Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

04/09/2018 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:01:04 AM Start
08:01:50 AM Presentation: Alaska Council of School Administrators
09:15:01 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
-- Joint with the House Education Committee --
+ Presentation by the Alaska Council of School TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 9, 2018                                                                                          
                           8:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator John Coghill                                                                                                           
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
 Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                         
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                   
 Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                      
 Representative David Talerico                                                                                                  
 Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair (via teleconference)                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                          
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                               
 Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                   
 Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: ALASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS                                                                           
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LISA SKILES PARADY, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                   
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced the Alaska Council of School                                                                   
Administrators Presentation.                                                                                                    
DEANNA BECK, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Council of School Administrators and Alaska Association                                                                  
of Elementary School Principals;                                                                                                
Northwood ABC Elementary                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented for Alaska Council of School                                                                    
ASHLEY PIERSON, Ph.D., Senior Researcher                                                                                        
Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest                                                                                       
Portland, Oregon                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented for Alaska Council of School                                                                    
STEVE ATWATER, Ph.D., Interim Dean                                                                                              
School of Education                                                                                                             
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented for Alaska Council of School                                                                    
KAREN GABORIK, President                                                                                                        
Alaska Superintendents Association;                                                                                             
Fairbanks School District                                                                                                       
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented for Alaska Council of School                                                                    
DAN CARSTENS, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals;                                                                              
Nikiski Middle/High School                                                                                                      
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                             
CASSEE OLIN, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Association of School Business Officials;                                                                                
Business Manager                                                                                                                
Sitka School District                                                                                                           
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                             
KATHY BLANC, Program Administrator                                                                                              
Alaska Staff Development Network                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                             
TAMMY MORRIS, Facilitator                                                                                                       
Alaska Staff Development Network                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                             
DR. MONICA GOYETTE, Superintendent                                                                                              
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  for  Alaska  Council  of  School                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:01:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS called  the joint meeting  of the  Senate and                                                             
House  Education  Standing  Committees  to  order  at  8:01  a.m.                                                               
Present at  the call to  order were Senators Begich,  Hughes, and                                                               
Chair  Stevens  and  Representatives  Talerico,  Kopp,  Zulkosky,                                                               
Parish  (via teleconference)  and Chair  Drummond. Representative                                                               
Spohnholz arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                           
^Presentation: Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                          
     PRESENTATION: ALASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS                                                                  
8:01:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  announced the Presentation  by the  Alaska Council                                                               
of School Administrators.                                                                                                       
8:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES PARADY, Ph.D., Executive  Director, Alaska Council of                                                               
School Administrators,  introduced the  Alaska Council  of School                                                               
Administrators Presentation. She said  the council was pleased to                                                               
be  able to  present some  of the  wonderful things  happening in                                                               
education as well as some of the challenges.                                                                                    
8:03:58 AM                                                                                                                    
DEANNA BECK,  President, Alaska Council of  School Administrators                                                               
and   Alaska  Association   of   Elementary  School   Principals;                                                               
Principal,  Northwood   ABC  Elementary,  presented   for  Alaska                                                               
Council of School Administrators. She  said the Alaska Council of                                                               
School Administrators (ACSA) has  repurposed its mission to focus                                                               
