Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/12/2018 08:00 AM EDUCATION

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
08:00:12 AM Start
08:00:42 AM Presentation: Educator Workforce Pilot Study by the Coalition for Education Equity of Alaska
09:13:50 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
Joint with House Education Committee
+ Presentation: "Educator Workforce Pilot Study" TELECONFERENCED
- Sarah Sledge, Coalition for Education Equity
- Dr. Barbara Adams, Adams Analytic Solutions
- Jerry Covey, JSC Consulting
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 12, 2018                                                                                         
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                          
 Senator John Coghill                                                                                                           
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
 Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                         
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                       
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                   
 Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                               
 Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                      
 Representative David Talerico                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 All members present                                                                                                            
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                   
 Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: EDUCATOR WORKFORCE PILOT STUDY BY THE COALITION                                                                   
FOR EDUCATION EQUITY OF Alaska                                                                                                  
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BARBARA ADAMS, Ph.D., Education Consultant                                                                                      
Adams Analytic Solutions                                                                                                        
Nenana, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented Educator Workforce Pilot Study.                                                                 
JERRY COVEY, Education Consultant                                                                                               
JSC Consulting                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented Educator Workforce Pilot Study.                                                                 
SARAH SLEDGE, Executive Director                                                                                                
Coalition for Education Equity                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented Educator Workforce Pilot Study.                                                                 
SHAWN ARNOLD, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Nome Public Schools                                                                                                             
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on Research-based Educator Systems                                                              
Support (RESS).                                                                                                                 
ANNMARIE O'BRIEN, Ph.D., Superintendent                                                                                         
Northwest Arctic Borough School District                                                                                        
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on Research-based Educator Systems                                                              
Support (RESS).                                                                                                                 
SCOTT MACMANUS, Superintendent                                                                                                  
Alaska Gateway School District                                                                                                  
Tok, Alaska                                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on Research-based Educator Systems                                                              
Support (RESS).                                                                                                                 
SANNA EFIRD, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on Research-based Educator Systems                                                              
Support (RESS).                                                                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:00:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS called  the joint meeting  of the  Senate and                                                             
House  Education  Standing  Committees  to  order  at  8:00  a.m.                                                               
Present at the  call to order were Senators  Coghill, Begich, and                                                               
Chair Stevens  and Representatives Talerico,  Johnston, Zulkosky,                                                               
Parish, and  Chair Drummond. Senator Giessel  and Representatives                                                               
Kopp and Spohnholz arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                  
^Presentation: Educator  Workforce Pilot  Study by  the Coalition                                                               
for Education Equity of Alaska                                                                                                  
 PRESENTATION: EDUCATOR WORKFORCE PILOT STUDY BY THE COALITION                                                              
                 FOR EDUCATION EQUITY OF ALASKA                                                                             
8:00:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS  announced   the  presentation   called  Educator                                                               
Workforce Pilot Study"  by the Coalition for  Education Equity of                                                               
8:01:56 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA  ADAMS,  Ph.D.,   Education  Consultant,  Adams  Analytic                                                               
Solutions, presented Educator Workforce Pilot Study.                                                                            
JERRY  COVEY,  Education  Consultant, JSC  Consulting,  presented                                                               
Educator Workforce Pilot Study.                                                                                                 
8:02:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SARAH  SLEDGE,   Executive  Director,  Coalition   for  Education                                                               
Equity, presented  the Educator  Workforce Pilot Study.  She said                                                               
the Coalition  for Education Equity  is a  statewide organization                                                               
representing  Alaska's   school  districts,   organizations,  and                                                               
individuals  to   champion  an  equitable  and   adequate  public                                                               
education  for every  Alaskan child.  The coalition  successfully                                                               
settled the  Kasayulie lawsuit in  2011 and the Moore  lawsuit in                                                               
