                 
9:22:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY,  through her personal  experience, spoke                                                               
of  the  importance  of  cultural   identity  programs  that  are                                                               
incorporated in  the education of  young children  throughout the                                                               
state.  She asked how long  NSBSD has been working to establish a                                                               
language immersion program.                                                                                                     
MS.  AGHEAK said  immersion  programs begin  in  the 1990's  with                                                               
collaboration between  local scholars and colleagues  in Hawai'i.                                                               
However,  the  programs  struggled  to  meet  testing  assessment                                                               
criteria and  to find  certified teachers  at the  first- through                                                               
fourth-grade  levels.    Since  then, NSBSD  has  had  a  partial                                                               
immersion program in  K-3 and K-4, which it seeks  to expand with                                                               
the support of volunteers.                                                                                                      
[Due  to  recording difficulties,  a  portion  of the  audio  was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  asked   how  bi-lingual  and  immersion                                                               
programs effect language proficiency.                                                                                           
9:27:19 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCDONALD advised,  prior to his service in  the district, the                                                               
strategic  plan  had  "pushed out  measurement  indicators  ...."                                                               
However,  the  present  school  board  insisted  on  the  use  of                                                               
measurement  indicators,  thus,  when  related  to  the  language                                                               
program, the use of measurement  indicators to guide practice has                                                               
now  been renewed.   He  acknowledged  the district  has ways  to                                                               
measure [the success  of the language program]  and, although the                                                               
information has  not been collected  and reported for  some time,                                                               
it is the  responsibility of the superintendent of  schools to do                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   ZULKOSKY  urged   school   districts  that   are                                                               
experienced   in  delivering   place-based  indigenous   language                                                               
programs to  share their expertise  related to  measuring program                                                               
success.   She then asked  how additional state  education budget                                                               
cuts would impact similar language programs.                                                                                    
DR. MCDONALD restated  NSBSD adjusted its budget  by $1.6 million                                                               
to  account for  [inflation].   In  addition, NSB  cut the  local                                                               
school district appropriation by 10  percent, and cut back Career                                                               
Technology  education, Yup'ik  education, and  other supplemental                                                               
programs.  The final reduction  of $7.5 million came from reduced                                                               
professional  technical  services,  non-student  travel,  reduced                                                               
materials and supplies, and the  elimination of 14 positions from                                                               
districtwide and  administrative services.  Additional  cuts will                                                               
come from teacher and teacher aide positions.                                                                                   
9:33:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  questioned what has  reduced the rate  of teacher                                                               
turnover in NSBSD.                                                                                                              
DR.  MCDONALD  said  the  school   board  committed  to  cultural                                                               
orientation  with  staff  to ensure  teachers  feel  welcome  and                                                               
understand the  school population;  also, teachers  demanded more                                                               
engaged  professional development.   He  advised improvements  in                                                               
retention  are  directly  connected to  meeting  teachers'  needs                                                               
through  professional  development,  supporting  curriculum,  and                                                               
cultural integration.                                                                                                           
MS.  AGHEAK,  in response  to  Co-Chair  Drummond, explained  ILF                                                               
stands  for  Inupiaq Learning  Framework,  which  is "a  work  in                                                               
progress  for many  years."   She  added even  before the  school                                                               
district  was incorporated,  there was  an early  initiative that                                                               
urged for a strong place-based  science curriculum to address the                                                               
interests of the Arctic region.                                                                                                 
[Due  to  recording difficulties,  a  portion  of the  audio  was                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked for the source of NSBSD's pre-K funding.                                                                
DR. MCDONALD  said NSB  made a commitment  to fund  the preschool                                                               
three-  and  four-year-old   program;  also,  some  developmental                                                               
preschool  funds  are  received though  "special  education"  and                                                               
federal and state passthrough grants.                                                                                           
9:38:06 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM SLATER,  Board President, Pelican School  Board, informed the                                                               
committee he  and his  wife and three  children live  in Pelican.                                                               
For the  past 20 years,  Pelican has struggled for  existence due                                                               
to  the cyclical  vagaries of  the  commercial fishing  industry.                                                               
Efforts by the  community to diversify its  economy and stabilize                                                               
its population  depend upon the fundamental  services supplied by                                                               
state  government,  such as  support  for  Pelican City  Schools.                                                               
Currently, there  are new  families in town  and new  fish buying                                                               
and  processing  businesses,  and volunteers  are  now  providing                                                               
extracurricular  classes in  the schools.   Mr.  Slater said  the                                                               
state budget  proposal is damaging to  Pelican's recovery effort;                                                               
in  fact, the  proposed  budget  cuts will  be  devasting to  the                                                               
future of  Pelican, and he  expressed opposition to  the proposed                                                               
budget, noting  negative impacts to  young Alaskans.   Mr. Slater                                                               
suggested alternatives to cuts to  the education budget and urged                                                               
the committee to "carefully consider our priorities."                                                                           
9:40:57 AM                                                                                                                    
FRANK KELTY, Mayor, Unalaska, and  Board President, Unalaska City                                                               
School Board,  said he  is a  50-year resident  of Unalaska.   He                                                               
described how  Unalaska schools have  grown from one  school that                                                               
graduated  four to  five students  to  two schools  of over  four                                                               
hundred-fifty students.   He credited  the growth and  success of                                                               