on  unity. They  have  collaborated on  many projects,  including                                                               
advocating  for education  at state  and federal  levels, working                                                               
with the  Department of  Education and  Early Development  on the                                                               
Alaska  Education  Challenge  and   Every  Student  Succeeds  Act                                                               
accountability  plan,  creating  the League  of  Alaska  Educator                                                               
Innovators,  and creating  joint position  statements. When  most                                                               
people  think  of education,  they  usually  think of  academics,                                                               
reading, writing, and arithmetic, but  education of the future is                                                               
so much  more. One reality today  is that children are  coming to                                                               
school with adversity.                                                                                                          
8:05:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BECK reported  that two-fifths  of incoming  kindergarteners                                                               
have experienced trauma  in the categories of  abuse, neglect, or                                                               
household  dysfunction. By  middle  school, over  50 percent  are                                                               
survivors of  trauma. The impact  of trauma and adversity  are in                                                               
every  classroom in  Alaska. Students  often  have roadblocks  to                                                               
learning because they are stuck  in the lowest levels of Maslow's                                                               
hierarchy  of needs,  physiological  and social  needs. The  best                                                               
inoculation   is   providing   children   with   stability   with                                                               
consistent, caring adults.  These can be educators.  They need to                                                               
do  their part  to ensure  that  every educator  is provided  the                                                               
tools  and knowledge  to support  Alaska's children.  Alaska does                                                               
not  have  counselors in  most  schools.  The turnover  rate  for                                                               
Alaska's   principals   is   26   percent.   Without   consistent                                                               
leadership,  school  staff  cannot follow  through  on  long-term                                                               
plans  and  schools see  increased  teacher  turnover. This  also                                                               
means students  are not provided with  consistent, stable adults.                                                               
At the end  of the day, if  they are unable to meet  the needs of                                                               
children, the entire generation suffers.                                                                                        
8:07:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BECK said  if they want a future with  healthy and productive                                                               
adults, they  need to  help children  overcome adversity  now and                                                               
surround  them  with consistent,  caring  adults.  She asked  the                                                               
committee to invest in education now.                                                                                           
8:07:36 AM                                                                                                                    
ASHLEY  PIERSON, Ph.D.,  Senior Researcher,  Regional Educational                                                               
Laboratory  Northwest, presented  for  Alaska  Council of  School                                                               
Administrators. She announced  that she and Dr.  Atwater would be                                                               
talking  about  educator  retention and  recruitment--the  Alaska                                                               
landscape and strategies.                                                                                                       
8:08:05 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON said  that she and Dr. Atwater  work together through                                                               
the Alaska  State Policy Research Alliance  (ASPRA). ASPRA's goal                                                               
is to produce and share  evidence on Alaska education issues. She                                                               
presented figures for the Educator Landscape 2017-2018:                                                                         
   • 130,000 students                                                                                                           
   • 8,000 teachers                                                                                                             
        o 700 new to profession/Alaska                                                                                          
   • 400 principals                                                                                                             
        o 70 new to profession/Alaska                                                                                           
   • 54 superintendents                                                                                                         
        o 53 districts and Mt. Edgecumbe                                                                                        
8:09:20 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PIERSON defined  retention as  the number  of educators  who                                                               
stayed  at  a school/district  divided  by  the total  number  of                                                               
educators. Alaska's regions were defined as follows:                                                                            
     Rural/Urban Classifications:                                                                                             
        • Urban (on-and off-road)                                                                                               
          -e.g., Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau                                                                                   
        • Urban/rural fringe (on-and off-road)                                                                                  
          -e.g., Palmer, Seward, Sitka                                                                                          
        • Rural hub/fringe (on-and off-road)                                                                                    
          -e.g., Bethel, Healy, Unalaska                                                                                        
        • Rural remote (off-road)                                                                                               
          -e.g., Adak, Arctic Village, Yakutat                                                                                  
8:10:41 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON reported  that in 2017-2018 75  percent of principals                                                               
were  retained.  This is  similar  for  teachers at  78  percent.                                                               
Principal  and  teacher retention  rates  have  been steady  over                                                               