2012.  The  coalition  continues   its  advocacy  work  and  uses                                                               
research,   policy  development,   and  partnership   to  advance                                                               
solutions  in schools  and  school districts  that  will lead  to                                                               
better  outcomes for  Alaska's children.  Legislators have  heard                                                               
testimony  about the  problems  of recruitment  and retention  of                                                               
educators, especially  for rural Alaska.  A recent study  put the                                                               
cost  of turnover  at  just over  $20,000  per teacher.  Unfilled                                                               
positions put  a strain on  the system, and student  outcomes are                                                               
better when teachers stay.                                                                                                      
8:04:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SLEDGE  said  students benefit  when  teachers  establish  a                                                               
stable bond with them, their  families, and communities. Building                                                               
trust,  establishing  connections,   connecting  with  community,                                                               
instilling  cultural relevance  in the  curriculum, and  engaging                                                               
family  support   are  all   hallmarks  of   successful  teaching                                                               
practices.  This is  difficult to  achieve when  the turnover  is                                                               
high.  Many  studies have  provided  insight  about why  teachers                                                               
8:04:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SLDEDGE said  many teachers  who leave  voluntarily indicate                                                               
some type of dissatisfaction as  reason for leaving. Teachers who                                                               
are less  prepared are two to  three times more likely  to leave.                                                               
Teachers in areas of high  poverty or high minority schools leave                                                               
at   higher   rates.   Teachers  who   report   an   unsupportive                                                               
administration are  twice as  likely to leave  as those  who feel                                                               
well supported. In  Alaska, teacher turnover is  greater in rural                                                               
areas, averaging around  20 percent but up to 52  percent in some                                                               
schools.  Some reasons  for  leaving are  unique  to Alaska:  not                                                               
being connected to the  community, housing conditions, remoteness                                                               
and weather,  cultural differences, and place  of preparation (in                                                               
state or out).                                                                                                                  
8:05:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SLEDGE said  that in  2014, the  coalition commissioned  Dr.                                                               
Barbara Adams  and Jerry  Covey to  conduct the  Educator Quality                                                               
and Quantity  (EQQ) study, focused  on recruitment  and retention                                                               
of Alaska's  educator workforce.  The study  resulted in  a model                                                               
and recommendations  for change  that addressed the  many aspects                                                               
of the  problem in a systemic  way. They committee has  copies of                                                               
that report.  As a  continuation of that  work, the  coalition is                                                               
working again  with Dr. Adams  and Mr.  Covey to conduct  a pilot                                                               
study to  research educator workforce quality,  satisfaction, and                                                               
retention while  providing direct  supports to  the participating                                                               
districts.  Research-based  Educator  Systems Support  (RESS)  is                                                               
working with five school districts  throughout the current school                                                               
8:06:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY noted that RESS  is funded through coalition money left                                                               
over from the legal settlement of  the Moore case. They are doing                                                               
third party, confidential,  research-based exploration of teacher                                                               
turnover  in Alaska.  They developed  a survey  working with  the                                                               
five  school districts.  They  conduct the  survey  and the  data                                                               
remains   confidential.   The   school   districts   never   have                                                               
information  to identify  responders. The  survey consists  of 35                                                               
multiple-choice and  five narrative  questions in  five different                                                               
sections. They  share the  raw data with  survey takers  and then                                                               
they do a  narrative report for superintendents  that responds to                                                               
the themes and trends in answers--what's strong, what's weak--                                                                  
and a narrative synopsis.                                                                                                       
8:08:42 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COVEY said  the  2015 Educator  Quality  and Quantity  (EQQ)                                                               
report set the stage for  Research-based Educator Systems Support                                                               
(RESS).  RESS  fulfills  the  EQQ  model  of  Systemic  Approach,                                                               
Cultural  Relevance,  and  Measurable Outcomes.  They  are  doing                                                               
systemic work to  understand what is happening  across the public                                                               
education system.  Cultural relevance  is a foundational  part of                                                               
this work, and, of course, they want measurable outcomes.                                                                       
8:09:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY noted the expected outcomes of the RESS pilot study:                                                                  
        • improved communication                                                                                                
