Recent Submissions

  • Standards-based learning under the Bering Strait instructional model: can levels be used as valid indicators for proficiency on the Alaska High School Graduation qualifying exam?

    Jones, Carrie A.; Hogan, Maureen; Barnhardt, Ray; Strange, Anthony (2009-08)
    "The Bering Strait School District is an Alaskan school district that took on standards-based education under the umbrella of a larger systemic change encompassed by what has been called the Quality Schools Model. In this model students are engaged in standards-based curriculum that is organized in a manner allowing for time to be a variable in student learning and where groupings (levels) are based upon student readiness in the non-graded system. In this study, the effectiveness of standards-based levels was quantitatively studied by comparing sophomore reading, writing and math levels in the model to their high school exit exam scores in an attempt to determine if an association between the two assessments exists. The application of the chi-squared statistic lead to the conclusion that the level a student is working at in reading or math, within the model, is in fact associated to their proficiency on the high school exit exam"--Leaf iii
  • The impact of parent and student access of student information management systems on student achievement

    Kershner, Catherine Marie; Jacobsen, Gary; Gatto, Mario; Roehl, Roy (2010-12)
    "The introduction of online student information systems (SISs) has provided parents and students the opportunity to more closely monitor student academic performance. Two years after the implementation of an SIS, PowerSchool, in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, data indicates no significant increase in grade point average (GPA) despite significant increases in SIS utilization. System contacts increased during academic years 2008/'09 and 2009/' 10 among populations of middle school and high school students while average GPAs remained essentially unchanged. However, comparisons between SIS contacts and GPAs revealed statistically significant correlations between the two variables, indicating some degree of connection between student/parent monitoring and academic performance. In addition, analysis of student records indicates a positive correlation between average GPAs and contacts recorded during an academic year: records with low GPAs reported fewer contacts with the SIS, with contacts increasing with GPA values. Thus, while families of higher-achieving students are more likely to utilize PowerSchool than lower-achieving students' families, the introduction of PowerSchool has had essentially no impact on promoting academic achievement"--Leaf iii.
  • The effect of freshman teams on ninth graders' academic success in high school

    Kahoe, Gregory C.; Morotti, Allan; Doran, Kathleen; Roehl, Roy F. II; Kaden, Ute (2010-12)
    "Education reform and the passage of No Child Left Behind legislation are responsible for many innovative educational programs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether grouping ninth graders who share core teachers, known as freshman teams, affects students' academic success in high school. The study population consisted of 301 incoming freshmen at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, AK during the 2009-2010 school year. Student grades in both English and science were examined. Results of a school-sponsored, Likert-style survey were used to supplement the conclusions. A t-Test for Independent Groups was used to determine whether freshman teams affect ninth graders' academic success in high school. The results were inconclusive with respect to grades. Further, team membership had an effect in only one category: knowing classmates' names. Other factors associated with long-term academic success such as graduation rates should also be examined before widespread school reforms are implemented"--Leaf iii.
  • Computer mediated communities of practice: the state of teacher collaboration in one rural Alaskan school district

    Montague Winebarger, Caitlin (2010-05)
    "The Yukon-Koyukuk School District spans an area the size of Washington State, while serving just over 300 students. Administratively based in Fairbanks, Alaska, the district is comprised of nine rural schools along the Yukon, Koyukuk, and Tanana Rivers which are geographically isolated, and in some cases only accessible by plane or boat. This mixed-methods inquiry, which contains both survey and focus group components, investigates the current use of internet- and technology-based methods and practices for collaborative use by district teachers. Concepts about teacher isolation, and communities of practice provide the framework for this situated study. Both the self-reported skill-set elucidated by the survey and the actual picture of the technological situation at the various sites gathered from the focus group participants suggest that teachers would value an increase in collaboration, but need more training before that can effectively take place. The data help to inform a list of six specific recommendations to the district to address these needs"--Leaf iii
  • Mentoring novice elementary teachers in rural Alaska