time, which does not mean there are no issues with retention.                                                                   
8:11:49 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PIERSON stated  that  rural remote  schools  had the  lowest                                                               
retention among principals and teachers.  This is true across the                                                               
country. In urban areas, 88  percent of principals and 80 percent                                                               
of teachers were retained in  2017-2018. In rural remote schools,                                                               
61  percent  of  principals  and  64  percent  of  teachers  were                                                               
retained.  Less than  two-thirds  of educators  were retained  in                                                               
rural  remote  schools.  Those   districts  have  to  spend  more                                                               
resources  on teacher  recruitment. Center  for Alaska  Education                                                               
Policy Research (CAEPR) research  estimated that teacher turnover                                                               
cost  $20,400   for  each  teacher.  Teacher   turnover  is  also                                                               
detrimental to student learning.                                                                                                
8:13:22 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON  reported that for district  retention rates, teacher                                                               
and principal  retention rates are linked.  National studies show                                                               
that  stable   principals  result  in  lower   teacher  turnover.                                                               
Principal stability is linked to higher student achievement.                                                                    
8:14:44 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PEIERSON   reported  that  72   percent  of   districts  had                                                               
superintendent turnover  in the last five  years. Nationally, the                                                               
average tenure for superintendents is three to four years.                                                                      
8:15:06 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON gave the following as future research topics:                                                                       
        • Updating and expanding landscape numbers                                                                              
        • Working with researchers statewide to ensure coherence                                                                
        • Exploring questions such as:                                                                                          
             o What school and district characteristics are                                                                     
               associated with higher retention?                                                                                
             o What is the relationship among superintendent,                                                                   
               principal, and teacher turnover in Alaska?                                                                       
STEVE  ATWATER,   Ph.D.,  Interim  Dean,  School   of  Education,                                                               
University of  Alaska Fairbanks, presented for  Alaska Council of                                                               
School  Administrators.   He  said  University  of   Alaska  (UA)                                                               
President Jim Johnsen has worked  to make a stronger relationship                                                               
between the university  and K-12. The university  is not involved                                                               
with the  operations of K-12,  but they are engaged  with helping                                                               
the  K-12   system  succeed.  The  strategic   pathways  involved                                                               
rethinking  the  way  the  university  prepares  teachers.  As  a                                                               
result,  the  University of  Alaska  Southeast  (UAS) College  of                                                               
Education  was  made  the  lead   college.  He  will  become  the                                                               
executive dean of the college in July 1.                                                                                        
8:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL arrived.                                                                                                        
8:17:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER  said the university  will retain education  units at                                                               
the University  of Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF) and the  University of                                                               
Alaska Anchorage  (UAA). They are  working with  school districts                                                               
in  an  effort  to  increase   the  number  of  paraprofessionals                                                               
pursuing teacher licensure.                                                                                                     
DR. ATWATER said  one result of this change will  be an increased                                                               
level of  collaboration among the  three education units  so that                                                               
they operate more cohesively. They  will be aligning processes to                                                               
eliminate redundancy. For  example, in the past  the placement of                                                               
student interns  in rural  Alaska was  done independently  by the                                                               
three schools. Sometimes supervising  personnel would find out in                                                               
the  Bethel airport  that they  were flying  out to  do the  same                                                               
function  in villages  close by.  Also,  there will  be a  common                                                               
effort  to recruit  students. A  dire  need exists  to have  more                                                               
teachers  and the  University of  Alaska will  be playing  a lead                                                               
role with that.                                                                                                                 
8:18:42 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER  reported that UA  graduates are  in the high  30s in                                                               
the  percentage  of  new  teachers hired  in  Alaska  each  year.                                                               
President Johnsen  has set a goal  that by 2025, UA  will prepare                                                               
90  percent  of new  teachers  hired  in  Alaska each  year.  UA-                                                               
prepared teachers  stay longer.  Their retention rate  is higher.                                                               
As more teachers  stay in the profession, fewer  new teachers are                                                               
8:19:52 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER shared that one of  the things they are most proud of                                                               
regarding  preparing more  teachers is  Educators Rising  at UAF,                                                               