        • actionable feedback                                                                                                   
        • workforce satisfaction                                                                                                
        • community connection                                                                                                  
      • positive outcomes that improve teacher retention                                                                        
        • improved student achievement (long-term)                                                                              
MR.  COVEY  said they  asked  for  volunteers and  selected  five                                                               
districts--Alaska Gateway,  Kashunamiut, Nome,  Northwest Arctic,                                                               
and Yupiit--to represent different sizes and geographical areas.                                                                
8:11:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  said  the survey  response  rate  looks                                                               
healthy.  She asked  whether that  was the  district average  and                                                               
whether individual schools could have had different rates.                                                                      
8:11:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY said that is the  district response rate. He added that                                                               
Barbara  is the  research expert  and she  says anything  over 40                                                               
percent is good. Their response rate is far above that.                                                                         
8:12:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSTON  asked   if  the   response  rate   for                                                               
individual schools tend to change much from survey to survey.                                                                   
8:12:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY  said the survey is  always open to people  who did not                                                               
previously  complete a  survey. In  some districts,  the response                                                               
rates have grown for later surveys.                                                                                             
8:12:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COVEY  said  they  do  four  surveys  throughout  the  year.                                                               
Previous research has been done  at different times. Their survey                                                               
tracks  the same  teachers throughout  the same  school year  and                                                               
gets their  responses continually.  They provide a  data analysis                                                               
of the surveys within one week.                                                                                                 
8:13:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY said each survey  has 36 questions   31 multiple-choice                                                               
questions divided into five groups:                                                                                             
     Work Environment/Leadership                                                                                                
     Quality of Life                                                                                                            
     Strengthening the Workforce                                                                                                
MR.  COVEY  said the  response  options  are  the same  for  each                                                               
     6  Absolutely                                                                                                              
     5  Mostly                                                                                                                  
     4  More than not                                                                                                           
     3  Maybe                                                                                                                   
     2  A little bit                                                                                                            
     1  Not at all                                                                                                              
     0  Not Applicable                                                                                                          
MR. COVEY said a narrative question is at the end of each                                                                       
section, and they do get a high number of narrative                                                                             
8:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  Adams shared  the overall  distributions between  survey one                                                               
and survey  two. She pointed  out that  the mean is  the average.                                                               
The mean  is 4.38 for the  first survey and 4.23  for the second.                                                               
The standard  deviation is a  measure of spread. If  the standard                                                               
deviation is  less than 1, it  is a tight-knit group,  people are                                                               
more  aligned in  their thinking.  If the  standard deviation  is                                                               
greater  than 1,  the  thinking is  more  diverse. [The  standard                                                               
deviation is 0.88 for the first survey and 0.86 for the second.]                                                                
8:15:39 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ADAMS  presented a summary  of scales for all  five districts                                                               
averaged together. Leadership  had one of the  highest values for                                                               
the first survey,  close to 5.0, which is  the "mostly" response.                                                               
One of lowest  value of the beginning of the  year was Quality of                                                               
Life  at   4.2,  which  is  still   positive.  Strengthening  the                                                               
Workforce mean was close to 4.0.                                                                                                
8:17:11 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ADAMS showed  how questions  grew throughout  the year.  For                                                               
example, question 23  the beginning of the year  is, "Someone has                                                               
recognized  and  valued me  for  what  I  can contribute  to  the                                                               
school."  In November,  it  is, "I  am  routinely recognized  and                                                               
praised for doing  good work." In March, it  is, "Recognition and                                                               
support  by   colleagues  has  contributed  to   my  professional                                                               
growth."  The   questions  have  consistency,   but  development,                                                               
