• Lesson plans for the seventh grade Alaska State standards in language arts

      Gieser, Kenneth E. (2014-04)
      The SBE (standards-based education) reform movement calls for clear, measurable standards for all school students. Rather than norm-referenced rankings, a standards-based system measures each student against the concrete standard. Curriculum, assessments, and professional development are aligned to the standards. However, many teachers find standards burdening and restrictive, and it has been challenging for teachers to infuse them with her, or his personal passions. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate that not only can these new standards be taught effectively, but that teachers can find them accommodating enough for their passions. This project's outcome will include lesson plans, activities, and assessments, along with my personal reflection as to the efficacy of using these new standards without losing the passion for teaching with them.
    • Analysis of the effects of online homework on the achievement, persistence, and attitude of developmental mathematics students

      Barnsley, Amy Elizabeth; Kaden, Ute; Jacobsen, Gary; Faudree, Jill; Rickard, Anthony (2014-05)
      This dissertation summarizes a study of the use of online homework with developmental mathematics students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. To address the problem of high failure rates in developmental mathematics courses this study investigated the relationship between online homework and academic achievement, persistence, and attitude. Special focus was placed on non-traditional and Alaska Native students. A matched pair experimental design was employed. The independent variable was homework type and the dependent variables were achievement, persistence, and attitude. Nineteen sections of developmental mathematics, six instructors, and 423 student participants were involved. The main effect of homework type was not statistically significant to any of the dependent variables. However, the effect of the interaction between homework type and course level was significant (p = 0.005). Upon further analysis it was found that one of the four levels (beginning algebra) had significantly higher post-test scores when online homework was assigned. The interaction effects of homework type/ Native status and homework type/ non-traditional status were not statistically significant on any of the dependent variables. Also, results from homework questionnaires were compared. In general, students rated paper homework slightly higher than online homework. Instructors rated online homework higher than students did. Non-traditional students scored paper homework higher than online homework. The conclusion of this study is that while students have a slightly more favorable attitude toward paper homework, online homework in conjunction with graded paper quizzes and face-to-face instruction does not have a negative effect on achievement or persistence.
    • The practice of teachers reading aloud in the classroom

      Bost, John C.; Hogan, Maureen P.; Noon, Doug; Kardash, Diane (2014-05)
      This inquiry, which involved use of a teacher survey and classroom observations, was designed to explore how teachers use the practice of reading aloud. This small case study, of one urban elementary school in Alaska, also set out to examine how teachers view the practice of a read-aloud. Studies have identified a number of effective components of a read-aloud. This study found teachers in agreement on some important reasons to read aloud and the components of a read-aloud that they value. The teachers in my inquiry appear to value reading aloud and they all share similarities in how they use the read-aloud practice. All of the teachers agreed that the three most important reasons to read aloud are: for enjoyment, to expose students to texts that they may not read otherwise, and to promote a love of literature and/or reading. Most of the teachers rated two components in particular as very important: animation and expression, and modeling fluent reading.
    • Increasing exposure at home to improve literacy skills at school

      Gormley, Patricia A.; Burmeister, RIchard; Kardash, Diane; Peterson, Don (2014-06)
      The focus of this project was to help the home literacy environment by supplying materials for families that are an expansion on what students are learning in the classroom with weekly take-home book bags. Research shows that students who become good readers stay good readers. The bags include a selection of books for families to read together along with audio recordings of each of the books to allow the student to make full use of the books without assistance. For families for whom English is not a first language or for families who have limited time for parent-child interactions, the recordings may be especially helpful so that students can interact with the materials independently. Overall, the additional time spent focusing on literacy will have a positive impact on reading skills and help build a strong school-to-home connection for future years.
    • Dramatics in the classroom: activating and enhancing the elementary intermediate level reading curriculum

      Finnell, Sarah K.; Vinlove, Amy; Hornig, Joan; Brink-Hart, Paula (2014-07)
      Elementary classroom teachers have been using drama to teach a variety of subjects since the 1960s. There are a myriad of books on the subject to which educators can turn for ideas to use in their classrooms. Theorists and practitioners have recognized that it is not enough for teachers to simply read about and practice drama in their classrooms; they should be trained in using drama effectively. In the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District teachers are well-equipped and exposed to visual arts lessons. Nearly every school has a music program, but there remains limited training or resources teachers might use to incorporate drama into their curriculum. This project would begin to fill that gap. In this report, I outline the research that justifies the use of drama as a tool to support the reading curriculum in intermediate elementary classrooms. My final project is a set of nine lessons that can be used by any teacher to support reading comprehension skills in intermediate elementary classrooms.
    • Mindfulness for educators: fostering awareness and resilience in the classroom

