Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

05/06/2019 08:30 AM EDUCATION

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08:30:26 AM Start
08:32:03 AM Presentation: Alaska's University for Alaska's Schools - Teacher Preparation, Retention, and Recruitment Initiatives at the University of Alaska.
09:54:45 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
--Please Note Time Change --
Joint with Senate EDC
+ Presentation: Alaska's University for Alaska's TELECONFERENCED
Schools - Teacher Preparation, Retention and
Recruitment Initiatives at the University of
Alaska (Annual Report per AS 14.40.190b) by
Dr. Steve Atwater, Exec. Dean of the UA College
of Education
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                          JOINT MEETING                                                                                       
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                            
                           May 6, 2019                                                                                          
                            8:30 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                      
 Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                            
 Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                   
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                
 Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                      
 Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                  
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                             
 Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                           
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                      
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Chris Birch                                                                                                            
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: ALASKA'S UNIVERSITY FOR ALASKA'S SCHOOLS - TEACHER                                                                
PREPARATION~ RETENTION~ AND RECRUITMENT INITIATIVES AT THE                                                                      
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA.                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
STEVE ATWATER, Ph.D., Executive Dean                                                                                            
Alaska College of Education                                                                                                     
University of Alaska Southeast                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:    Delivered   the   presentation   on   Alaska's                                                       
University    for    Alaska's   Schools    -   Teacher    Preparation,                                                          
Retention,   and  Recruitment    Initiatives   at  the  University   of                                                         
Alaska (as per AS 14.40.190(b))                                                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:30:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS   called  the  joint  meeting  of  the  House  and                                                       
Senate   Education   Standing  Committees    to  order  at   8:30  a.m.                                                         
Present  at  the call  to  order  from  the House  Education   Standing                                                         
Committee    were    Representatives     Hopkins,    Johnson,    Story,                                                         
Zulkosky,  Revak  and  Drummond.  Present  from  the  Senate  Education                                                         
Standing Committee were Senator Hughes, Costello and Stevens.                                                                   
^Presentation:    Alaska's   University    for   Alaska's   Schools   -                                                         
Teacher  Preparation,   Retention,   and  Recruitment   Initiatives  at                                                         
the University of Alaska.                                                                                                       
 Presentation: Alaska's University for Alaska's Schools - Teacher                                                           
   Preparation, Retention, and Recruitment Initiatives at the                                                               
                      University of Alaska.                                                                                 
8:32:03 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  STEVE  ATWATER,  Executive  Dean,  Alaska  College  of  Education,                                                         
University   of Alaska   Southeast,  Juneau,  Alaska,   introduced  the                                                         
topics of discussion relating to the presentation.                                                                              
   square4 The teaching preparation     programs    offered    at   the                                                         
           University of Alaska (UA)                                                                                            
   square4 The Alaska College of Education (AKCOE)                                                                              
   square4 The new recruitment efforts in place at the university                                                               
   square4 The ongoing improvement of training teachers to teach                                                                
   square4 The impacts of the University of Anchorage discontinuing                                                             
           its education program.                                                                                               
DR.  ATWATER   stated  that  the   pathway  to  become   a  teacher  in                                                         
Alaska  is  well  established.   The  state  is  the licensing   agency                                                         
for  becoming  a  teacher.  All  pathways  require  an  internship.  He                                                         
noted  one pathway  called  the  post baccalaureate   program  is where                                                         
a  student   has  already   earned   a  bachelor's   degree   and  goes                                                         
directly  into  the  workforce  before  they  complete  the  university                                                         
program.  The  state  allows  an  initial  license  to be  issued  when                                                         
someone  has a  bachelor's  degree  as well  as 5 years  of experience                                                          
in  the  content  area  they  will  be teaching.   This  pathway  helps                                                         
fill the vacancies across Alaska's school districts.                                                                            
8:34:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS   asked   how  teachers   from   other   states   begin                                                         
teaching in Alaska.                                                                                                             
DR.    ATWATER     responded    that     Alaska    accepts     teaching                                                         
certifications   from  other   states.  Out  of  state   teachers  must                                                         
apply  and take  two courses  to  qualify  for a teaching  certificate                                                          
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
DR.  ATWATER  continued   to  explain  that  there   are  19  different                                                         
teacher   certification   pathways   available   to  students   at  all                                                         
three   campuses.   He  reported   that  the   average  number   of  UA                                                         
students  graduating   with  a  teaching  certificate   is  about  244.                                                         
The  overall  numbers   are  holding  steady.   He  mentioned  that  he                                                         
would  later  discuss  what was  being  implemented  to  improve  this.                                                         
He  pointed  out  that   the  number  of  prepared   teachers  did  not                                                         
always equate to the number of teachers entering the workforce.                                                                 
8:36:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS    asked   how    many   students    go   through   the                                                         
certification process but do not go into the workforce.                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  the  number  varies,  ranging  as high  as                                                         
30 percent  to  as low  as  10 percent.  He  noted there  were  varying                                                         