throughout the year.                                                                                                            
8:17:54 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ADAMS  shared a candlestick graph  on slide 12. It  shows the                                                               
mean (the  average) and  the median (the  middle). All  the boxes                                                               
are green,  which means the median  is higher than the  mean. She                                                               
noted the three scales on  this slide are called internal scales,                                                               
because  they are  things the  districts and  teachers have  more                                                               
control over.                                                                                                                   
8:18:45 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ADAMS said  the scales  on  slide 13  are external  scales--                                                               
Community, Quality  of Life, Strengthening  the Work  Force. They                                                               
will  add  to  these  graphs   as  surveys  three  and  four  are                                                               
8:19:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COVEY showed  data for  Nome schools  for three  surveys. He                                                               
said the  graphs show where the  surveys are trending and  give a                                                               
lot of information about the mean.                                                                                              
8:19:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN ARNOLD,  Superintendent, Nome Public Schools,  testified on                                                               
Research-based Educator Systems Support  (RESS). He said in rural                                                               
Alaska,  Nome  comparatively  has   more  things  to  offer,  but                                                               
struggles with attracting effective  educators. Over the last few                                                               
years,   Nome  has   seen  more   educators  leaving   and  fewer                                                               
applicants. They  wanted to see  if it  had something to  do with                                                               
salary and  benefits, limitations  with housing,  etc. RESS  is a                                                               
tool to  pinpoint areas to  help validate the supports  they have                                                               
put a lot of effort into.  It also helped them recognize areas of                                                               
improvement--the support  teachers feel  in classrooms,  time for                                                               
collaboration,    professional    development   resources,    and                                                               
connection with community.                                                                                                      
8:22:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ARNOLD said  their teachers  felt that  salary and  benefits                                                               
were adequate and not an area  of concern. The teachers wanted an                                                               
increase in collaboration time. They  didn't know this before the                                                               
survey  and were  surprised by  the outcome.  They are  tailoring                                                               
initiatives for the future, hoping  that if they support teachers                                                               
they  will stay  longer. The  survey has  been valuable.  It will                                                               
help them  support teachers more  effectively and  attract others                                                               
because of the levels of support they can provide.                                                                              
8:23:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  how  the  school  district  can  increase                                                               
collaboration time.                                                                                                             
8:24:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD said the first thing  they did was look at the quality                                                               
of  leadership. Nome  has had  a lot  of turnover  in school  and                                                               
district  leadership.  He was  the  fifth  superintendent in  six                                                               
years. Nome  was also going  through a different  principal every                                                               
year. They  made an effort  to stabilize leadership,  so teachers                                                               
had consistent  expectations from  year to  year. Having  a clear                                                               
picture  of  how a  school  is  run from  year  to  year makes  a                                                               
difference. A  new principal  may not  know how to  use 20  or 30                                                               
minutes at  the end of the  day for meetings. They  have provided                                                               
peer  mentor  support  and  used   the  Alaska  state  mentorship                                                               
project. It is  coming up with innovative  and creative solutions                                                               
to prioritize  collaboration, including  providing subs  to allow                                                               
teachers  to   work  one-on-one  with  peers   and  stipends  for                                                               
weekends, if necessary.                                                                                                         
8:26:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  how  the seasonal  aspect of  the                                                               
surveys might affect responses.                                                                                                 
8:27:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said a  surprise was that  responses were  still very                                                               
positive,  even  though the  survey  occurred  during the  winter                                                               
doldrums  of January  and February,  a cold,  dark period  in the                                                               
middle of the school year.                                                                                                      
8:28:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  said he  noticed that  the scores  for the                                                               
third round of  surveys were lower than for  previous surveys. He                                                               
asked if he had any predictions for the April survey.                                                                           
8:30:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said Dr. Adams  can better answer the  question about                                                               