designed  to   steer  high  school   students  to   the  teaching                                                               
profession.  Educators Rising  is  a  national organization  with                                                               
chapters all across  the country. Alaska was one  of first states                                                               
to become a state-level chapter.                                                                                                
8:20:47 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  said  that  Educators Rising  Alaska  is  a  career                                                               
pathway to  teaching. Educators Rising high  school graduates can                                                               
enroll at UA or begin work as paraprofessionals.                                                                                
8:22:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER said that Educators Rising  is housed in the UAF K-12                                                               
Outreach Office. The  program has 160 high  school students. They                                                               
need bigger  numbers. Not  all 160  will become  teachers. Alaska                                                               
desperately  needs to  prepare 400  to 500  teachers every  year;                                                               
right now the number is around 200  to 250. It is one way to fill                                                               
the pipeline, but it is not the only answer.                                                                                    
8:23:40 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER presented four strategies to increase retention:                                                                    
        • Grow your own staff and leadership                                                                                    
        • Create incentives to stay in contracts                                                                                
        • Improve on boarding for new employees                                                                                 
        • Encourage networks within and across districts                                                                        
8:24:37 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  spoke  on  making   the  teaching  profession  more                                                               
appealing   through   social   esteem,  compensation,   and   job                                                               
satisfaction.  This  is on  everyone's  shoulders,  not just  the                                                               
8:25:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said  that this and several  past legislatures have                                                               
been concerned  about teacher education.  He is pleased  that [UA                                                               
President] Dr. Johnsen is moving ahead on that.                                                                                 
8:26:29 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN  GABORIK,  President, Alaska  Superintendents  Association;                                                               
Superintendent, Fairbanks  School District, presented  for Alaska                                                               
Council  of   School  Administrators.   She  reported   that  the                                                               
Superintendents  Association   has  done   a  great   to  promote                                                               
collaboration  among school  districts.  The goals  are to  share                                                               
resources and to leverage people  and funding to more effectively                                                               
manage resources. Many  superintendents have established regional                                                               
groups  that  meet  at  least  quarterly  around  the  topics  of                                                               
effective  district   management  and   effective  superintendent                                                               
leadership.   They  supported   the  commissioner   [Dr.  Michael                                                               
Johnson]  of the  Department of  Education and  Early Development                                                               
(DEED)  with   the  Alaska  Education  Challenge.   The  dialogue                                                               
continues. Superintendents  have had  regional meetings  with the                                                               
commissioner to  discuss strategies  for moving forward  with the                                                               
commitments for the  Alaska Education Challenge and  a whole host                                                               
of  topics   including  bandwidth  and   connectivity,  effective                                                               
distance education, implementation of  the Every Student Succeeds                                                               
Act  (ESSA), and  the annual  PEAKS  [Performance Evaluation  for                                                               
Alaska's Schools] testing.                                                                                                      
8:28:25 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. GABORIK said districts have  cross walked their own strategic                                                               
plans with the  Alaska Education Challenge. The cuts  to DEED are                                                               
a concern  to superintendents  because of  the decline  in DEED's                                                               
capacity to  support school  districts. DEED  has changed  from a                                                               
department able  to support school  districts to one  focusing on                                                               
monitoring  compliance to  one  that is  unable  to even  monitor                                                               
compliance effectively.  Her district feels that  this failure to                                                               
allocate people and time to  the department diminishes DEED. That                                                               
is the  cost of almost continually  downsizing the department--an                                                               
almost complete  inability of DEED  to support  Alaska educators.                                                               
If  Alaskan legislators  truly want  to effect  change in  public                                                               
education they  must support the  department tasked  with leading                                                               
that change.                                                                                                                    
8:30:03 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.   GABORIK   said   her  organization   is   concerned   about                                                               
superintendent  turnover.  This  spring,  the  turnover  rate  is                                                               
almost  25  percent for  next  year.  Someone  like her,  who  is                                                               
finishing her fourth  year as a superintendent,  is considered an                                                               
experienced  superintendent in  this  state.  Success has  become                                                               
about survival, not effective leadership.                                                                                       
8:30:54 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  GABORIK  said  the  turnover of  teachers  in  districts  is                                                               