      Bursiel, Morgan R.; Vinlove, Amy; Healy, Joanne; McIntosh, Susan (2014-08)
      Teaching in the public schools is demanding work, and addressing teacher stress in the classroom remains a significant challenge in education. Increasing numbers of children come to school unprepared and often at risk of mental health and behavioral concerns, yet teachers are expected to provide emotionally responsive support to all students, manage larger classroom sizes, and meet the growing academic demands imposed by standardized testing. Despite these high expectations, teachers rarely receive training to address and skillfully handle the social-emotional challenges of their profession. A current examination of teacher educational and in-service professional development activities indicates that little professional development specifically targets these competencies. Over the last decade, mindfulness--the intentional cultivation of focused attention and awareness--has grown from its initial western applications in medicine to other disciplines, including education. Studies have shown that even a few weeks of practicing mindfulness can bring a variety of physical, emotional, and social benefits to teachers and students alike. This project aims to introduce mindfulness training to teachers to bolster positive qualities of mind and enhance responsive, compassionate teaching.
    • An indigenous vision of 21st century education in the Bering Strait region

      Amarok, Barbara QasuGlana; Madsen, Eric; Brayboy, Bryan; Reichardt, Paul; Leonard, Beth (2014-12)
      I am an Iñupiaq Alaska Native from the Bering Strait region and have worked in the region for 32 years in the fields of elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and adult education. Alaska Native students, as a cohort, have consistently had higher drop out rates and lower percentages of proficiency than other cohorts. My work represents a synthesis of my personal and professional experiences and is similar to research methodologies such as triangulation, auto-ethnography, mixed methods, or various Indigenous research methodologies that focus on webs of relationship. I also interviewed a sample of community members ranging in age from 15 to 75 years old to determine to what extent they hold similar or dissimilar views. I suggest: 1) changes to teacher certification requirements, 2) changes to school district practices and discourses, and 3) a stronger partnership between communities and educators, so that schools can more effectively serve the communities to which they are responsible and so that local life ways and priorities form the foundation of schooling.
    • Uncovering and enhancing motivation in a residential substance abuse treatment setting

      Morris, Alexandria V.; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
      This project addresses how to enhance motivation in a residential substance abuse setting in order to encourage completion of treatment. This project discusses contingency management, music therapy, family therapy, and motivational interviewing and how they enhance motivation. Contingency management and music therapy were both found to be helpful in increasing motivation in residential settings. Family therapy was also found to increase motivation, but at smaller levels. Motivational interviewing, which is used by many therapists, also enhances motivation in a consumer and is considered an evidenced based practice. The project provides a motivational curriculum for use in a six-week residential treatment program. The curriculum incorporates all four areas found in the literature that can be used to enhance motivation and to uncover motivation and help to engage consumers in treatment.
    • Strategies for Chinese international students to overcome the challenges of studying in the United States

      Chen, Yuerong; Simpson, Joni; McMorrow, Samantha; Renes, Susan L. (2015)
      Using current research and literature, this project discusses the challenges that Chinese international students may have while they experience cultural adjustment in the United States. In addition, this project also examines strategies for Chinese international students to smooth the cultural transition during their stay in the United States. There is research about Chinese immigrants' cultural transition and international students' transitional periods. However, there is a very limited amount of research specifically on Chinese international students' cultural adjustment in the United States. Educating the Chinese international students, educators and counselors in international institutions about the challenges of cultural transition and the strategies to overcome the challenges may potentially help these students when they arrive in the United States. The application of this project is a presentation to international office personnel, counselors who work at university counseling centers and faculty members who have a large population of Chinese international students in their classrooms. The project also offers recommendations for any professionals who work to help Chinese international students to succeed in their study in a new educational system and a new culture.
    • Outpatient care in Fairbanks: supporting people with schizophrenia

      Wiley, Alex; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Harrison, Lynn (2015)
      With the current lack of residential treatment facilities, long-term hospitalization, and mental health agencies that can fully support people with schizophrenia in Fairbanks, Alaska, there are many ethical concerns that must be addressed to best support clients with schizophrenia. The ethical considerations present in the success of outpatient care include: a) promoting the welfare of clients, b) utilizing plans that offer reasonable promise of success, c) understanding the limits imposed on the support networks of these clients, and d) the limitations of employment opportunities for these clients in an outpatient setting. Reviewing literature on the experiences of people with schizophrenia revealed three stages of treatment normally experienced: a) acute care, b) transition care, and c) chronic care. Areas most impacted for people with schizophrenia are socialization and work, memory and intelligence, suicide risk and other disorders, and interactions with family, friends and the community. In Fairbanks, Alaska where weather hinders socializing and available services are limited, building many strong support resources is incredibly important to give people with schizophrenia the best chance of recovery and a stable quality of life.
    • School Connectedness: the benefits of a school-based peer-mentoring program for transitioning students in secondary education