    McBrayer, Natalie Ann; Rickey, Melissa; Webster, Joan Parker; Scoles, Lorrie (2010-08)
    "This study investigates the impact of a literacy coach on novice teachers' reading instructional practices. Coaches are used to support teachers in their classrooms in districts across the country to improve student achievement. At this time, the tie between coaches, teachers and student achievement in research is limited. This qualitative study explores the impact of a literacy coach on three novice teachers' and their reading instructional practices. Data was collected using field notes, interviews, collaborative logs and observations. Analysis indicates that teachers relied on the coach to support them in five main areas. Those areas were; teacher request for support in ordering supplies, organizing the classroom, etc.; classroom practice that included working with classroom aides, on going assessment, etc.; teacher learning that had to do with teaching specific skills, professional reading, etc. The last two areas were student improvement and impact of the coach. The results of this study indicate that a literacy coach does have an impact on novice teachers reading practices, which in turn raises student achievement. Test scores, students' daily work and passing levels, indicate evidence of the achievement. More research is needed in the area of teacher mentoring and how it affects student achievement"--Leaf iii
  • The life of my grandmother: Olinka Arrsamquq Michael

    Skinner, Olga J.; Hogan, Maureen; Schneider, William; Leonard, Beth (2009-11)
    "Investigations into texts on the history of Kwethluk, Alaska reveal little, with one published account describing my maternal grandmother. Fueled by my own curiosity, I interviewed four women who knew her before she passed away, to learn of her life, her influence on others, and village history. Critical theory underlies my research and is evident in the documentation of the life of a Yup'ik woman through the voices of female informants. Analysis of the interviews revealed primary process codes that include important periods of life, and roles my grandmother held became subcodes. Her roles are tied together by her desire and acts of caring for others, especially women and children. With the increasing presence of Western influence in a Yup'ik village, several of her roles also establish her as a cultural broker. Life history research, through interviews and supporting historical documents and texts, generated a picture of life in Kwethluk in the 1900s"--Leaf iii
  • Cultural adaptations of evidence based practices in supporting children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

    James, Krista P.; Barnhardt, Raymond; Leonard, Beth; Wells, Cassie; Healy, Joanne (2020-08)
    Research shows that early identification and intervention result in a higher quality of life and contribution to society for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As society sees an ever-increasing percentage of individuals diagnosed with ASD, identification of culturally responsive, evidence-based practices is of critical importance. While the National Autism Center has provided a guide to evidence-based practices, minimal research has been done to determine if these practices are culturally relevant. This is a community-based formative research project. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the cultural appropriateness of the practices identified as "evidence-based practices" by the National Autism Center in the 2015 standards report, specifically a token economy system which is a positive behavioral support that utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis to decrease challenging behaviors and increase positive behaviors. The study utilized qualitative research strategies, including surveys and interviews within the American Samoan community, to accomplish this evaluation. The surveys and interviews were analyzed using coding principles to generate themes. The researcher was contacted by the American Samoan Department of Education to provide training for educators and parents on utilizing evidence-based practices to support children with autism. The results of this study inform the content of the ongoing training efforts.
  • Beyond trending: using risking connection as a framework for moving agency culture toward trauma-informed care

    Healey, Michael J.; Renes, Susan L.; Strange, Anthony; Baker, Courtney; Anahita, Sine (2020-08)
    The prevalence and pervasive impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and more broadly, trauma, are well supported in the extant literature. Despite this evidence, there remains a significant dearth of formal training and educational programs that prepare staff who work with trauma survivors within complex behavioral health systems. Trauma-informed care (TIC) has moved beyond a trend in the mental health field and is gaining momentum as a leading philosophical paradigm that is being infused as an operational framework for agencies that work with survivors. Risking Connection (RC) is a curriculum-based training program that works with agencies interested in becoming trauma-informed. The current study examined the impact of RC on trainee outcomes for knowledge gain, attitude change, and vicarious trauma (VT) on 119 participants who all work for a therapeutic group home system being operated by a provincial government in Atlantic Canada. The findings in this study suggest that RC is effective in improving knowledge gain and attitude change in a favorable direction toward TIC. The study also supported previous findings associated with the improvement of VT.
  • Coming together at the table: partnering with urban Alaska Native families for their children's school success

    Roth, Karen L.; Vinlove, Amy; Topkok, Sean Asiqluq; Williams, Maria Shaa Tlaa; Jester, Timothy (2019-05)
    There is abundant research regarding the positive effects of family engagement as a factor in P-12 student success. Partnerships between home and school provide opportunities for students' families and educators to establish common goals and share meaning about the purpose of schooling. Unfortunately, mainstream outreach practices by Western educators have often failed to nurture authentic relationships with Indigenous families. This may be a contributing factor in lower academic success for too many Indigenous students. Historical educational practices in the U.S. for Indigenous students such as mandated attendance at distant boarding schools and English-only policies have adversely affected their languages and cultures worldwide and left a legacy of negative associations around schooling for many Native peoples. Non-Native educators continue to add to this disconnect with teaching pedagogies and curricula that are not responsive to Indigenous lifeways and values. In addition to inappropriate instructional methods and content, outreach strategies of non-Native educators may add to practices that marginalize Indigenous students and their families and discourage collaboration between home and school. This mixed-methods study sought to find family outreach strategies implemented by early childhood educators in the Anchorage School District (ASD) that build and nurture more culturally sustaining and relational approaches to building partnerships with Alaska Native families. Such practices are more likely to lead to student success for Native students. Research methods used were (a) a content analysis of ASD school-home communication fliers, (b) a survey of ASD preschool teachers on their outreach beliefs and practices with Native families, and (c) interviews with families of Alaska Native students.
  • Gizmos and gadgets: a guidebook of technological resources in the elementary classroom