Unalaska's schools to the success  of the fishing industry, which                                                               
allows the community  to support its school district.   Unlike in                                                               
the past, the  school district has received  maximum funding from                                                               
the  city for  over  35 years.   The  city  also supports  school                                                               
maintenance  through  a  community  schools  program,  and  funds                                                               
preschool  for 3-  and 4-year-olds,  less tuition.   Mayor  Kelty                                                               
spoke of the  academic achievements of Unalaska  schools and said                                                               
he  views  a  successful  educational system  as  a  three-legged                                                               
stool:  funding  from  the  state, funding  from  the  city,  and                                                               
excellent  staffing  and students.    He  said quality  staff  is                                                               
critical to  successful schools and  advised the  school district                                                               
hires English  as a Second  Language (ESL) teachers to  serve the                                                               
children  of fish-processing  workers, from  all over  the world,                                                               
who speak many different languages.                                                                                             
9:45:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MAYOR KELTY expressed  his concern about the proposed  cut to the                                                               
base  student allocation  (BSA) that  would result  in a  loss to                                                               
Unalaska  of $1.3  million, or  17 percent  of its  budget.   The                                                               
district has  about $700,000 in  reserves; however,  $250,000 was                                                               
used  to balance  its upcoming  budget.   He pointed  out due  to                                                               
Unalaska's  location  in  the Bering  Sea,  the  school  district                                                               
travel  budget  is $600,000.    Furthermore,  he opined  proposed                                                               
budget   cuts  to   education  funding   have  encouraged   staff                                                               
retirement and  discouraged workforce  recruitment.   Mayor Kelty                                                               
stressed  a quality  education is  mandated by  the Alaska  State                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND questioned the  state and local percentages for                                                               
school funding [in Unalaska].                                                                                                   
MAYOR  KELTY  clarified  local  funding  is  50  percent  without                                                               
contributions   for  food   service,  preschool,   and  community                                                               
CO-CHAIR  STORY  observed Unalaska  honors  and  supports a  rich                                                               
diversity of cultures within its school district.                                                                               
9:51:58 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA AMAROK, Vice President/Clerk,  Nome Public Schools School                                                               
Board, informed the committee she  has served on the school board                                                               
for  nine years  and worked  for the  school district  for twenty                                                               
years.   Nome has recently  implemented initiatives  that address                                                               
the long-standing  achievement gap for Alaska  Native students in                                                               
order to teach  strategies that make a difference.   For example,                                                               
in  2017,   Nome  Public  Schools  adopted   a  strategic  equity                                                               
framework  that   identifies  the  district's  role   in  erasing                                                               
[racial]  disparities; a  few years  ago, it  was not  recognized                                                               
that  the responsibility  for the  disparity  rests with  adults.                                                               
Although   societal   and   historical  factors   contribute   to                                                               
inequities, the  Nome School  District has  begun to  address and                                                               
overcome  inequities, in  the areas  of  cultural competence,  by                                                               
examining personal  biases and placing  value on ancient  ways of                                                               
life in  Alaska.  Dr. Amarok  said, "... we've been  working with                                                               
AAFC  and with  the  First Alaskans  Institute  to hold  regional                                                               
community  and   district  dialogue   and  provide   training  in                                                               
understanding institutional  racism.  In our  district 85 percent                                                               
of the student  population is Alaska Native but  there has always                                                               
been  little  representation  of   our  history  and  culture  in                                                               
school."   She provided  examples of  messages of  acceptance and                                                               
understanding of  other cultures  and stressed the  importance of                                                               
community  collaboration and  integration to  students' wellbeing                                                               
in school.   Dr.  Amarok further  advised education  equity means                                                               
raising  the  achievement  of all  students  and  narrowing  gaps                                                               
between the  lowest and highest performing  students to eliminate                                                               
the disproportionality  of achievement.  Because  past efforts to                                                               
reach this  goal have been  unsuccessful, the school  district is                                                               
altering its policy and practices  to achieve and maintain racial                                                               
and  societal  economic  equity;  in addition,  the  Nome  School                                                               
District  is working  with  AASB and  other  school districts  on                                                               
policies,  cultural safety,  and  other practices.   She  further                                                               
explained the  concept of educational  equity goes  beyond formal                                                               
equality in  order "to [foster] a  barrier-free environment where                                                               
all students  succeed because of  who they  are, not in  spite of                                                               
who they are ...."                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS  appreciated   Dr.  Amarok's   testimony                                                               
regarding institutional racism.                                                                                                 
9:56:23 AM                                                                                                                    
EMELY  MARTINEZ, Student  Representative, Lower  Kuskokwim School                                                               
District,  and   a  student  at  Bethel   Regional  High  School,                                                               
expressed appreciation  for the  school districts that  fight for                                                               
the future leaders of Alaska.   She said she moved to Alaska from                                                               
Georgia and is  happy she now receives personal  attention in her                                                               
small  class from  her teachers  who want  her to  succeed.   She                                                               
cautioned  budget cuts  will harm  students and  deprive them  of                                                               
motivation, which is vital for students who live in rural areas.                                                                
9:58:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MAYA WALL, Student, Bethel Regional  High School, said she is new                                                               
to  Alaska  and  appreciates  the opportunities  offered  at  her                                                               
school that have created new possibilities for her.                                                                             
10:00:18 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
AASB NSBSD Presentation.pdf HEDC 4/8/2019 8:00:00 AM
AASB BBBSD & LPSD Presentation.pdf HEDC 4/8/2019 8:00:00 AM
AASB Starr Marsett ASD Presentation.pdf HEDC 4/8/2019 8:00:00 AM