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:
Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act
As Alaska plans for the significant shifts in policy and practice that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires, NWCC has been providing support to DEED in the form of facilitated stakeholder meetings, research, opportunities to convene with and learn from peers in other states, and development of various resources. These supports have led to further NWCC assistance as DEED staff use what they learned to make decisions on key ESSA requirements, write a consolidated state plan, and prepare for implementation.
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 that Alaska’s vision for public education aligns with the state’s five strategic priorities to address Alaska’s student achievement gaps, increase student graduation rates, and provide equal opportunities for each student to learn and succeed. Participating in this comprehensive effort are committees of stakeholders from across the state including university personnel, superintendents, parents, legislators, Native/tribal leaders, and teachers. NWCC is gathering resources, research, as well as lessons learned and best practices from other states to inform the work of the different committees.
Continuously Improving Systems of Support
Alaska’s State System of Support (SSoS) coaching program deploys experienced educators to work with schools in need of improvement. NWCC is building DEED’s capacity to effectively use data to implement, monitor, and adjust the program. These efforts have led to an improved vision for continuous improvement and tools that help state leaders measure progress toward their goals.
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 schools from Denali Borough and Lower Kuskokwim, along with districts in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.