reasons  for a  newly prepared  teacher  to  not enter  the  workforce.                                                         
Students  might  wait  a year  or  two before  going  to  work  or they                                                         
may choose to teach out of state.                                                                                               
DR.  ATWATER stated  that  most  of Alaska's  teachers  were  certified                                                         
out  of  state,  making  Alaska  dependent   upon  these  teachers.  He                                                         
said  around  42 percent   of the  teachers  in  Alaska  were  prepared                                                         
by UA  and the  goal is  to see  this number  increase.  He  emphasized                                                         
that  teachers  prepared   by  UA remain   teaching  in  Alaska  longer                                                         
than those prepared out of state.                                                                                               
8:38:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  noted   that  many  other  programs  aid  students  in                                                         
finding  a  job in  the  workforce  upon  graduating.  Even  though  it                                                         
was  not  the university's   role  to  place  students  in  a job,  she                                                         
asked  why  recent  graduates  were  not  placed  in  the  many  vacant                                                         
jobs within Alaska's school districts.                                                                                          
DR.  ATWATER  answered   that  through  the  program,   Alaska  Teacher                                                         
Placement,   the  university  plays  a  significant   role  in  placing                                                         
graduates   into   the   workforce.    When  a   student   does   their                                                         
internship,  the  relationships  they  forge  with the  principals  and                                                         
school   districts  can   often  lead  to  immediate   employment.   He                                                         
noted  an  intern   who  completes   their  student   teaching  in  one                                                         
district  but wants  a job  in another  district,  has  an easier  time                                                         
in  Alaska  because  school  districts   have  stronger  relationships                                                          
with each other, compared to other states.                                                                                      
8:40:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked how interns were assigned to communities.                                                                   
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  he  would  discuss   the  distribution  of                                                         
interns later in the presentation.                                                                                              
DR.   ATWATER   referenced   a  graph   that   shows   the  number   of                                                         
unduplicated  jobs  compared  to  the number  of UA  teacher  graduates                                                         
for  2013  to  2017.  He  explained  that  an  unduplicated   job  is a                                                         
single  position,  whereas  a duplicated  job  is two  positions  (such                                                         
as  health and  P.E.)  being  taught  by one  person.  The chart  shows                                                         
that  in  2017  there  were  500 people   hired  in unduplicated   jobs                                                         
and  the number  of  UA  teacher  graduates  hired  was  about 240.  He                                                         
said  the key  is  to increase  the  number  of  UA graduates   to meet                                                         
the number of unduplicated jobs.                                                                                                
DR.  ATWATER  mentioned   that  the  state  performs   a  vacancy  rate                                                         
survey  at   the  beginning  of   every  year.  The  vacancy   rate  in                                                         
Alaska  is  the  highest  it  has  ever  been  and continues   to  be a                                                         
challenge  across  school  districts.  He  noted  that  a recent  study                                                         
shows  a  tension  exists  between  the  number  of employed   teachers                                                         
across  the  country  and  the  number  of  newly  prepared   teachers.                                                         
The  study  found  about  16  percent  of  teachers  were  leaving  the                                                         
profession   while  only 10  percent  were  entering   the profession.                                                          
He said  this  tension is  felt greatly  in  Alaska  because Alaska  is                                                         
dependent   upon   teachers   prepared   out   of   state.   Therefore,                                                         
Alaskan  schools  are struggling   to fill  the vacancies,  especially                                                          
in rural Alaska.                                                                                                                
DR.  ATWATER  pointed   out  that  UA  has responded   to  the  vacancy                                                         
issue in four major ways.                                                                                                       
      square4 The creation of the Alaska College of Education a year                                                            
      square4 An emphasis on recruitment efforts due to a higher need                                                           
         within the profession                                                                                                  
      square4 A focus on adequately preparing teachers to enter the                                                             
      square4 Supporting teacher retention                                                                                      
DR.  ATWATER  said  the  Board  of Regents   voted  in 2018  to  create                                                         
the  Alaska  College   of  Education  to  act  as  a  single  point  of                                                         
contact.  This  was done  to enhance  collaboration   and coordination                                                          
between   the   separate    units   of   Anchorage,    Fairbanks,   and                                                         
Southeast.   The  level  of  coordination   was  never  what  it  could                                                         
have  been  when  operating  as  three  separate  units.  He  mentioned                                                         
that   the  college   produces   a  tighter   alignment   between   the                                                         
university   and  the  K-12   system  because   it  creates   a  single                                                         
connection  for  the entire  state.  He stated  that  as the  Executive                                                         
Dean,   he   would   help   build   and   strengthen    the   college's                                                         
relationship with all the K-12 school districts.                                                                                
8:48:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER   noted  that  there   are  still  three  separate   units                                                         
within   the  university.   He  mentioned   that  he  has  traditional                                                          
oversight  of  the University   of Southeast  in  Juneau,  but  he also                                                         
oversees  the  coordination  of the  system  level activity  to  assess                                                         
and make improvements.                                                                                                          
8:49:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS    mentioned    that   he    misunderstood    the   new                                                         
reorganization.   He said  he  thought  all the  units  would be  under                                                         
the  traditional   oversight   of  Dr.  Atwater.   He  asked  why  this                                                         