    Dobrich, Rachel A.; Kardash, Diane; Vinlove, Amy; Imhoff, Myriam (2018-12)
    This research examines the implementation of technology in elementary classrooms. Prior research has shown that elementary teachers have more positive perspectives towards technology incorporation when sufficiently trained through pre-service teacher preparation programs and professional development opportunities for existing educators. Adequate technology instruction is necessary because it teaches educators about available resources and how to appropriately and meaningfully incorporate them into their lessons. Teachers need to provide relevant, authentic learning experiences for their students, teaching them how to function in a technological society. Technology has the potential to increase engagement and academic performance. It also allows teachers to create an accessible classroom environment for all students, including individuals with disabilities. There are numerous methods for technology integration including computer programs, iPad applications, games, virtual experiences, and interactive devices. However, teachers may not be aware of all the resources available. By increasing awareness of these technological resources, teachers can address the diverse learning styles of their students, helping them understand the academic content and preparing them for life outside of the classroom.
  • Movement activities for kindergarten through second grade teachers in an Alaska classroom

    Borba, Krista K.; Green, Carie; Vinlove, Amy; Kardash, Diane (2018-12)
    Physical activities in the classroom are very important for student growth and learning. Classroom teachers often teach physical activities in between core subjects in order to meet the Alaska Physical Activity in Schools Law which states that children should be getting 54 minutes of movement a day. However, many schools throughout Alaska do not have a designated PE teacher. Subsequently, this puts the responsibility of these standards on the general education teacher. However, few elementary teachers have a background in physical education, making it more challenging to know how to integrate meaningful physical activities in the classroom. The purpose of this project is to provide general education teachers, kindergarten through second grade, with multiple physical activity lessons that can be incorporated into their own classrooms throughout the day that include some of the Alaska PE Standards.
  • Teaching a novel using the common core state standards

    Holley, Danielle; Hogan, Maureen; Armstrong, Anne; Vinlove, Amy (2013-12)
    The purpose of this project was to explore ways that teachers can use the newly adopted Common Core State Standards to drive their instruction while teaching a novel. I created lessons for teachers to apply to the teaching of any novel and also gave specific lessons to use while teaching the novel The Adventures of Ulysses, by Bernard Evslin. I created lessons that addressed the Common Core's English Language Arts standards in reading literature, reading informational texts, writing, speaking and listening. My goal for this project was to explore how teachers could incorporate the use of informational texts, multimedia tools, the arts and their community as a way to support the teaching of a novel. I mainly incorporated these other resources as a way to get students to analyze literature more deeply and to help them strengthen their understanding of the novel itself. I wanted them to meet the rigorous Common Core State Standards while still experiencing literature as art and having a feeling of connectedness to the novel. The outcome of this project was a novel-centered unit that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. There are two separate units included in the project. One unit was designed to be adapted to any novel and therefore is less specific and more of a suggested outline for a unit. The other unit is specific to The Adventures of Ulysses and includes detailed lesson plans that could be used by any teacher who teaches this novel.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • United States Armed Forces' voluntary education program: The effect of enlisted service member retention