adjusting  the  question  depending  on  when  it  is  asked.  He                                                               
anticipates many  departures from the district  this coming year.                                                               
That might  affect the response  rate. In February they  may have                                                               
been  uncertain about  the future.  They  now know  if they  have                                                               
contracts.  Eighteen  of  54  teachers  are  leaving.  About  ten                                                               
teachers  who  are  not  retiring are  leaving  the  state.  They                                                               
anticipate a lower response rate.  He expects response rates will                                                               
probably be higher at the beginning of year.                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked Dr. Adams if she cared to respond.                                                                          
8:31:38 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ADAMS  said  this  is  about trying  to  see  strengths  and                                                               
opportunities for growth. Anything  going down is not necessarily                                                               
bad. This is not an  assessment. This is about measuring people's                                                               
satisfaction.  This gives  superintendents insight  they may  not                                                               
have had  before. They  wanted to  gather information  during the                                                               
February  doldrums  stage  to  see  what  is  most  important  to                                                               
teachers, what are  they struggling with most, and  what are they                                                               
most happy with.                                                                                                                
8:33:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  Mr. Arnold  how  he  encourages  community                                                               
interaction with his faculty.                                                                                                   
8:33:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD said they put a lot  of focus on that. Cultures vary a                                                               
lot in  rural Alaska. Nome is  a bit of a  crossroads for Inupiaq                                                               
and  Yupiit cultures  and also  has a  mining past.  They try  to                                                               
integrate staff into  local culture. For the past  six years they                                                               
have partnered with Bering Strait  School District for a cultural                                                               
camp  for new  staff.  The state  does a  good  job of  requiring                                                               
multicultural studies  and Alaska  history, but those  courses do                                                               
not prepare them  for the local identity. They  tailor and create                                                               
hands-on involvement.  Their teachers  learn to seine  on rivers,                                                               
clean fish,  and put up racks.  This helps them to  interact with                                                               
their students better. They encourage  teachers to participate in                                                               
local activities and festivals. The  newer staff report that they                                                               
feel connected to and supported by the community.                                                                               
8:36:06 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ADAMS showed how data is reported for each question.                                                                        
8:37:20 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNMARIE   O'BRIEN,  Ph.D.,   Superintendent,  Northwest   Arctic                                                               
Borough  School District,  testified  on Research-based  Educator                                                               
Systems  Support (RESS).  She said  the Northwest  Arctic Borough                                                               
School  District has  2,136 students  in 12  schools in  their 11                                                               
villages. None  of their  sites are accessible  by road.  She has                                                               
worked for  the Northwest  Arctic School  District 18  years. She                                                               
was assistant  superintendent for  eight years,  and this  is her                                                               
fourth year as  superintendent. Her message is  an affirmation of                                                               
RESS. Recruitment  and retention  of qualified teachers  in rural                                                               
Alaska  is a  challenge and  against the  backdrop of  a national                                                               
shortage,  increasingly problematic.  for  the  health and  well-                                                               
being of rural  schools. With a certified staff of  187, they are                                                               
already seeking  to fill  40 positions  for the  2018-2019 school                                                               
year. Last year,  for the first time in her  tenure, they started                                                               
the  school year  with five  unfilled positions.  They were  very                                                               
interested in  being part of  the RESS pilot. The  opportunity to                                                               
challenge  or confirm  assumptions regarding  why people  stay or                                                               
leave  provided  the  opportunity  to collect  relevant  data  in                                                               
support of goals in the district's strategic plan.                                                                              
8:39:24 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  O'BRIEN  said these  goals  include  being the  employer  of                                                               
choice, with  customer service  as a  focus, accessing  real time                                                               
information  to   assist  with   recruitment  and   retention  of                                                               
teachers,  increasing  communication  with all  stakeholders  and                                                               
supporting attention  to data-driven  decision making.  Dr. Adams                                                               
and  Mr.  Covey   met  with  the  district   leadership  team  to                                                               
cooperatively develop questions they  believed would provide them                                                               
with  useful information.  That  is, facts  on  how teachers  are                                                               
experiencing  their  work  and   living  environments  in  remote                                                               
