Parents and community members clearly want a way to measure proficiency. I did not hear anyone say they want more standardized testing. Can we use alternatives to standardized testing to measure student progress? Some other districts use a multiple measures approach, using things like social and emotional skills surveys, game-based assessments, and performance or portfolio based assessments.
- The current strategic plan proposal addresses standardized measures for Reading and Math and multiple measures for the goals on preparation for careers and life. While all teachers use multiple measures in their classroom assessments it is challenging to measure districtwide trends on measures that are more subjective in nature. It is important to note some of the most important goals we have in education are the most difficult to measure with any consistency. This in no way diminishes their importance, it just means it is difficult to measure progress consistently because it is challenging to measure them reliably. The District currently administers the assessments required by the strategic plan and therefore does not require an increase in standardized testing.
Given the slump in overall reading and math proficiency, would the first 1-2 years be more likely working to get students back to where they should currently be?
How are these goals responsive to covid-realities? If someone is struggling to read in the first grade, it doesn't seem like without additional supports, they would be caught up by third grade.
- Yes, it will take some time to deal with achievement gaps as a result of the pandemic. Once the District is able to get students back in class and can reliably measure their current status, the District will be better able to assess the amount of remediation it will require.
How do these goals and guardrails pertain to the students if they are not actually in school to move forward? It is rather obvious that the current structure is not proving to be beneficial to students overall learning.
- The goals and guardrails are designed to provide guidance for both the short term and long term efforts of the school district.
These tasks and proficiency goals seem great for older students, however, it seems that the majority of the burden to meet these goals is falling on the parents who are now being stay at home teachers for the foreseeable future. What type of assistance with meeting these goals is the ASD planning on doing to help these parents?
- We recognize the burden that parents have been carrying with regards to helping their children with education during the pandemic. The District is currently offering voluntary tutoring activities for some students at most school sites in order to support families who have children who need extra help. In addition the District hopes to expand small group tutoring to many more students during the third quarter and soon thereafter bring all students back to school.
How are reading and math proficiency different from college readiness?
- Reading and Math proficiency are prerequisite skills for many things in life including college readiness. College readiness includes additional factors such as earning a diploma and attaining a successful GPA.
Will the financial literacy class be a graduation requirement, in addition to Economics?
Some of the Life/College/Career ready goals look like they would impact or could impact grad requirements.
How will this affect the lottery system for charter schools?
- Once the strategic plan is approved by the School Board, the administration will be charged with identifying the methods and strategies that will be used to work towards these goals. This is yet to be determined.
While this video talks a fair amount about equity, why do the goals outlined in https://www.asdk12.org/feedback not reflect that?
- Equity is addressed in the Board Guardrails 1 & 2, found on the ASD website: https://www.asdk12.org/feedback
- Equity is embedded in all goals and the work of the District. See below for equity-based guiding questions used when problem solving.
- Who is at the decision making table? Do the parties reflect the student population and a diversity of roles? This should include lived experience equity.
- What problem are we trying to solve, for whom, and by when?
- Does this solution work for the most marginalized and vulnerable student and staff groups?
Is Bartlett the only high school with Grow Our Own?
- Yes, Bartlett is the pilot school. There are plans for expansion.
How difficult will it be now that there is not an option at UAA for Alaska residents to become a teacher.
- Alaska residents have access to an accredited School of Education through the Fairbanks campus. See link, https://www.uaf.edu/soe/about/accreditation/index.php. For example, students matriculating through the Grown Our Own initiative will obtain some college credits through the Alaska Middle College which gives additional access in becoming a teacher.
I would like to hear more about "The district will not operate without a diverse of culturally responsive workforce." What happens if the district is not able to find qualified staff members that reflect the diversity of the community?
Is there a plan to increase the recruitment of BIPOC educators?
- The District is addressing increasing diverse staff in certified and general staff jobs through the following efforts:
- Addressing diversity in the application process
- Initiative of recruitment with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other multicultural professional organizations
- Two cultural competency and antiracist professional development courses to create a culture of equity
- Creation of the Minority Leadership program that will attract applicants seeking a workplace with an identified pipeline of leadership for staff of color
I am interested in seeing the interim goals for sure. There is power in talking about the specific groups represented among students, and making sure that work is being done across the board (student body) that call out areas of attention and recognizes the various parts of our community.