      Murdock, Lucy Marie Rabold; Cook, Christine; Gifford, Valerie; Harrison, Lynn (2015)
      The transition to a new high school can disrupt social networks, cause anxiety, and hinder academic success for secondary students. School-based comprehensive peer-mentoring programs that focus on transitioning secondary students have the potential to alleviate the anxiety of a changing school climate by promoting school connectedness, building peer relationships, and being sensitive to the social, academic, and procedural concerns of transitioning secondary students (Cauley & Jovanovich, 2006). Students who feel connected to school feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in the school social environment, all of which may guard against student alienation, poor self-esteem, and other deviant behaviors for adolescent youth. The following research paper discusses how focused school-based peer-mentoring programs for adolescents may help to build school and peer connectedness; promote academic achievement, healthy development, and psychological health; increase protective factors; and decrease risky behaviors. A presentation and program guide for secondary administration and staff were developed based on the information found in the literature review.
    • What does the required curriculum of a NASPAA accredited master of public administration (MPA) program typically look like?

      Mackey, Emil Robert III; Roehl, Roy; Gering, Carol; Noble, Diane (2015)
      This research builds upon prior MPA Curriculum Research and regarding what the required curriculum of a Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) accredited Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program typically looks like. This research uses a mixed methods approach where qualitative Grounded Theory methods identify and classify required courses by course name. Quantitative methods calculates frequencies o f distribution and, combined with b rief qualitative statements, explain the typical NASPAA accreditation requirements across programs. This research is useful to understand the transformation of the MPA core requirements since 1989 and for existing and aspiring NASPAA accredited programs to plan and/or evaluate their required curriculum against the typically required core curriculum of NASPAA accredited programs as of 2013. Generally, this research identifies seven common requirements in a typical NASPAA accredited program of study, an average and range o f typical required credit hours per program, and discusses this research in relation to prior research, NASPAA accreditation standards, and the categories of courses typically required by 50% or more of NASPAA accredited programs in this research.
    • Alaskan school counseling: a career guidance and exploration curriculum for third through sixth grade students

      Bussa, Sarah (2015)
      This project reviews the existing literature on career development in children, and demonstrates the importance of school counselors facilitating career exploration and development with students of an elementary age. Although research suggests career development begins in childhood, and the American School Counselor Association and Alaska School Counselor Association require a career component to school counseling programs, few resources are available to elementary school counselors for developing an effective career curriculum. School counselors working with kindergarten through second grade students can reference An Alaskan Career Education Curriculum for Grades Kindergarten to Second (Zanazzo, 2014) for support in developing career lessons for younger elementary students. This project aims to provide Alaskan school counselors with a curricular resource to assist in the creation of a career curriculum that guides third through sixth grade students in career development.
    • Examining the feasibility of implementing a matrix model intensive outpatient program in a remote Alaskan setting

      Ponziano, Frank; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
      Significance: The Matrix Model is possibly the only evidenced-based, intensive outpatient approach for addiction that has been shown to be effective at treating addiction. However, the model has not been evaluated for its effectiveness in remote Alaskan settings, such as Fairbanks, Alaska. Specific Aim: This study examined the feasibility of the Matrix Model compared to Treatment as Usual (TAU) in Fairbanks, Alaska. TAU is defined as any other outpatient substance abuse treatment (SAT) other than Matrix Model treatment program. The model's philosophy will be examined, and a method for determining its feasibility for implementation in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be outlined. This project will provide a method for an agency to examine their readiness and philosophical compatibility for the Matrix Model. This research intends to explore contextual variables, such as environment, culture, policy, participant barriers, funding, and organizational philosophy. Methods: This study has reviewed the literature regarding evidence-based, intensive outpatient programs, other treatment philosophies, and the contextual variables that affect program implementation in the literature. Moreover, this study provides an analysis of the Matrix Model versus TAU to help guide a Fairbanks agency considering Matrix Model Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is a 12 to 16 week intensive outpatient SAT that meets for 9 or more hours per week that integrates individual, family, and group counseling along with weekly drugs screens. Implications: This project aims to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the Matrix Models effectiveness compared to TAU in remote Alaskan settings.
    • Improving postsecondary transitions for students in rural Alaska: applying solution focused brief therapy in the school setting