communities. The  end goal  was to address  areas where  they can                                                               
offer support.  The results  were presented  to school  board and                                                               
schools. At  first, they were  concerned these  discussions would                                                               
be   intimidating,  but   the   opposite   occurred.  The   staff                                                               
appreciated  the feedback  and the  opportunity to  discuss their                                                               
experiences.  The  district  team  is using  the  information  to                                                               
inform  recruitment  and   retention,  professional  development,                                                               
school climate and safety,  workplace satisfaction, and community                                                               
8:41:25 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. O'BRIEN said  32 Northwest Artic students are  enrolled in an                                                               
online Introduction  to Education class  and 12 students  in four                                                               
of their  schools are enrolled in  internships. These dual-credit                                                               
classes for  juniors and  seniors support  their efforts  to grow                                                               
their  own teachers.  They continue  to  support these  homegrown                                                               
educators and they firmly believe  that the RESS information from                                                               
current staff will  better serve to increase  retention and reach                                                               
the goal  of being the  employer of  choice. They want  to reduce                                                               
their  teacher  turnover  rate  of  20  to  40  percent  and  are                                                               
confident that RESS  will assist with these  efforts by providing                                                               
accurate and timely information.                                                                                                
8:42:36 AM                                                                                                                    
DR O'BRIEN said the University  of Alaska School of Education can                                                               
use RESS  information with teacher preparation.  RESS information                                                               
can  ultimately   help  to  improve  academic   success  for  all                                                               
8:43:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   asked  whether  the  retiree   rehire  bill  the                                                               
committee is  considering [SB 185]  would be  of any help  to her                                                               
8:43:56 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  OBRIEN said  she has  testified  in support  of the  retiree                                                               
rehire bill. It  is a stopgap measure, and she  does hope that it                                                               
passes. Alaska  retirees understand the culture  and students and                                                               
their  ways of  managing such  things as  curriculum and  student                                                               
discipline. It would be very helpful to them.                                                                                   
8:45:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT MACMANUS,  Superintendent, Alaska Gateway  School District,                                                               
testified on  Research-based Educator Systems Support  (RESS). He                                                               
said Alaska Gateway  is a small Interior school  district with 40                                                               
certified staff  in seven communities  in a district the  size of                                                               
West Virginia.  They have  a relatively  low turnover  rate; some                                                               
attribute it to being on the road system.                                                                                       
MR. MACMANUS  said the year  he became superintendent they  had a                                                               
turnover of  20 staff, which is  50 percent. Last year  they only                                                               
needed to replace  six teachers. It is about the  same this year.                                                               
They  offered  contracts January  8,  the  earliest date  legally                                                               
possible. He  grew up in Ambler,  which is part of  the Northwest                                                               
Arctic School  District. The solution to  getting quality schools                                                               
is both  difficult and  extremely simple:  hire and  keep quality                                                               
teachers  and administrators.  Alaska  Teacher  Placement is  the                                                               
primary clearing house for finding  certified staff, but they are                                                               
fighting an  uphill battle  with a  diminished capacity.  ATP has                                                               
less than one full-time equivalent  position. He went to two jobs                                                               
fairs  last year.  He offered  two  contracts at  one, but  those                                                               
teachers  got  snapped up  by  more  urban school  districts.  He                                                               
offered none at a Portland  job fair. Good teachers are difficult                                                               
to attract  when they have no  personal ties to Alaska.  They can                                                               
make the  same money down south  where the money goes  30 percent                                                               
further and have a better retirement  plan. Alaska is not an easy                                                               
sell, and so they work very hard on recruitment and retention.                                                                  
8:48:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MACMANUS  said RESS  has  been  important to  determine  the                                                               
approach to  take with teachers.  All new teachers have  two days                                                               
of  orientation.  Part  of  that  is  about  Athabascan  cultural                                                               
orientation.  They have  written a  three-credit course  that all                                                               
teachers take  their first semester. Information  from tools like                                                               
RESS are critical in designing those programs.                                                                                  
8:50:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACMANUS  said teachers  want to make  a difference.  They do                                                               