sometimes, at a localized level,  more extreme than the data they                                                               
saw. Recruitment and retention of  teachers is difficult due to a                                                               
number of factors, including the  economic uncertainty, the state                                                               
of the  retirement system, the geographic  challenges with living                                                               
in Alaska,  and the high cost  of living. She is  stunned to hear                                                               
stories  from her  colleagues  of teacher  turnover  rates of  50                                                               
percent or higher. That makes it  impossible to meet the needs of                                                               
8:31:52 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  GABORIK  encouraged the  legislators  to  use any  mechanism                                                               
available to  stabilize the education  environment in  the state.                                                               
Superintendents  appreciate  their  attention to  full  education                                                               
funding,  securing education  funding early,  the retiree  rehire                                                               
bill [SB  185], and bandwidth  needs in rural Alaska.  She called                                                               
their  attention  to  the  joint   position  statement  in  their                                                               
8:32:39 AM                                                                                                                    
DAN CARSTENS,  President, Alaska Association of  Secondary School                                                               
Principals;   Principal,   Nikiski  Middle/High   School,   Kenai                                                               
Peninsula Borough  School District, presented for  Alaska Council                                                               
of  School Administrators.  He said  he  is a  product of  public                                                               
schools  and has  children  who  are in  public  schools or  have                                                               
graduated from them. He believes  in the public school system. He                                                               
has been in his building  13 years. Principal stability is linked                                                               
to student achievement and less teacher turnover.                                                                               
8:34:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CARSTENS said  one in  four principals  is gone  every year.                                                               
Consistency is  important. It is an  extremely difficult position                                                               
with many  complex mandates and requirements.  The principals are                                                               
taking  it  upon  themselves  to   have  a  unified  vision.  The                                                               
principal  associations  are  working  on  a  mentor  program  to                                                               
support new principals no matter where  they are in Alaska. It is                                                               
a large time commitment, but they will make that commitment.                                                                    
8:35:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR CARSTENS  said a long-term fiscal  plan would be ideal.  To be                                                               
able to  offer timely contracts  would lead to  consistency. Last                                                               
year  non-tenured  contracts were  offered  in  May. The  retiree                                                               
rehire  bill  [SB 185]  would  be  another  option to  deal  with                                                               
teacher  shortages.  Special  education is  always  difficult  to                                                               
fill.  He asked  the  committee to  support  adequate funding  of                                                               
education.  Principals need  to know  what kind  of funding  they                                                               
will have.  Last year he  was still  hiring in July.  Hiring that                                                               
late causes class schedules to shift.                                                                                           
8:37:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CARSTENS related  that he was recreating  schedules in August                                                               
that should have been done in  April. With early funding they can                                                               
prepare  those dynamic  lessons for  students. With  adequate and                                                               
timely funding  they can create  the premier system  because they                                                               
will not  lose people.  It takes everyone  with a  unified vision                                                               
and voice to raise and educate a child.                                                                                         
8:39:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CASSEE  OLIN, President,  Alaska Association  of School  Business                                                               
Officials;  Business Manager,  Sitka  School District,  presented                                                               
for Alaska  Council of School  Administrators. She  described the                                                               
Alaska Association  of School Business Officials  (ALASBO) as the                                                               
professional   association   of    school   business   management                                                               
officials. They are  the K-12 staff who deal with  the dollars in                                                               
a  school district.  ALASBO has  over 175  members consisting  of                                                               
chief  financial  officers,  business managers,  human  resources                                                               
directors, superintendents,  food service  directors, maintenance                                                               
directors,   accountants,  and   many  other   positions.  ALASBO                                                               
coordinated  the  state  chart  of accounts  review  with  DEED's                                                               
School  Finance Division.  An updated  chart  of accounts  allows                                                               
school districts  to report their  financial results  with better                                                               
consistency and ensures compliance with federal mandates.                                                                       
8:40:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. OLIN  said a committee  came together  to work on  a standard                                                               
operating procedures manual, which  will be especially useful for                                                               
small    districts.    ALASBO    provides    numerous    training                                                               
8:42:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. OLIN  said ALASBO has felt  the crunch of the  state's fiscal                                                               
crisis.  School  districts  are  having  trouble  filling  school                                                               