changed   and  if   the  university    would  move   back  to   a  more                                                         
traditional oversight system.                                                                                                   
DR.  ATWATER clarified   that the  Board of  Regents  intended  for the                                                         
College  of  Education   to move  to  a  single  system  like  the  UAA                                                         
nursing  program  but once  the decision  was  made,  the board  looked                                                         
at accreditation   from  the university's   standpoint  and found  that                                                         
each   university   needs   to  have   its   own  accreditation.    The                                                         
accrediting   body,   the   Northwest   Commission   of  Colleges   and                                                         
Universities   (NWCCU),  determined  that  the  model  presented  would                                                         
be  doable   but   would  take   years   to  put   into  place.   NWCCU                                                         
recommended   taking  the  time to  reorganize   or risk  jeopardizing                                                          
accreditation   by trying  to  place  all education  students   at UAS.                                                         
He  noted that  Senator  Stevens  was  correct  because  the intent  of                                                         
the Board  of  Regents was  to have  a single  unit,  with all  faculty                                                         
employed   by  that  unit  and  all  students   graduating   from  that                                                         
unit.  Dr.  Atwater   said  he  was  unsure  if  the  board  still  had                                                         
plans  to  move  in  that  direction   in  the  future.  He  noted  the                                                         
discontinuation   of the  education  program  at UAA  this year  leaves                                                         
only  the University  of  Alaska  Southeast  (UAS) and  the  University                                                         
of  Fairbanks  (UAF).  He said  this  was a  complicated  conversation                                                          
that he would not expand on.                                                                                                    
8:51:21 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES   asked  if  he  was  having  conversations   with  the                                                         
Board  of Regents  regarding  going  to one  accreditation  model  over                                                         
the next few years and if he supported it.                                                                                      
DR.  ATWATER   stated  that  he  was  unsure   of  what  the  Board  of                                                         
Regents   had   planned.   He   offered   his   belief   that   greater                                                         
collaboration   of  the  system   would  be  beneficial.   However,  he                                                         
would defer the question to President Johnson.                                                                                  
SENATOR  HUGHES  asked  Chair  Stevens   if it  was  possible  to  hear                                                         
from  the  president   of  university   on  this  subject,   especially                                                         
since there has been loss of accreditation at UAA.                                                                              
8:52:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   answered   that  Dr.  Atwater  was   hired  under  the                                                         
assumption   that he  would  provide  the  traditional   oversight  for                                                         
the  entire  system.  However,  current   circumstances  seem  to  have                                                         
made  things  less organized.   He stated  that  the  university  would                                                         
be   contacted   to   hold   a  future   discussion    concerning   the                                                         
university's accreditation model.                                                                                               
8:53:14 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  explained   the main  roles  of  the  Alaska  College  of                                                         
      square4 Provides traditional teacher preparation programs                                                                 
      square4 Coordinates the budget of the three separate units                                                                
      square4 Preforms the statewide function of managing and analyzing                                                         
         the education data                                                                                                     
      square4 Leads in the recruitment process                                                                                  
DR.  ATWATER  stated  that  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                         
Development  (DEED)  was  now using  the college  as  the single  point                                                         
of  contact.  He said  he  was engaged  with  K-12  on a  new level  to                                                         
help  maintain   and build   a stronger   relationship.   He  mentioned                                                         
that  the  system  may  not  look  the  way  the  board  intended,  but                                                         
changes   have   been  made   to  create   a  more   efficient   system                                                         
regarding external relationships.                                                                                               
DR.  ATWATER  expanded   on  the  teacher  recruitment   and  placement                                                         
issues,  noting  that the  national  program  called  Educators  Rising                                                         
is  in  half  of  the  school  districts  in  Alaska.   The  university                                                         
established   a  four-course  career   pathway  that  was  designed  to                                                         
steer  high  school  students  towards   the teaching   profession.  He                                                         
noted Educators Rising is funded by the university.                                                                             
8:55:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  mentioned  that Senator  Hoffman  put  $850,000  in the                                                         
budget  for  Educators  Rising.  He  asked  Dr.  Atwater  to expand  on                                                         
how  the organization   works,  how many  schools  were  involved,  and                                                         
how the money would be used.                                                                                                    
8:56:15 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER   answered  that  the  money   would  be  used  to  create                                                         
curriculum  for  middle  schools  to  establish   a 6-12  pathway,  not                                                         
just  a 9-12  pathway.  It would  also  be used  to  support  districts                                                         
in offering  career  technical  events  that  bring  students  together                                                         
to compete  with  one another  on  a variety  of issues.  He  said some                                                         
students  go  on to  compete  at  the  national  level.  Currently,  26                                                         
school  districts  participate   in Educators   Rising  across  Alaska.                                                         
He stated  that  his hope  was for  this program  to  nurture  students                                                         
to want to enter the teaching profession.                                                                                       
8:58:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  if Future  Teachers  of  America  was a  similar                                                         
organization to Educators Rising.                                                                                               
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  a  program  called   Future  Educators  of                                                         
Alaska  existed  for  years  but  had  poor  returns  in  creating  new                                                         
