• Implementation of middle school best practice in a K-8 school: a case study of the planning year for Barnette Magnet School in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Smith-Thomas, Colleen; Lipka, Jerry; Rickard, Anthony; Reyes, Maria Elena; Monahan, John (2006-12)
      This study used a case study design to investigate the planning year for Barnette Magnet School, which opened in the fall of 2005. The conversion to a K-8 school is met with some difficulty by school districts across the nation because, while there are many benefits to keeping these 7th and 8th grade adolescents in their neighborhood elementary school where supportive relationships have already been developed, the fact remains that they have different social, emotional and academic needs than either elementary or high school students. This case study seeks to examine the current research into best educational practice for this age group and to what extent the planning of the magnet school aligned with this research. The data revealed that the Magnet School, by implementing an innovative school-wide structure based on exploratory curriculum and dynamic interactions between school and community, generally did align its plans to what is considered best practice for adolescents. Several areas of weakness are identified and described.
    • 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.
    • Kuiggluk Speech Community

      Amos-Andrew, Barbara; Marlow, Patrick (2010)
      This thesis explores language shift in the Kuiggluk speech community through interviews, observation, and surveys. Kuiggluk is a Yup'ik community in Southwestern, Alaska that is undergoing language shift from the indigenous language, Yugtun, to English. The interviews examine four mothers and their daughters' speech patterns and their schooling and cultural history. The observations reflect the four girls' speech patterns and their daily conversations. The surveys examine the Kuiggluk youth's speech patterns and goals for Yugtun more broadly.
    • Literacies and engagement: incorporating Yup'ik literacies in a language arts classroom

      Gehman, Michael J.; Hogan, Maureen; Leonard, Beth; Siekmann, Sabine (2017-05)
      The use of culturally relevant teaching practices and local literacies has been shown to increase student engagement in other studies. To observe the impact of Yup'ik literacies on student engagement, I designed and implemented a teacher, action research study that asked students to create a yuraq song to demonstrate their mastery of this topic. I spoke with members of the community to ensure the study was culturally acceptable and seen as beneficial, as well as to gain understanding about yuraq because I am an outsider to the culture. Students were observed and recorded throughout eight class periods while writing an academic essay and creating a yuraq song. Their actions in the classroom were analyzed to create an operational definition of engagement from a Yup'ik perspective, which was used, in conjunction with discussions with community members and students as well as student journals to determine if the yuraq task was able to foster deep, meaningful engagement. Their actions were also analyzed using James Paul Gee's work on "Big D" Discourse to identify the impact a local literacy had on their school Discourse. The data were able to illuminate a clear definition of Yup'ik engagement consisting of collaboration, physical action, and intense listening; deep student engagement similar to concept of Csikszentmihalyi's flow was observed in some but not all students; and the use of Discourse that matched the task and setting, but did not attempt to alter the power structure of the dominant Discourse in the school. The findings held a large degree of local validity for the participants, and were used to adjust teaching strategies to benefit this class.
    • Management of large interdisciplinary team science projects: a multi-methods approach to examining competencies

      Veazey, Alice Danielson; Monahan, John; Cahill, Catherine; Daniel, Mary Jo; Taylor, Karen (2017-05)
      Over the past fifty years, the world has experienced a significant increase in the scale and complexity of scientific research that is focused on society's most important issues. This type of research requires a team approach from people with diverse skill sets working together across multiple disciplines, and that trend is reflected in a significant rise in collaborative research. "Team science" is the focus of research efforts intent on better understanding the challenges and maximizing the effectiveness of collaborative research. Projects that involve large teams of scientists require a thoughtful and planned approach to leadership and management in order to achieve the stated goals and outcomes. The science community has recognized that in order to run effective team science projects, people must identify the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and beliefs that define the competency set for large-scale team science leadership and management. This study used a mixed-methods approach to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data through group concept mapping to develop a concept map of the competencies required to lead and manage large, interdisciplinary team science programs. These results were then used as a lens to examine the competencies identified through the content analysis of hiring documents for positions related to a broad spectrum of team science efforts. Expert team science managers defined a list of five critical competencies: project management, shared leadership, personal competence, social competence and communication. Analysis revealed that hiring practices do not identify these skill sets in position descriptions and announcements, typically focusing on project management and communication and neglecting the remaining three competencies. In order to hire people capable of managing large science teams, hiring practices, training programs and career tracks must be developed and align with these core competencies.
    • The moving writing workshop