business  positions around  the  state. Districts  are unable  to                                                               
offer competitive  pay and  benefit packages.  At the  same time,                                                               
the  budget  crunch  results  in high  stress  levels  for  their                                                               
members. For years  ALESBO has been advocating for  a fiscal plan                                                               
that will  decrease the  uncertainty of  the K-12  funding cycle.                                                               
They also  advocate for non-fiscal  action to reduce  costs, such                                                               
as worker  compensation reform and  reigning in the high  cost of                                                               
health  care. ALASBO  is an  important  organization for  members                                                               
spread out  so far across  the state. They  are proud of  the way                                                               
they work together to support  the efficiency and professionalism                                                               
of school districts.                                                                                                            
8:43:23 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHY  BLANC,  Program  Administrator, Alaska  Staff  Development                                                               
Network, presented  for Alaska Council of  School Administrators.                                                               
She  reported that  the Alaska  Staff Development  Network (ASDN)                                                               
has  been working  on the  Alaska  Professional Learning  Network                                                               
(AkPLN), for two years.                                                                                                         
TAMMY  MORRIS,  Facilitator,  Alaska Staff  Development  Network,                                                               
presented  for  Alaska  Council  of  School  Administrators.  She                                                               
shared that  she has been an  Alaskan educator for 32  years. She                                                               
explained  that  AkPLN  is  an   online  space  for  professional                                                               
learning and  growth. Membership for  all Alaska educators  is at                                                               
no  cost   through  ASDN  and   the  Alaska  Council   of  School                                                               
Administrators with support of Title  II federal funds from DEED.                                                               
The feeling  of isolation is  one reason Alaska  educators leave.                                                               
AkPLN reduces  the feeling  of isolation  because it  helps build                                                               
connections and increases  collaboration in professional learning                                                               
among teachers and leaders throughout the state.                                                                                
8:45:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS  MORRIS said  that on  AkPLN,  educators can  watch videos  of                                                               
effective  teaching, gain  ideas for  lessons, view  new teaching                                                               
strategies, and  participate in online  classes. They  can create                                                               
or join groups  to connect with other teachers  across Alaska. So                                                               
many teachers  are isolated. Many  sites have only  one secondary                                                               
math teacher,  for example. This increases  teacher retention and                                                               
their  effectiveness.  Educators  can  get  modern,  personalized                                                               
professional learning from anywhere.                                                                                            
8:47:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MORRIS  said  that  AkPLN supports  in-depth  study  of  and                                                               
instructional strategies  for Alaska  state standards.  AkPLN has                                                               
more than 50  learning plans and more are being  built. It offers                                                               
learning  opportunities that  align  with  21st century  learning                                                               
modes   and   exemplifies   research-based,   effective   teacher                                                               
professional development.                                                                                                       
8:48:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MORRIS  reported that  AkPLN is  in its  second year.  It has                                                               
seen steady growth and now has over 1,200 members.                                                                              
8:50:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH noted that part  of the Moore [vs. Alaska] lawsuit                                                               
relied  upon DEED  providing support.  Dr. Gaborik  made specific                                                               
comments about DEED  not providing that level of  support and not                                                               
even being able to be a  compliance entity. He wants to know what                                                               
aspects of  DEED need to be  reinforced so that DEED  can support                                                               
districts.  He pointed  out  that the  Senate  has proposed  flat                                                               
funding for  this year  and next.  He asked  for superintendents'                                                               
reactions to that.                                                                                                              
8:52:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND said that in her  six years in this position, DEED                                                               
has gone from 400 employees to  under 300, more than a 25 percent                                                               
cut in capacity.  As a former school board member,  she has heard                                                               
about   the  same   issues  every   year.  She   appreciates  the                                                               
reinforcement.  She wishes  the  House had  truly forward  funded                                                               
education. That  is a political  problem than needs to  be worked                                                               
8:53:20 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MONICA  GOYETTE, Superintendent,  Matanuska-Susitna  Borough                                                               
School  District,   testified  for   Alaska  Council   of  School                                                               
Administrators.   She  responded   that  she   hoped  that   DEED                                                               
Commissioner Michael  Johnson would weigh in  on Senator Begich's                                                               
question. She has noticed that in  the past, DEED had more people                                                               
who  were experts  in  curriculum,  instruction, and  assessment.                                                               