teachers.  It  was  primarily  an after-school   activity  that  lacked                                                         
depth.  He  noted   that  Educators   Rising  was  structured   so  the                                                         
students  make  the decision  to  take the  career pathway  courses  in                                                         
teaching.  The  difference  is  that  students  and teachers  are  more                                                         
invested in the program, he said.                                                                                               
8:59:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS  asked  how long  Educators  Rising  had  been                                                         
in  existence   and  if any  data   supported  its  effectiveness.   He                                                         
asked  how  many  of  the students   in  the program   go into  the  UA                                                         
School of Education.                                                                                                            
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  Educators   Rising  was implemented   just                                                         
two  years  ago, so  the  data is  not  significant  enough  to  draw a                                                         
complete  conclusion.   The program  is  being  monitored  closely.  He                                                         
said  he hoped  that  within  a  few years,  a  substantial  number  of                                                         
student   teachers    would   be   former   students    who   completed                                                         
Educators Rising courses.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE    HOPKINS   asked   how  the   College   of   Education                                                         
coordinates   with  the  K-12  outreach   office  regarding   Educators                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  responded  that  there  has  been  frequent  contact  and                                                         
collaboration    between    the   K-12   outreach    office   and   the                                                         
university.   He   noted   that   the  money   that   comes  from   the                                                         
university   to  support  the  Educators  Rising   program  comes  with                                                         
his blessing.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS   asked  if  the  K-12  outreach   office  was                                                         
under   the  College   of   Education   or  if  it   was  a   statewide                                                         
DR.  ATWATER replied  that  the K-12  outreach  office  belongs  to the                                                         
University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks.  The employees  there  are  employed                                                         
by UAF, but they perform a state-level function.                                                                                
9:01:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked   if the  Educators   Rising  curriculum   was a                                                         
dual  credit  class   or  an elective   offered  as  cohesive   courses                                                         
building upon one another.                                                                                                      
DR.  ATWATER  responded   Educators   Rising  was  not  a  dual  credit                                                         
class;  however,  there  was interest   in making  it  dual credit.  He                                                         
offered  his belief  that  the most  important  dual  credit classes  a                                                         
student  can take  are GERs  in math  and  English.  He noted  that the                                                         
Educator  Rising  courses  can  be  taken  out of  sequence,  but  they                                                         
are designed to be taken in sequence.                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR STORY asked if Educators Rising was a two-year program.                                                                
DR. ATWATER responded yes; each course lasts a semester.                                                                        
9:03:26 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  continued  to  discuss  how  the  university  works  with                                                         
school  districts   to help  paraprofessionals    become  teachers.  He                                                         
said  paraprofessionals   are in  the schools  so they  understand  the                                                         
community  and  can  be  one  of the  most  constant  pieces  within  a                                                         
school  district.  UAF and  UAS  work with  paraprofessionals   to help                                                         
them  earn their  teaching  certificates.  He  described  it as  a slow                                                         
process.  UAF  has just  two to  three paraprofessionals   graduate  as                                                         
a certified  teacher  each  year because  they  are only  able  to take                                                         
one  or two  courses  per  semester.  He  noted  it was  beneficial  to                                                         
have  local   communities   invest   in  local   people  who   will  go                                                         
directly into the workforce.                                                                                                    
9:04:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR    STEVENS    commented     that    the    problem    for    many                                                         
paraprofessionals   is the  time  commitment  to become  a teacher.  He                                                         
asked how the process could be expedited for paraprofessionals.                                                                 
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that lower  Kuskokwim's   model was  the  way to                                                         
do  it.  Their   model  recognizes   paraprofessionals    who  are  far                                                         
enough  along  in  acquiring   their  teaching  credentials   and  pays                                                         
them  a full  salary  during  their  internship.  However,  this  would                                                         
be a  difficult  model to  emulate  in all  districts  due to  funding,                                                         
he said.                                                                                                                        
9:05:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    ZULKOSKY    commented    that   she    met   with   a                                                         
paraprofessional   educator   in lower  Kuskokwim   who  was  currently                                                         
moving  through   the  certification   process.  She  said  she  agrees                                                         
that  the process  does  not produce  a high  volume  of teachers,  but                                                         
it     is    absolutely      a    worthwhile      investment.     These                                                         
paraprofessionals     are   highly    invested,    knowledgeable    and                                                         
compassionate and they are an inspiration to see.                                                                               
9:06:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR    STORY     said    she    imagines    that    long-standing                                                          
paraprofessionals     have    developed     expertise    in    behavior                                                         
management,   which   is  an  important   skill  to  be  an   effective                                                         
teacher.  She  said she  wonders  if the university   has considered  a                                                         
competency  test  for  academic  knowledge  and  behavior  management,                                                          
so  students  who  display  a  certain  level  of  knowledge  can  move                                                         
through the program faster.                                                                                                     
DR. ATWATER  responded  that  there  is a constant  push  to use  prior                                                         
knowledge   or  proficiency,   so  students   don't   need  to  take  a                                                         