      Elliott, Jill M.; Cook, Christine; Gifford, Valerie; Simpson, Joni (2015)
      Successful postsecondary transitions present several challenges for adolescents, and statistics show that Alaska Native youth experience additional adverse conditions and risks compared to their peers in the dominant culture. An effective intervention plan may assist rural Alaskan students in obtaining desirable education and increase opportunities for achieving personal and professional goals. This project is focused on answering the following research questions: What research has been done to show that SFBT groups could be effective in rural school settings to aid in postsecondary transitions? What components are necessary to include in an effective transition support plan for rural Alaskan students? A literature review was conducted to gain insight as to the aspects of Alaska Native culture that influence counseling outcomes, information regarding current postsecondary transition programs that are available, and the key facets of career development interventions for adolescents. This research guided the creation of a small group counseling curriculum that is grounded in the tenets of Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Family Systems Theory. The activities and discussion that are incorporated into the project target high schools in rural Alaska, and are designed to increase awareness, enhance self-efficacy, and embrace family, community and culture as vital supports in the career development process of adolescents.
    • Supporting parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders

      Grennan, Lindsey; Cook, Christine; Healy, Joanne; Harrison, Lynn (2015)
      According to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (ADEED), in the year 2013, 1,110 children with an ASD were enrolled across all the school districts within the state of Alaska (ADEED, 2013). Children with an ASD experience social, behavioral and academic difficulties and parents raising children with an ASD face numerous challenges related to meeting the needs of their child and family (Hall & Graff, 2010; Murphy, Christian, Caplin, & Young, 2007; Solomon & Chung, 2012). This paper reviews current research on experiences of ASD diagnoses for children and parents, and the efficacy of parental engagement with social support and family therapy. The literature review informed the creation of a PowerPoint presentation and a handbook that discuss the experiences of children and parents related to ASDs, describe the research to support the efficacy of local resources, and present the local resources for parents of children with ASDs.
    • A shifting paradigm: teachers' beliefs and methods for fostering ecological literacy in two public charter schools

      Sterling, Evan P.; Vinlove, Amy; Green, Carie; Carlson, John (2015-05)
      Ecological literacy is measured by a person's ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible and how to live in accordance with those systems. The emergence of the pedagogies of place- and community-based education during the past two decades provides a possible avenue for fostering ecological literacy in schools. This thesis explores the following research questions: 1) How is ecological literacy fostered in two Alaskan public charter schools? 2) What are teachers' beliefs in these two schools about the way children and youth develop ecological literacy? 3) What are effective teaching methods and what are the challenges in engaging students in ecological literacy? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six K-12 teachers in two public charter schools in Alaska in order to investigate these questions, and relevant examples of student work were collected for study as well. Qualitative data analysis revealed several emergent themes: the need for real-world connections to curriculum; the necessity of time spent outdoors at a young age; the long-term and holistic nature of ecological literacy development; and the importance of family and community role models in developing connections with the natural world. Based upon the research findings, several recommendations are made to support the efforts of teachers in these schools and elsewhere for fostering ecological literacy in children and youth.
    • The decision-making process of first year teachers

      Coskey, Isabeau S. (2015-08)
      Attrition rates among beginning teachers have long been a cause for concern. As a profession, teaching is one that is extremely difficult to enter into and find your footing. For most novice teachers the first year of teaching is typically the most difficult due to the challenges faced both in the classroom and personally. During the day a myriad of decisions fall on the shoulders of a teacher and long after students have gone most teachers are continuing to make decisions about the classroom. This project examines the major areas where decisions are being made, charts the decision-making process first year teachers employ, and presents an electronic guidebook that can be used by individuals transitioning from a pre-service program into their first year of teaching.
    • Development plans for a remote control laboratory demonstrating the Faraday effect

      LaSota, Dan; Roehl, Roy; Delamere, Peter; Monahan, John (2015-08)
      This project presents the design o f a physics lab where the Faraday Effect is studied by students in a Remote Control Laboratory (RCL). Background conceptual material for students, equipment lists, lab procedures, and a proposed web interface to the equipment are offered with the design choices supported by research. The final product is a workable demonstration that could be used in face-to-face classrooms or as a laboratory exercise. This project could also serve as a blue print for a future engineering project where the final computer-mechanical-robotic interface could be crafted so that this would indeed become a fully online RCL.