      Ward, Robyn Francine Rutherford; Hogan, Maureen; Austin, Terri; Kenaston, Amy; Kardash, Diane (2006-12)
      This yearlong ethnographic case study documented the implementation of a 'moving' writing workshop at the first year of the Barnette Magnet School. This study focused on selected students in the 5/6 grades at the magnet school. In the moving writing workshop, the students changed rooms and worked in a variety of writing rooms that coincided with the writing process. The traditional writing process steps are prewriting/brainstorming, drafting, revise and response, editing, and publishing. The classroom teachers and staff at the school assisted students in the various writing rooms. This study looked at the benefits students gained by participating in the moving writing workshop. It addressed whether or not participation in the moving writing workshop improved the students' quality of writing and attitude toward writing. The writing quality and attitude of the students in the study did improve. However, after analyzing the data, with the research that was conducted, it was impossible to determine whether moving during the writing process was the factor that caused the improvements. The data did however show that the physical act of moving mostly had a positive impact on the students' writing.
    • Paving the road to college: impacts of Washington State policy on improving equitable participation in dual credit courses

      Hanson, Havala; Vinlove, Amy; McIntyre, Julie; Adams, Barbara; Mazzeo, Christopher; Wong, Kenneth (2019-12)
      This dissertation evaluates early impacts of a state policy to increase participation in dual credit courses in Washington state through subsidizing the cost of college credits for underrepresented rural and low-income students, and through extending eligibility to earn dual credit to students in grade 10. This study evaluates both aspects of the policy, with emphasis on the impacts for underrepresented rural and low-income students, students of color, and English learners. It employs quasi-experimental designs to estimate the impact of the policy on intended outcomes. The study finds mixed early impacts of the policy. While no effects were found for students attending schools near the cutoffs for eligibility for tuition subsidies, promising evidence emerged on the policy's impact on participation in dual credit among students in grade 10. The findings can provide policymakers with early evidence of the policy's effects, identify places where implementation may be strengthened, and serve as a blueprint for ongoing monitoring of the policy's impact and similar evaluations of dual credit policies nationwide.
    • The process of founding Fairbanks Baptist Bible College: a case study

      Loriot, Cliff R. (2006-08)
      The purpose of this study was to compare the founding of Fairbanks Baptist Bible College with a procedure I later developed from various sources (Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education [ACPE], "Regulations," 2000; "Statutes," 2000; Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges [AGBUC], 2000; Cedarholm, 1988; Fadel, 1971; Fisher, 1983; Gribble, 1998; Halm and Hiatt, 1987; Ingram, 2003; Schindlbeck, 1969; Stark and Lattuca, 1997). The comparison shows that we omitted some important steps in establishing the college. Based on the previous sources, the results of the study, and Thornton's (1966) procedure, I developed a recommended process describing the responsibilities of four successive groups: the founders, the Board, the president, and the college. I concluded with some implications for future study.
    • Protective Factors Promoting Psychosocial Resilience In Biracial Youths