course  if  they  are already   qualified.  The  university  allows  up                                                         
to 25  percent  of a  degree  to be earned  this  way.  He said  he was                                                         
unaware  if this  was being  done  within  the education  classes,  but                                                         
there  is  no  reason  it couldn't   be  done  that  way if  a  student                                                         
were to petition.                                                                                                               
9:08:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   DRUMMOND   asked   how  paraprofessionals    in   the  Lower                                                         
Kuskokwim  School   District  take  college  courses   without  leaving                                                         
their home communities.                                                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  responded  that  most  paraprofessionals   take  distance                                                         
courses.  Every  May  UAF brings  a  group  of students   to Bethel  to                                                         
complete   one  or two  courses   in  an  intensive  two-week   period.                                                         
Also,  some  travel  to the  Fairbanks  campus   to attend  classes  in                                                         
the summertime.                                                                                                                 
9:09:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  mentioned  that it  would be  beneficial  to hear  from                                                         
the  Lower  Kuskokwim   School  District  next  year  regarding   their                                                         
progress  in  helping  paraprofessionals   become certified   teachers.                                                         
He said  this  could help  lawmakers  understand  how  to emulate  this                                                         
model in other districts.                                                                                                       
DR.   ATWATER    responded    that    the   university    is    seeking                                                         
paraprofessionals   because   they  are  local  people,   taking  local                                                         
jobs which aids in teacher retention.                                                                                           
DR.  ATWATER stated  that  his last  point  related  to recruitment  is                                                         
the  statewide  issue of  raising  the social  esteem  of the  teaching                                                         
profession.   He highlighted   that  the social   esteem  of a  teacher                                                         
in  Finland  is  much   higher  than  in  Alaska.  The   university  is                                                         
calling  on  everyone  to  help  make  the  teaching   profession  more                                                         
attractive   socially,  so  more  young  people  are  drawn  to it,  he                                                         
9:10:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   STORY  pointed   out   that  this   was  the  beginning   of                                                         
national  teacher  appreciation   week.  She offered  her  belief  that                                                         
teachers  are  unsung heroes.  As  policy makers,  it  is important  to                                                         
ensure education is adequately funded, she said.                                                                                
9:11:28 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER   explained   that  Alaska-prepared   teachers   are  more                                                         
likely  to  stay in  the  state  and teach  longer  than  someone  from                                                         
an  outside  university.   A  key  piece  emphasized   to  new  Alaska-                                                         
prepared   teachers   is  the  implementation    of  local/place-based                                                          
curricula.   He  noted  that  place-based   education  resonates   with                                                         
students  on a  level a  textbook  cannot.  He gave  an example  of how                                                         
to  teach  density   to students   in  a  local  context.  He  said  UA                                                         
works  alongside  K-12  to ensure  teachers  are  prepared  to  work in                                                         
the   K-12  environment.    The   internship   experience   is   better                                                         
preparing   teachers   due   to   improvements   in   supervision   and                                                         
evaluating  interns.   He also  noted  that  Alaska-prepared   teachers                                                         
are learning how to work in multi-grade classrooms.                                                                             
9:14:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  mentioned  how  critical  the  improved  relationship                                                          
is  between  K-12  and  the  university   to  help  drive  improvement                                                          
efforts.  She  asked  if  teachers   were  trained  in  the  assessment                                                         
tools  districts  use  and if  the  university  was  familiarizing  its                                                         
students with curricula used most throughout the state.                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER   replied   it  would   be  a  difficult   task   for  the                                                         
university   to  expose  and  train   teachers  in  specific   programs                                                         
because  they  vary significantly   across  the state.  The university                                                          
prepares  students  to  use  programs  and  then  they are  exposed  to                                                         
specific  programs   during  their  internship.  He  continued  to  say                                                         
that  the university   provides  courses  to prepare   teachers  to use                                                         
MAP   assessments   in  their   classrooms.   (Measures   of   Academic                                                         
Progress  for  student  growth   in math  and  reading)  He  said  K-12                                                         
tends  to  have  an  unfair  expectation   that  new  teachers   should                                                         
know  exactly  what  a  specific  school   district  teaches.  This  is                                                         
difficult  when  there  is  such  a large  variation  in  curricula  in                                                         
districts across the state.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked if  the development   of a closer  relationship                                                          
between  K-12  and  the  university  was  helping  to  ensure  teachers                                                         
are  better  equipped   to  teach  the  widespread   curricula   across                                                         
DR.   ATWATER   responded   that   teachers   are  being   trained   to                                                         
understand   and  apply  the  larger   concepts.   He  said  a  certain                                                         
reading  program  needs   to be  sufficiently   broad  or  it would  be                                                         
wrong for the university to embrace it.                                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  discussed   the accreditation   process   the university                                                          
is  required  to  go  through.  He  explained   that  the  new  process                                                         
bases  accreditation   on  quality  assurance  that  is  comprehensive                                                          
across   the   entire   Education   unit.   He  emphasized   that   the                                                         
university  has  been in  a constant  state  of improvement  driven  by                                                         
quality  assurance   systems.  An  example  was  the recognition   that                                                         
graduates   were  struggling  to  teach   students  who  do  not  speak                                                         
English  as  their   first  language.  In  response,   UA  faculty  has                                                         