not stay for  money, but a competitive package  doesn't hurt when                                                               
you are  trying to attract  them. Once you  have them, it  is all                                                               
about  how  districts  support them.  Two  communities  that  are                                                               
difficult to  staff hosted welcome  back dinners last  year. That                                                               
made a difference.  Both of those communities have  a 100 percent                                                               
retention  so  far  this  year.  RESS  is  important  as  both  a                                                               
marketing tool and a retention tool.                                                                                            
8:51:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COVEY said  they do  see  different trends  and patterns  in                                                               
different districts. Some things  are trending across the system.                                                               
Teachers   generally  feel   welcome  and   connected  to   their                                                               
communities.  Clarity is  starting to  emerge in  terms of  their                                                               
response  rates. Although  the  deviations  are still  relatively                                                               
large in  some districts,  people are  more like-minded  in their                                                               
answers.  Incorporating  culture into  the  classroom  is a  high                                                               
priority for  every school district,  yet it is the  thing school                                                               
districts  struggle  with the  most.  Issues  such as  access  to                                                               
materials and  opportunities to develop lessons  that reflect the                                                               
culture factor into that significantly.                                                                                         
8:53:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES joined the meeting.                                                                                              
8:53:56 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ADAMS  said one trend  is resiliency across quality  of life.                                                               
Even if  people think this is  not exactly how they  want to life                                                               
to be,  they are feeling comfortable  in it and know  how to live                                                               
in the lifestyle of wherever they live.                                                                                         
8:54:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE said it was  important that the question could provide                                                               
timely feedback to  districts in way that was usable  to them and                                                               
offer quality support with the results.                                                                                         
8:56:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE said  in addition to helping  districts, the coalition                                                               
wants the study to be a rich resource for statewide policy.                                                                     
8:56:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SANNA  EFIRD, Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early  Development (DEED),  testified on  Research-based Educator                                                               
Systems  Support  (RESS).  She  said this  is  important  to  the                                                               
achievement of  students. They need well-prepared  teachers to be                                                               
there  over  extended  periods  of  time.  The  department  looks                                                               
forward  to getting  the outcomes,  so  they can  look at  policy                                                               
decisions that may make a  difference for districts. This fits in                                                               
with  the Alaska  Education  Challenge  and the  recommendations,                                                               
especially  from the  Ensure Excellent  Educators committee,  for                                                               
creating  possible  cohorts  of teachers,  professional  learning                                                               
academies, and  ways to help new-to-Alaska  teachers. The largest                                                               
number  of   teachers  are  coming   from  out  of   state.  This                                                               
information may help with retaining teachers.                                                                                   
8:58:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said that  he was involved  in the  Moore lawsuit                                                               
and  one difficulty  was  quantifying these  things.  He said  he                                                               
wanted to note for  the record that he is married  to the head of                                                               
the Coalition for Education Equity.  In the final decision by the                                                               
court,  it was  unclear what  is meant  by teacher  retention. He                                                               
asked  if  this  has  helped the  department's  approach  to  the                                                               
question of teacher retention and being able to quantify it.                                                                    
8:59:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  EFIRD said  she cannot  speak to  the definition  of teacher                                                               
retention.  This  study  will help  the  department  to  quantify                                                               
information around retention of teachers.  The piece DEED is most                                                               
excited about  it is  having trends  and themes  to look  at. The                                                               
role  of the  department  is  to try  to  be  the connector  with                                                               
districts  to  share information  that  can  be used  across  all                                                               
districts.  The committee  heard  from long-time  superintendents                                                               
and what  they are doing  with this survey. Sharing  and applying                                                               
that  information and  experience to  other districts  will be  a                                                               
huge help to other districts.                                                                                                   
9:01:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH said,  "Collaborative work  post-lawsuit. What  a                                                               
novel idea."                                                                                                                    
