The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) serves a highly diverse student population spread across a vast terrain. Based on DEED’s self-identified priorities, NWCC is providing high-impact support on the following initiatives:
Implementing the State Board of Education’s Strategic Priorities
DEED, the State Board of Education, and the governor’s office have embarked on a sweeping review to ensure Alaska’s vision for public education aligns with the state’s five strategic priorities to address student achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and provide equal opportunities for each student to learn and succeed. Participating in this comprehensive effort are committees of stakeholders across the state, including university personnel, superintendents, families, legislators, Native/tribal leaders, and teachers. NWCC is gathering resources and research, as well as lessons learned and best practices from other states, to inform the committees’ work.
Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Among the highlights of Alaska's ESSA plan is that it provides flexibility for the State and districts to target school improvement strategies based on the unique needs of each school. NWCC is supporting DEED leaders as they build the capacity of their teams to do the new work outlined in the plan and align its components with the state vision, mission, and priorities. This support includes facilitating team meetings, providing reports on evidence, and assisting efforts to keep stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the implementation process.
Continuously Improving Systems of Support
Alaska’s state system of support coaching program deploys experienced educators to work with schools in need of improvement. DEED is exploring ways to revise the program to take advantage of new interactive technologies that can expand coaches’ reach to more schools. NWCC is assisting DEED by providing information on other state, regional, and national programs that use virtual coaching and professional development to support struggling schools.
Meeting the Needs of American Indian/Alaska Native Students
Working with DEED and the Northwest’s four other state education agencies (SEAs), we provide capacity-building support to meet the educational needs of American Indian/Alaska Native students. We do this by helping the SEAs’ Indian education coordinators share resources and lessons learned with each other, as well as by providing technical assistance to individual SEAs through state-level projects with regional implications.
Rural Innovation and Student Engagement
In 2013, NWCC and its partners at Boston College created a network designed to connect isolated rural educators as they work to implement rigorous new standards and improve outcomes and opportunities for students. The Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network currently includes six remote schools in Alaska (Tri-Valley School in Denali Borough School District; Akiuk Memorial School, Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat School, Lewis Angapak Memorial School, Nuniwarmiut School, and William Miller School in Lower Kuskokwim School District), along with districts in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.