started  to  consider   whether   to  make  English  Language   Learner                                                         
(ELL)  courses  a part  of  the  education  program  or  to offer  them                                                         
separately.   He said  that  this  level   of full  unit  coordination                                                          
has been positive in facilitating improvement.                                                                                  
9:20:15 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  stated  that the  university  offers  a  Rural  Practicum                                                         
which  gives  students   who are  doing  their   internships  in  urban                                                         
districts  the  opportunity   to teach/work   for  two weeks  in  rural                                                         
DR.  ATWATER   explained   that  improvement   was  monitored   by  the                                                         
university    through   regular    feedback    from   K-12.   He   said                                                         
principals  receive  surveys  to  assess  a new  teacher.  The  Council                                                         
for  the  Accreditation  of  Educator  Preparation   (CAEP)  asked  the                                                         
university   to  perform   the  difficult   task  of  determining   the                                                         
impact new teachers have on their student's ability to learn.                                                                   
DR.  ATWATER  discussed  the  issue  of retention   and  the number  of                                                         
nontenured  teachers  within  Alaska  school  districts.  He said  that                                                         
tenure  is  earned  on  the  first  day  of  a teacher's   fourth  year                                                         
working   in  a  school   district.   The  data   shows  that   teacher                                                         
turnover is high, so recruitment is an ongoing issue.                                                                           
9:24:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    ZULKOSKY    asked    how   the   different    teacher                                                         
preparation  programs   correlate  to  the teacher  retention   rate in                                                         
DR. ATWATER  said  he didn't  know  but he  suspects  that teachers  in                                                         
the  post  baccalaureate  program   would  most likely  have  a  higher                                                         
retention  rate  because   they  are  probably  more  invested  in  the                                                         
career process.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE    ZULKOSKY    said   that   if/when   the    university                                                         
performs  an  analysis  of the  rates  by program,  she  would  love to                                                         
see the data.                                                                                                                   
9:25:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  if an  untenured  teacher  moves to  another                                                         
district  would  they  have  to  start  the  tenure  process  all  over                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  answered   that  is  correct.  He  explained   that  if a                                                         
tenured  teacher  transfers   to a  new  district,  then  tenure  would                                                         
resume after one year of teaching in the new district.                                                                          
9:26:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    HOPKINS   commented   that  teacher   retention   and                                                         
tenure   are   not  connected   to   a  teacher's    performance.   The                                                         
decision   to  tenure   is  made   for  many  different   reasons.   He                                                         
offered   his  belief   that  it   has  been   a  problem   to  have  a                                                         
performance-based   evaluation   of  new  teachers  because   sometimes                                                         
it  can take  three  years  to become  a  skilled  educator.  He  added                                                         
that  tenure  does  not  prevent  a  teacher  from  being  terminated.                                                          
After   tenure  has   been  achieved,   then   an  evaluation   on  the                                                         
quality   of   the   teacher's   instruction    should   be  based   on                                                         
performance,   he  said.  He  opined  that  providing   more  mentoring                                                         
programs   for  new  teachers   during  their  first   three  years  of                                                         
teaching would offer them more stability.                                                                                       
9:28:31 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER commented   that supporting  teachers  in  the field  is a                                                         
K-12  function;   it  is  not  a university   function.   However,  the                                                         
university   does   offer   support  through   the   Alaska   Statewide                                                         
Mentoring  Project.   He said  the  university   currently  works  with                                                         
158   new   teachers   in   21  school   districts.    The   university                                                         
recognizes   the   importance   of  having   consistent   well-trained                                                          
teachers   for   students.   He   noted  that   high   turnover   rates                                                         
negatively impact student achievement.                                                                                          
DR.  ATWATER discussed   that students  in  the education  program  are                                                         
taught  to  teach   reading  but  not   a  specific  reading   program.                                                         
Graduates   are   prepared   to  identify   and   assess  a   student's                                                         
reading  ability   or  learning  disability.   He  noted  that  courses                                                         
have  been expanded   to include  the  element  of dyslexia  to  ensure                                                         
teachers   are  equipped   to  recognize,   respond,  and  restructure                                                          
their instruction accordingly.                                                                                                  
9:31:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   DRUMMOND   commented   that   in  taskforce   meetings   she                                                         
learned   that  Alaska   tends   to  hire  new   teachers   from  eight                                                         
education   schools  in  the  country.  However,   only  two  of  those                                                         
schools  teach   their  graduates  the  science   of  reading  the  way                                                         
Alaska   schools    do  to   handle   dyslexia    and   other   reading                                                         
disabilities.   She   stated  she  was   happy  to  hear   that  Alaska                                                         
teachers   are  learning  the  science  of  reading,   not  a  specific                                                         
9:32:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked how  the  University  of Alaska  would  describe                                                         
the science of reading.                                                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  responded  that  the  required  Foundation   of  Literacy                                                         
courses  teach  graduates   the  five  components  of  the  science  of                                                         
reading.  He  noted  that   it is  essential   that  new  teachers  are                                                         
prepared   to  instruct   reading   in  a  variety   of  ways   because                                                         
children  do  not learn  reading  skills  or  progress  in literacy  in                                                         