They could  be called on  for help in developing  district plans.                                                               
People are  stretched so  thin they  just respond  to complaints.                                                               
That answer  does not do  the question  justice. In terms  of the                                                               
flat funding, staff costs and  health insurance go up. The budget                                                               
for Mat-Su is about $250 million.                                                                                               
8:54:35 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. GOYETTE  said that health insurance  is going up eight  to 11                                                               
percent.  Health insurance  is  the second  largest cost  driver.                                                               
They  spend about  $40  million  a year  on  it.  For them,  flat                                                               
funding means  a $7 million  deficit compared to this  year. Flat                                                               
funding  means an  increase in  the  student-teacher ratio.  Next                                                               
year they will be looking at a 33:1 ratio in high school.                                                                       
8:55:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   BEGICH  pointed   out  that   the  Moore   lawsuit  and                                                               
performance  audits reinforce  that if  DEED is  not meeting  its                                                               
constitutional obligations, the legislature  is obligated to fund                                                               
the department.  He is  hearing that that  is not  happening, and                                                               
that flat funding leads to cuts.                                                                                                
8:56:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  referred to  the university's  desire to                                                               
prepare  Alaskan teachers.  She asked  Dr.  Atwater if  he had  a                                                               
sense of  how many secondary  students want to go  into education                                                               
and what factors might make them want to be teachers.                                                                           
8:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  said  he  does   not  have  that  information,  but                                                               
districts  conduct surveys  each year  and perhaps  could compile                                                               
that information.  Educators Rising is increasing  that interest.                                                               
Most graduates want jobs that  will pay them well. Teaching often                                                               
is  not  viewed that  way.  That  is  why  the social  esteem  of                                                               
teachers  must increase.  Based  on their  enrollment across  the                                                               
system, it  is relatively  low. At career  fairs for  high school                                                               
students, his  table is not  visited very often.  The engineering                                                               
and business management tables draw students.                                                                                   
8:59:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked   Dr.  Atwater  what  he   needs  from  the                                                               
legislature to make Educators Rising successful.                                                                                
8:59:14 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER  answered  that  he needs  awareness  that  this  is                                                               
happening. The  majority of funding  for Educator Rising  is soft                                                               
money that the university has secured through grants.                                                                           
9:00:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  noted that Dr.  Atwater said 400 to  500 teachers                                                               
are needed  per year with  160 students in Educators  Rising. She                                                               
asked if he has  a goal to target, say 800 or  900 students, by a                                                               
certain year.                                                                                                                   
9:00:38 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER  responded that part of  the strategy is not  only to                                                               
look  at  high  school  students  but  to  look  outside  of  the                                                               
traditional mode  at people who  want a career  change. Targeting                                                               
only high school  students would make it more  difficult to reach                                                               
that number. It's  going to be difficult no matter  what they do,                                                               
but  they will  be  casting  their nets  more  broadly than  high                                                               
9:01:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES commented  on how  rising health  care costs  are                                                               
impacting districts.  Cordova School  District mentioned  that 18                                                               
percent of their budget is  going to health care. As legislators,                                                               
their emphasis  should be on  lowering health care  costs because                                                               
it is impacting dollars that should be going into the classroom.                                                                
9:02:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked Dr.  Atwater for more  details about                                                               
paraeducator support to grow staff and leadership.                                                                              
9:02:40 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER  said all three  UA campuses have  relationships with                                                               
school  districts  to  support paraeducators  being  enrolled  in                                                               
teacher   preparation  programs.   The  Lower   Kuskokwim  School                                                               
District  is  investing  hard dollars  for  paraprofessionals  to                                                               
become teachers. When paraprofessionals  reach their senior year,                                                               
which  is the  internship  for student  teaching,  they get  paid                                                               
their salary while  they go to school. This is  the best example.                                                               
The Lower Kuskokwim is a large  district with the resources to do                                                               
that. Not all  districts have the available  resources. They work                                                               
very closely  with school districts,  Bering Strait,  St. Mary's,                                                               
Kuspuk, Southwest  Region, to  help paraprofessionals  begin that                                                               