    Brauchle, Kenneth Charles; Smith, David M. (1997)
    The United States Armed Forces have sponsored off-duty voluntary higher education programs for fifty years. The investment in these programs by the Armed Services is substantial. In 1996, Department of Defense (DOD) expenditures for Tuition Assistance programs totaled $121 million. The longevity and scope of these military programs make them an ideal special case through which to study the outcomes of employer sponsored off-duty education. This study looked at the relationship between participation in military sponsored off-duty education programs and enlisted retention in the service. The data for the study was from a large (60,000 respondents) survey conducted by the DOD in 1992. Both univariate and multi-variate statistical analysis techniques were used. Additionally, over thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted with service members. The quantitative analysis supports the conclusion that long-term participation in off-duty education is significantly and positively related to intention to reenlist in simple bi-variate models. However, when several other variables thought to be related to retention are controlled the overall education participation effect is very small, accounting for little of the variation in intention to reenlist. A comparison of the education participation pattern in this data with previous studies leads to the conclusion that there has been a fundamental change in the relationship between off-duty education and retention in the last ten to fifteen years. The qualitative data suggest that the military places a high value on educational participation exhibited in formal and informal policies, the organizational reward system, promotions and attitudes. The opportunity to participate varies by location, specific job and military specialty. Servicemembers' attitudes toward education appear to evolve. Early participation seems to be extrinsically motivated with an intrinsic motivation developing as the servicemember continues to participate. The quantitative and qualitative data support the conclusion that the military has changed in its view of educational participation. The data point to the conclusion that the military has adopted educational participation as an integral part of the military culture. This value is so embedded within the environment that the effect of educational participation may be masked by other variables such as satisfaction with the military way of life.
  • "That's A Hard Question": Undergraduate Students Talk About Culture

    Montague-Winebarger, Caitlin N.; Leonard, Beth (2012)
    In this project I examine the ability of undergraduate students to articulate a working definition of culture and cross-culture. The students were predominately elementary education majors, enrolled in one of two culture-based elective courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during the 2010-2011 school year. Through the use of semi-structured interviewing and participatory/observational autoethnographic fieldwork, I provide several viewpoints from which to look at this complex issue. Through the examination of historical and institutional documents, I show that the School of Education within the University has had a long-standing commitment to teacher education in the Alaskan context, including creating teachers who understand the importance of cultural relevance. As this project shows, how students are taking up this aspect of theft teacher-training program is varied, and few students were able to provide a concise and applicable definition or framework for thinking about culture and cultural difference. In order to create culturally relevant teachers, the School must undertake more and better activities to provide students carefully structured experiences with cultural diversity, and culturally diverse learners, as well as ways to talk about those experiences. Like many other universities, students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks come to classes with many stereotypes about cultural groups and the importance, or lack thereof, of multicultural education. In my project, this came forth as resistance to talking about cultural diversity, and resistance to multicultural coursework. The students actively worked minimize cultural difference in favor of thinking in terms of individual, personality, and place-based difference.
  • Barriers To Ahtna Athabascans Becoming Public School Educators

    Johnson, Michael A.; Jacobsen, Gary; Barnhardt, Ray; Elliott, James W.; Richey, Jean A. (2012)
    Using a mixed-method phenomenological approach, this cross-cultural study utilizes a non-formalized survey and interviews. Data was gathered and presented in a manner consistent with Ahtna cultural norms and values. Survey data set was analyzed by statistical description. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically through axial coding. The review of literature and data gathered from Ahtna Athabascan participants identified barriers common to other minorities groups evidenced in Ahtna-specific ways. Through a thematic analysis, the data showed barriers, consequences, benefits, and solutions to Ahtna Athabascans becoming public school educators. Through this study, Ahtna Athabascans expressed an overwhelming desire to see more Ahtna Athabascans teachers in public schools. Among the policy and practical implications identified in the study are the need to improve the quality of K-12 educational experiences for Ahtna youth and improved guidance counseling services. The analysis of the data set provides pathways for future Ahtna-specific research and Ahtna-specific solutions for increasing the number of Ahtna Athabascan teachers in local public schools.
  • Alaskan Superintendent Turnover: Is There A Correlation Between Anticipated Turnover And The Organizational Culture Of School Boards In The State Of Alaska

    Herbert, David M. Q.; Jacobsen, Gary; Barnhardt, Ray; Laster, Mary; Jorgensen, Spike (2012)
    The purpose of this study is to determine if a particular type of school board culture is predictive of Alaskan public school superintendents' intention to leave their positions. Cameron and Quinn's four types of organizational culture---hierarchy, market, clan, and adhocracy---serve as the model for the study, which surveyed Alaska's public school superintendents during the 2010-2011 school year. The 47 participants completed the Anticipated Turnover Scale and the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument. A correlational analysis was utilized to assess what relationship might exist between anticipated turnover and superintendents' perceptions of their school board culture. No statistically significant correlations were found for any of the specific organizational types and superintendents' intention to quit their job. The findings do not discount the potential for school board culture to impact superintendents' intention to leave their positions; rather they suggest directions future research might take in reframing and exploring this question.

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