the  same  way. He  said  it is  important  to  note  that  when  a new                                                         
teacher  enters  a  specific  school  district,   they are  taught  how                                                         
to  teach  and   implement  the  specific   reading   program  in  that                                                         
DR.  ATWATER followed   up on Representative   Drummond's  comment.  He                                                         
said  the taskforce   brought  the university   together  as a  unit to                                                         
analyze  how  reading  is being  taught.  He  offered  his belief  that                                                         
the outcome has been positive.                                                                                                  
DR.   ATWATER  turned   to   the  increasingly    prevalent   issue  of                                                         
preparing   teachers  to  work  with  students  who  have  experienced                                                          
trauma.   He  said  teachers   on  the  External   Advisory   Committee                                                         
report  that three  to  four students  in  a classroom  are  exhibiting                                                         
symptoms  of  Adverse  Childhood   Experiences  (ACEs)  as  opposed  to                                                         
one  or two  in the  past.  He said  this  is the  new  reality  and it                                                         
leads  to   the  question  of   whether  there   is  a  need  for  more                                                         
behavioral   health  support   systems  in  schools.   He  opined  that                                                         
merging  pathways   of  the  College  of  Health  and  the  College  of                                                         
Education at UA could help meet the needs of many students.                                                                     
DR. ATWATER  concluded  that  on April  8,  2019 the  Board of  Regents                                                         
decided  to discontinue   the seven  education  licensure  programs  at                                                         
UAA.  On  September   1,  UAF  and  UAS  assumed   responsibility   for                                                         
those  programs.   He said  this  was  a  complicated   transition  and                                                         
the  university  has  been  making sure  students  have  opportunities                                                          
to cross  the  system,  as they  did  before.  He said  there  would be                                                         
an  education  presence   on  the  UAA  campus  to  offer  services  to                                                         
students during the reorganization.                                                                                             
9:38:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked   if the  UAA  faculty  would  work   for UAF  or                                                         
UAS, and he questioned how the students would be impacted.                                                                      
DR.  ATWATER  replied   that  UAF  and  UAS  would  employ   Anchorage-                                                         
based  faculty  offering  face-to-face,  online,  and  hybrid  courses.                                                         
The  goal  is  to  replicate  the  experience   students  have  now  in                                                         
Anchorage   but  with  faculty  who  are  employed  by  the  other  two                                                         
universities.   He  said  it  would   be  comparable   to  the  nursing                                                         
program.  Students  would  go through  UAA  but earn  a degree  through                                                         
UAF or UAS.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  STEVENS  inquired  if the  quality  of  the faculty  led  to the                                                         
loss  of accreditation   in  Anchorage  or  if it  was based  on  other                                                         
DR.   ATWATER   answered   that   the   loss   of  accreditation    was                                                         
primarily   due  to the  lack  of  a  quality  assurance   system.  The                                                         
Anchorage  unit  was  evaluated   and  rated  on  the  overall  system,                                                         
not the quality of the faculty.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  STEVENS  commented   that  this all  came  at  a time  when  the                                                         
legislature   was  considering   the  substantial   decreases   in  the                                                         
governor's    budget.   He   said   the   accreditation    process   is                                                         
expensive,   but it  seems  problematic   for  the  largest  campus  to                                                         
not  have  accreditation.  He  asked  if  the Board  of  Regents  plans                                                         
to reaccredit UAA again in the future.                                                                                          
DR.  ATWATER  offered  his  belief  that  reaccreditation   is not  the                                                         
current   goal  but   rather  to   establish   the  other   two  units'                                                         
programs   in  place.   He  said  he  was   not  prepared   to  comment                                                         
9:41:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   DRUMMOND   said   it   was  her   understanding   that   the                                                         
Anchorage   unit  was  the  only  one  that  offered  early   childhood                                                         
training.  She  asked  if that  training  was  still  in  place  at UAA                                                         
and if it was offered through the UAF and UAS systems.                                                                          
DR.   ATWATER   answered   that  the   Bachelor   of   Arts  in   Early                                                         
Childhood   will  no  longer   exist  after   September   1,  2019.  To                                                         
secure  a license   to teach  in  early  childhood,  a minor  in  Early                                                         
Childhood  and  a Bachelor  of  Arts  degree  in Elementary   Education                                                         
is  required.   This   pathway  exists   through   the  Department   of                                                         
Education  where  a license  to teach  Early  Childhood  is issued.  He                                                         
mentioned   that  the  university   may  consider  reestablishing   the                                                         
Bachelor  of Arts  in Early  Childhood,  but  not next  year.  He noted                                                         
that  there was  still a  clear pathway  through  UAF  for students  to                                                         
obtain  the   Early  Childhood   endorsement   on  top  of  a  teaching                                                         
9:43:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  referred  to the  appendix  on pages  15-17,  relating                                                         
to  the  different  programs.   She  asked  if  the  charts  have  been                                                         
updated since changes were made at UAA.                                                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  responded  that  the  charts  have  not been  updated  so                                                         
the  current information   regarding  the changes  made  to the  system                                                         
is lacking.                                                                                                                     
DR.  ATWATER  thanked  the committee   for inviting  him  to speak.  He                                                         
mentioned,  on  behalf of  the Regents,  that  the university   has two                                                         
workforce  priorities,  one  in the  area of  health  and the  other in                                                         
teacher  education.   He noted  that  even  though  there  were  budget                                                         
challenges,   the  university   would  continue   to  support   teacher                                                         
education   as a  top  priority.   The  goal  is  to decrease   teacher                                                         
turnover   rates  and  raise   the  social   esteem  of  the   teaching                                                         
