November 9, 2015
As educators, we often ask our students what they want to be when they grow up. For most, the answer is ever-evolving, and that’s a good thing.
Today’s high school graduates have so many options ahead of them, and with opportunities come challenges. Our students will be competing not only with others in Alaska, but all over the world. We need to prepare them for the realities of a global economy, and make sure we equip them with the skills necessary to succeed and thrive.
At the Anchorage School District, most of our classrooms look very different than they did 20, 30 or more years ago when we were in school. Gone are chalkboards and full-day lectures. They’ve been replaced with small-group learning, student-led discussions and hands-on activities. Instead of sit-and-get lessons, students are engaging their learning to build a strong foundation of critical thinking and communication skills. This helps them solve more complex, real-world problems.
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The workforce has changed significantly since many of us started our careers. In today’s knowledge-based economy, post-secondary education and professional certificates are increasingly more important. The evolving face of technology is also changing the professional landscape.
That’s why ASD adopted new standards. These new standards are more rigorous and they set the right bar to better prepare students for college and career readiness. The new standards are clear and aligned to provide a foundation for what students need to learn, while not dictating how teachers teach.
The new standards help our students move beyond memorization and push them to analyze and critique complex concepts and texts. For example, while we still expect students to memorize multiplication tables, we also give them an opportunity to work math problems in a variety of ways so they understand how the numbers work and the rationale behind the actions. This all helps them apply their learning to real-life actions.
Our test results look much different this year compared to previous years and at first glance, it’s easy to get discouraged, but you shouldn’t. Student achievement has not declined. The expectations of our students are higher than ever before. As students gain more experience in the standards, I’m confident scores will rise. I know that parents will value knowing their kids are performing on a set of grade-level standards that will put them on track for life after high school.
While students may frequently change their mind about what they want to be when they grow up, whatever their ultimate decision, we’ll make sure they’ll be ready.
Visiting Mountain View Elementary
Welcoming the future class of 2027
Congratulating the class of 2014
Getting a snapshot of East High School.
Ed Graff was appointed superintendent of the Anchorage School District on March 18, 2013.
Mr. Graff began his teaching career in 1991 at Gladys Wood Elementary School. Nine years later, he became an elementary school principal in the district. In 2008, Mr. Graff was named executive director of Elementary Education. The following year, he became the Chief Academic Officer, a position formerly referred to as assistant superintendent for instruction. A graduate in Elementary Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Mr. Graff holds a Master's Degree in Education Administration from University of Southern Mississippi. He has post-masters coursework in curriculum, educational leadership and instruction. Mr. Graff has served on several boards and professional organizations, including Junior Achievement, School Business Partnerships and Alaska Learning Network.
Originally from Minnesota, he has lived in several Alaska towns and villages, including Hooper Bay and Savoonga. He is married to Michelle Prince, an ASD elementary school principal. They have one son.
Download Mr. Graff's full biography
Search for the next superintendent
The Anchorage School Board is beginning its search for a new superintendent who will lead the district upon completion of Superintendent Ed Graff’s contract.
Read the news release »
The district's Multicultural Education Concerns Advisory Committee (MECAC) works to ensure equity for ally students by providing input directly to the Superintendent on relevant issues that impact student achievement, including parent involvement, community relations, curriculum adoption and implementation, cultural competence, and equity and other instructional concerns.
Superintendent's letter, 10/21/15
Read Superintendent Graff's response to the tragedy at AFN.
Read letter »
Destination 2020 is the district’s comprehensive, multi-year plan to increase student achievement. The plan focuses on improving the performance of every child to ensure at least one year’s academic growth each year. Destination 2020 is built on the district's mission, vision and core values as outlined by the school board.
Destination 2020 »