9:01:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked Superintendent  MacManus about  the welcome                                                               
back dinner and the three-credit course.                                                                                        
9:02:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR MACMANUS said they tried  to create a cohesive introduction to                                                               
the  school district  and  authentically  integrate new  teachers                                                               
into  activities  so  that  can  get  to  know  people.  Building                                                               
relationships is critical  in a new community.  New teachers have                                                               
a number of opportunities to  participate in cultural orientation                                                               
in Fairbanks  or Tok. New  teachers have two days  of orientation                                                               
as part  of their  contracts. The  orientation is  continued into                                                               
the  course,  which  is  work related  to  classrooms.  A  mentor                                                               
teacher from  a different site  is assigned to new  teachers, and                                                               
they meet  on a regular basis.  The class is offered  through the                                                               
university. An example  of the way the course works  is they give                                                               
teachers  opportunities to  learn  how to  interact with  parents                                                               
during conferences. A  rural village can be very  foreign to some                                                               
teachers. By  providing a  model, they  have been  effective with                                                               
teachers  knowing what  is expected  of them  and knowing  how to                                                               
interact with others from different cultures.                                                                                   
9:06:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACMANUS  said there is  an increasing amount of  interest in                                                               
culture  in  schools  and compacts.  Communities  are  taking  an                                                               
increased interest  in schools and  they see that playing  out in                                                               
teacher retention.                                                                                                              
9:07:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  how is  he sharing  this information  with                                                               
other districts.                                                                                                                
MR. MACMANUS said to be honest,  they are too busy doing it. They                                                               
are  very busy  with a  small administrative  staff. He  does not                                                               
know that  they are  special in  their onboarding,  although they                                                               
may be  more intensive  than some districts.  He cited  the Lower                                                               
Kuskokwim  School District's  extensive cultural  orientation for                                                               
teachers.  The superintendent  group  is  very cooperative.  They                                                               
share quite a  bit by phone and have meetings,  but they are very                                                               
9:09:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY said  four of the five districts want  to continue with                                                               
the survey  next year.  One is  on the  fence. They  have learned                                                               
that the  application all happens  at the building level.  In the                                                               
future they will put more  effort into connecting with principals                                                               
at the beginning  of the year. They are turning  the study into a                                                               
project. It  is about team optimizing.  The way to go  forward is                                                               
together.  It is  not the  hierarchy. It  is collaboration  using                                                               
honest,  accurate  feedback and  translating  that  into ways  to                                                               
improve education for students.                                                                                                 
9:11:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY asked what  support is provided with this                                                               
process to give superintendents resources for policy.                                                                           
9:12:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. COVEY said  in the pilot project goals did  not include that,                                                               
but  they  began to  realize  the  opportunity and  necessity  to                                                               
provide  specifics.  Initially  they pointed  out  strengths  and                                                               
weaknesses in  five categories.  Now they  are talking  about how                                                               
they might  engage with  people in a  way that  produces specific                                                               
outcomes. They will transition into  that to a much larger degree                                                               
in the next cycle.                                                                                                              
9:13:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked if  the intention is  to continue  the work                                                               
with other districts.                                                                                                           
MR.  COVEY said  they are  making it  available to  all districts                                                               
through  the  coalition.  They have  developed  a  fee  structure                                                               
according to  district size  and hope it  will be  attractive and                                                               
viable for all districts that wish to participate.                                                                              
9:13:50 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Drummond  adjourned  the   joint  meeting  of  the  Senate                                                               
Education  Standing   Committee  and  House   Education  Standing                                                               
Committee at 9:13.                                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Coalition for Education Equity- Educator Workforce Pilot Study.pdf SEDC 3/12/2018 8:00:00 AM
EQQ_Report_Feb27FINAL.pdf SEDC 3/12/2018 8:00:00 AM
RESS Survey2 General Report Winter2017.pdf SEDC 3/12/2018 8:00:00 AM