9:45:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  mentioned  that there  was  an excellent  report  from                                                         
the  Institute  of  Social  and  Economic   Research  (ISER)  that  has                                                         
suggestions   for   teacher   retention   outside   of   salaries   and                                                         
benefits.  She  referenced  page  24 that  shows  the  total number  of                                                         
interns  is 197  and  that 20  were placed  in  the spring.  She  asked                                                         
if those interns were ready to enter the workforce.                                                                             
DR.  ATWATER   replied   yes;  they   were  students   that   graduated                                                         
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked   how many  of  those  graduates   were  looking                                                         
for jobs.                                                                                                                       
DR.   ATWATER  responded    that  those   students   are  eligible   to                                                         
receive  a license  to teach,  but  whether  they pursue  a job  varies                                                         
based on the individual.                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR   STORY  asked   if  the   university,   through   the  Alaska                                                         
Teacher  Placement   Program,   was  helping  place   students  in  the                                                         
empty teaching positions across the state.                                                                                      
DR.   ATWATER    answered   absolutely;    the   university    supports                                                         
students  in finding  a  job which  does help  fill  vacant  positions.                                                         
Alaska   Teacher   Placement   is   a  service   for   K-12,   allowing                                                         
districts   to  post  their  vacancies  and  teachers   to  post  their                                                         
CO-CHAIR   STORY  asked   if  Alaska   Teacher   Placement   was  doing                                                         
surveys  on  why students   are not  going  into  the  workforce  after                                                         
graduation.   She  offered   her  belief   that  this  would   be  good                                                         
information to have.                                                                                                            
DR.  ATWATER  answered  that  doing the  surveys  is  the university's                                                          
function.   He  stated   that  there   are  complicated   and   varying                                                         
reasons  why  students  choose  not  to go  into  the  workforce  right                                                         
away.  Nevertheless,   the  university   does  everything   it  can  to                                                         
help new teachers obtain their first job.                                                                                       
9:48:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS   mentioned   that   before  the   budget  was                                                         
released  this  year,  President  Johnson   mentioned  the  need  for a                                                         
$1.3  million  increase  to  recruit  nurses  and  teachers.  He  asked                                                         
how the  increase  in funding  would  have  been used  for programs  at                                                         
the  College  of Education  and  how  it would  have  aided in  teacher                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  he  was  unaware  of  the  specificity  of                                                         
funding,   but  he knew   some  of  the  funding  would  have  gone  to                                                         
Educators  Rising,   to  recruit  teachers  in  rural  Alaska,  and  to                                                         
help  Native Alaskans   become teachers  in  their  local communities.                                                          
He noted  that  the funding  also  would have  gone  to expand  program                                                         
activity overall.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS  commented  that the  narrative  was  that the                                                         
Alaska   College   of   Education   works   with  the   Alaska   Native                                                         
Regional    Corporations    and   nonprofits.    He    asked   for   an                                                         
explanation   of  the   relationship   the  college   has   with  those                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  responded   that  all  the  Alaska  Native  corporations                                                          
have  a  scholarship  or  education  support  component.   Even  though                                                         
it   was   unclear   if   the   corporations    would   dedicate   more                                                         
scholarship  funds  to  support  teachers,  the  university  hopes  the                                                         
corporations   recognize  the  value and  importance  of  the  teaching                                                         
profession in their area and supports these scholarships.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked if his efforts had been successful.                                                                
DR.  ATWATER  answered  that he  has  received  good feedback,   but he                                                         
has not heard the outcome.                                                                                                      
9:52:01 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES   mentioned  that  the  Board   of  Regents  adopted  a                                                         
goal  that by  2025, 90  percent  of the teachers  in  Alaska  would be                                                         
UA  graduates.  She  asked  if  he was  primarily   in charge  of  that                                                         
and  if  the goal  has  been  adjusted   due to  the  changes  made  at                                                         
DR.  ATWATER  replied  that  the  goal  is  a stretch  due  to  current                                                         
circumstances   and  the  fact   that  employing   teachers  is  not  a                                                         
university    function.   The   university's   goal   is   to   prepare                                                         
teachers.   He  noted  that  a  more  accurate   metric  would  be  the                                                         
number   of  teachers  the   university   prepared.   He  said  the  90                                                         
percent  goal  still  exists  and  there  is a  lot  of work  to  do to                                                         
achieve it by 2025.                                                                                                             
9:53:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  commented   that  the  committee  would  like  to  hear                                                         
from  the  Board  of  Regents  and  the President   of  the  University                                                         
this  interim  to  discuss  the  issues  concerning  the  direction  of                                                         
the  Alaska College  of  Education  and the  accreditation  process  of                                                         
the University of Anchorage.                                                                                                    
9:54:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND   noted  the  House  Education  Standing   Committee                                                         
would meet on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 8:00 a.m.                                                                               
9:54:45 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committees, Chair                                                                    
Stevens adjourned the joint meeting of the Senate and House                                                                     
Education Standing Committees at 9:55 a.m.                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2018 SB241 Report 31st Legislature Final.pdf HEDC 5/6/2019 8:30:00 AM
SB 241
2019 05 06 - Joint Education SB 241 Report Presentation.pdf HEDC 5/6/2019 8:30:00 AM
SB 241