trail. The downside  of the paraprofessional route is  that it is                                                               
often very long. It takes years  if someone is only taking one or                                                               
two  classes a  semester. It  will not  funnel hundreds  into the                                                               
profession. It is a piece of the puzzle.                                                                                        
9:04:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  said he would like  to know if there  is a                                                               
difference  in average  career  length or  turnover  in any  year                                                               
based on membership  in TRS Tiers I and II,  the defined benefits                                                               
systems, and TRS Tier III, the defined contributions system.                                                                    
9:05:32 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PIERSON  responded  that they  have  not  investigated  that                                                               
issue.  It is  an important  question. The  data on  staffing and                                                               
retention is not currently connected to the tiers.                                                                              
9:06:14 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ATWATER said  the Tier  I  educators have  been eligible  to                                                               
retire a  long time and  1990 was the first  year of Tier  II. He                                                               
has not  seen data  on teachers  in Tier  III. The  assumption is                                                               
that they  will walk after five  years when they are  eligible to                                                               
take  their money,  but he  doesn't think  there is  a consistent                                                               
response. He may  ask the legislature to help support  a study of                                                               
that  next  year. An  education  economist  at the  Institute  of                                                               
Social and  Economic Research  (ISER) wants  to study  this. Once                                                               
upon  a time,  Alaska's retirement  system  was a  draw to  bring                                                               
teachers to  this this state. Tier  III does not have  that level                                                               
of  allure. Recruiting  teachers from  out of  state, which  they                                                               
depend upon, is harder all the time.                                                                                            
9:07:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS said  that one  of the  most revealing  slides was                                                               
about how leadership  matters in the retention  of principals and                                                               
teachers. He asked if that is a national trend.                                                                                 
9:08:06 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON responded that Alaska  follows national trends across                                                               
the board with  the link between principal  stability and teacher                                                               
9:08:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND added  that in  Anchorage they  used to  say that                                                               
principals had seven  to eight years in a  school maximum. Marcus                                                               
Wilson was the principal at  the school in her neighborhood where                                                               
her kids  went. He  stayed at North  Star Elementary  well beyond                                                               
seven years.  After he left there  was a 100 percent  turnover of                                                               
teachers  at that  school. She  asked what  they could  to do  to                                                               
encourage people to stay as  long as possible, beyond the average                                                               
tenure,   and  encourage   districts  not   to  move   successful                                                               
9:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PIERSON  answered that  in terms  of mitigating  the negative                                                               
impact of  turnover, institutional knowledge can  be kept through                                                               
onboarding processes  and providing additional  stability through                                                               
planned departure,  if possible.  There will always  be turnover,                                                               
but  some  actions  can  be  taken  to  mitigate  those  negative                                                               
9:10:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  said she would  appreciate seeing that  made part                                                               
of the  philosophy at  the legislature  going forward.  She noted                                                               
that early  in the presentation  they learned that  two-fifths of                                                               
kindergarteners  enter   school  with  ACEs   (Adverse  Childhood                                                               
Experiences). She  said that tells  us that  we owe those  kids a                                                               
stable, successful platform from which to launch their lives.                                                                   
9:11:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  noted  the Educators  Rising  academy  in                                                               
Fairbanks and a conference in  Anchorage. He asked what was being                                                               
done for communities not on the Railbelt.                                                                                       
9:12:13 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER answered  that the students at those  events are from                                                               
all over  the state. They have  funds to help with  travel. There                                                               
is a strong  presence from Ketchikan. Ketchikan is  a leader with                                                               
Educators Rising.                                                                                                               
9:13:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked what  was being  done with  the lead                                                               
education campus, the University of Alaska Southeast.                                                                           
9:13:31 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. ATWATER said that will formally commence July 1.                                                                            
9:13:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  said  she  appreciated  the  presentation.  Same                                                               
story, new characters. They have to do better.                                                                                  
9:15:01 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Drummond adjourned the Senate  and House Education Standing                                                               
Committees at 9:15 a.m.                                                                                                         

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