- Interim goals can be found here: https://www.asdk12.org/cms/lib/AK02207157/Centricity/Domain/5462/Strategic_Plan_Goals.pdf
What's happening with the 2+2 program for educators within the University of Alaska system? I thought that was designed to help develop teachers of color... but I don't know if they ended up partnering with ASD or other Alaska districts.
- ASD has two staff members who serve on the DEED Teacher Equity committee. The committee is focused on ensuring that every school district in the state has a diverse teaching staff.
How will ASD ensure that students will not be underrepresented in lottery/application-based programs? And will this extend to the IGNITE/HG/Honors/AP pipeline?
- ASD has partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools to address equity and access for Advanced Placement courses. The work will target all eight high schools starting with Bartlett, East, Service, and South. This work will now be coupled with Equity & Antiracism in Education professional development to create a culture of inclusion within classrooms programs and schools. The training will target feeder schools to ensure that underrepresented students in elementary and middle schools are referred to gifted education at the same rate as their White peers.
As reading as a focus, why are there no services in ASD specifically for kids with dyslexia?
- ASD uses a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to identify, intervene, and instruct students that display reading challenges, which include students that display characteristics of Dyslexia. Through universal screeners and diagnostic assessments, skill deficits are identified, and an instructional plan is developed for identified students by a school support team. This plan includes providing an evidence-based (explicit and systematic) reading intervention, smaller group size, more opportunities to respond, and additional time focused on the skill deficit area(s) (Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension). This plan could also include providing a complete replacement core reading program to those students identified as being significantly behind their grade-level peers. The district has specific interventions and core programs in grades K-12 designed to address students with reading deficits/Dyslexia which include:Phonics for Reading, SIPPS, Reading Mastery, Barton Reading, iReady, Heggerty PA, System 44, Ready, Inside, and Edge. With these different interventions and core reading programs, school teams can determine the best instructional support plan to assist students with reading deficits through the MTSS process and put them on a path for catch up growth and success in reading.
How will teachers be evaluated to determine if they are satisfactory or not in regards to their teaching ability?
- The District has adopted a comprehensive annual teacher evaluation protocol. The protocol incorporates requirements of state law and is incorporated in the Negotiated Agreement between the Anchorage Education Association and Anchorage School District. The protocol includes an improvement plan process for a teacher who is evaluated to be non-proficient in evaluated areas.
In the medical profession, evaluations are based on peer reviews, supervisory reviews, and patient satisfaction. It seems that the implementation of some structure similarly would be beneficial.
- See answer above. The protocol for evaluating teachers is determined by state law and by Negotiated Agreement between the District and Anchorage Education Association.
Could ANMC Behavioral Health be included in the discussion with regard to wrap around mental health services in the elementary schools?
- After the goals and guardrails are adopted and ASD is in the action planning phase, we will reach out to community mental health professionals to engage in discussion about services and practices that would help ASD support mental health in the schools.
What exactly are “mental health services” in elementary school? Please specify.
- ASD psychologists, counselors and behavior specialists provide social, emotional, and behavioral services including the following:
- Direct classroom instruction in social emotional learning (SEL) standards and strategies
- Classroom and school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS)
- Functional behavioral assessment and functional behavioral analysis
- Development of individualized behavior support plans
- Small group social skills instruction to promote relationship building, coping skills, effective problem solving skills, and emotional regulation skills
- Safety risk assessments for self-harm or harm to others
- Crisis response
Who is the school district partnering with to find/grow/attract additional mental health professionals? And/or would the mental health support staff differ from those professionals in middle and high school? It's my understanding that there is somewhat of a shortage of mental health professionals in Alaska.
- ASD has 114 counselors (32 elementary, 26 middle, and 55 high/alternative); 51 psychologists (PreK-12); 28 SEL/behavioral support specialists (Title I elementary schools); 4 behavior analysts; and 8 behavior strategists (PreK-12).
Currently, ASD offers a competitive internship program to attract school psychologists. This has been a successful program for over 15 years. More recently, ASD has partnered with Eastern Washington’s School Psychology program in hopes of developing a “grow your own” program since there are no programs in Alaska.
ASD is also in partnership with Volunteers of America (VOA) and Providence Alaska to offer school-based services at 11 schools: Bartlett High School, Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School, West High School, Benny Benson Alternative High School, Wendler Middle School, Romig Middle School, Clark Middle School, Central Middle School, Lake Otis Elementary School, Muldoon Elementary School, and Tyson Elementary School. The partnership includes the following services:
- Training and behavioral health support to students, families, educators, and school staff.
- District-wide referral pathway for support and behavioral health consultation services.
- Navigation and support for referring youth and their families to valuable community-based resources for long-term care through involvement and participation in ASD’s Crisis Response Team.
- Provide behavioral health services and supports to referred students and their families.
Is there a plan to expand VOC training and pre-apprenticeship programs and partnerships?
- This year Alaska Works Partnership (AWP) was awarded a US Department of Labor Youth Apprenticeship grant. The ASD CTE Department is a named partner in the grant and will be working with AWP to expand youth apprenticeships in health care, maritime, mining & construction and other industries. This 4-year project will kick off this year and the Project Coordinator, Frank Mucci, is a long-time partner with KTHS.
In addition, KTHS has strong partnerships with the Alaska Carpenters Training Trust, The Joint Training Trust, and IBEW. These partnerships have resulted in many students going direct-entry into apprenticeship programs after high school.
In the last 5 years, the CTE department has been expanding offerings at middle and high school. This includes the addition of an internship program that placed students in healthcare, computer science and engineering internships. We have also hired two CTE Coordinators who are focused on growing industry partnerships across CTE.
What is the demographic makeup of the District Instructional Materials and Curriculum Committee (DIMCC)? As you know representation matters, especially when it comes to shaping our children’s curriculum. Is the Curriculum Committee a Diverse group?
- To ensure broad representation and diversity on the District Instructional Materials and Curriculum Committee (DIMCC), the membership of the committee is as follows:
Administrator Middle School
Administrator High School
Secondary Teacher ELA
Administrator Special Education
Secondary Teacher Math
Administrator Federal Programs
Secondary Teacher Social Studies
Administrator Human Resources
Secondary Teacher Science
College & Technical Education (CTE) Representative
Teacher World Language
Equity & Compliance Representative
Teacher Fine Arts
Community Member , Multicultural Concerns Advisory Committee (MECAC)
Community Member, Title I Central Parent Advisory Committee (CPAC)
Teacher Physical Education
Community Member, Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Teacher Alternative School
Native Advisory Council (NAC), Community Member
Student Advisory Committee Rep. 1
Teacher Special Education
Student Advisory Committee Rep. 2
How do you volunteer to be on the Curriculum Committee?
- There is an application process for the District Instructional Materials & Curriculum Committee (DIMCC). The initial application process for this year was in fall 2020. Inaugural DIMCC members will serve for 2 or 3 year terms to ensure that all members are not up for renewal at the same time. After the inaugural year, DIMCC members will serve 2 year terms; with a two term limit. If you have questions about DIMCC, please contact Kristina Bellamy or Ms. Dianne Orr, Directors of Teaching and Learning.
What are the benchmarks to measure success of whether or not the "guardrails" are met, and what are the consequences for not being successful in any or all of these areas?
- Guardrails are measured by "interim guardrails" which are measures of progress toward a defined guardrail that can be expressed as a number or percentage. The Superintendent’s annual evaluation is based off of the progress toward the goals while following the guardrails.
Are these goals and guardrails fluid in their structure?
- The goals and guardrails will be set for the next five years (until 2026) and are not intended to be flexible. Once the Board goals are set, the District will develop strategies to help accomplish them.
What is the school board's interest or relationship with ideas about universal Pre-K (though currently unfunded) from some members of the legislature?
- The Board supports universal Pre-K, but as a District we cannot implement it due to funding limitations. Per state statue, the Anchorage School District is funded for K-12 through the Base Student Allocation (BSA). The District does receive funds for special needs preschool students and also receives grants that help provide limited pre-K. The importance of pre-k is very well documented and would prepare all our students for a successful academic start.
Why is the math proficiency goal not as aggressive as the reading proficiency?
Why is there such a difference in achievement goal between reading (80%) and math (55%), given that they both start at the same place?
- The District and School Board went out into the community to learn what was most valued. During that public engagement, reading emerged as the top priority, with math achievement a close second. Having heard that request loud and clear, the Board was very aggressive in prioritizing the reading goal.