      Kawakami-Schwarber, Gail K.; Morotti, Alan (2010)
      Resilience in adolescents is the achievement of positive outcomes and the attainment of developmental tasks in the face of significant risk. This study identified protective factors promoting resilience in the development of positive self-identity in biracial youths. The rapidly rising biracial youth population is a vulnerable group facing potentially higher risks for mental health and behavioral issues compared to their monoracial counterparts. Identity development, a central psychosocial task of adolescence, is a complex task for biracial youths since they must integrate two ethnic identities. For biracial youths, mastery of the psychosocial identity developmental task can be daunting as they face stressors such as racial stigmas and negative stereotypes, which may lead to identity problems manifesting during adolescence. Sixteen biracial individuals ranging from age 18 to 29 years participated in this qualitative research project. Comparisons were made to identify patterns and themes for factors affecting self-esteem and ethnic identity level among the participants. Brought to light were culturally-based protective factors stemming from individual, family, and social domains promoting psychosocial resilience in fostering healthy biracial identity resolution. Risk factors unique for the biracial population were also identified. The findings underscore the importance in understanding how the environment shapes and influences the ways biracial youth negotiate their dual identity. The research results can be integrated into appropriate prevention and intervention techniques for application by professionals and families to further healthy identity resolution in biracial youths.
    • Schools in rural Alaska with higher rates of student achievement: a search for positive deviance in education

      Hill, Melissa M.; Jacobsen, Gary; Adams, Barbara; Richey, Jean; Barnhardt, Ray (2017-05)
      This study sought to identify schools in rural Alaska with higher rates of student achievement and study what factors contribute to that success. Alaska Native students make up a large majority of the students attending school in small remote villages across the state. Data, however, have shown that Alaska Native students constantly perform lower than any other demographic group on every subject level and lower at every grade level when tested using state assessments. This study begins with a journey to understand the complexity of the problems that affect schooling in rural Alaska, ranging from teacher turnover to school district size and oversight. However, it is important to examine this current challenge by examining the history of education and how that history has affected Alaska Native people today. To identify schools in rural Alaska with higher rates of student achievement, a binary variable was used to determine positive deviance. Data analysis drew on academic achievement of each school as measured by the 5-year average score of the school in three subjects: Reading, Mathematics and Writing. While the results did not yield a case study for positive deviance, the findings and conclusion, using a critical race theory lens question whether schools today, intentionally or unintentionally, are still modeled after the same framework and operate in the same fashion as they did when they were intended to assimilate Alaska Natives to become better citizens. Using an advocacy worldview, this study draws upon the unchallenged truth that schools in rural Alaska may never perform as a collective as well as or better than their urban counterparts under this model.
    • Seating patterns and their influence on classroom interaction and participation

      Scouten, Michele Marie; Hogan, Maureen P.; Titus, Jordan J.; Rickey, Melissa (2007-08)
      Research was conducted to find a link between student seating patterns and levels of classroom interaction and participation. Two classrooms were observed in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District over ten days of the spring semester of 2007. Observations were conducted in two English classes at Lathrop High School. A total of 53 students and two teachers took part in the study. The primary research question centered on the relationship between seating location and classroom interaction and/or participation. Further questions dealt with student grouping according to race, gender, academic ability and age as well as other factors that may influence student interaction and participation. The teacher's role in encouraging interaction and participation through changing the seating arrangement was also analyzed. Results indicate that while seating location played a role in classroom interaction and participation, it may be more important to look at who a student is sitting next to as a predictor of the level of interaction and participation. Grouping patterns exist to some extent for gender, race, academic ability and age. Other factors that can influence student behavior included the absence or tardiness of students. Teachers were also shown to play a role in influencing behavior.
    • 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.
    • Socioeconomic factors that lead to Latino male students leaving school before graduating

      D'Agostino, Joseph C.; Wong, Nga-Wing Anjela; Barnhardt, Raymond; Armstrong, Anne Brenner (2012-05)
      Students of color make up a predominant number of learners that leave high school before graduating (National Center for Education Research, 2009). I selected to study Latino males to narrow the scope of my research. The literature I reviewed pointed directly at socioeconomics as one of the primary factors. I feel there are more specific factors involved for many of the individuals impacted. I used a qualitative approach and utilized an anonymous survey and individual interviews to pinpoint some of these factors. The findings from my research further supported that socioeconomics were a leading factor. My data and literature review showed that school environment and stereotyping/discrimination also played a role. I intend to conduct further research to identify the additional sub-factors that are most prevalent to Latino males. My long-term goal is to provide information to my peers that can assist in the construction or reconstruction of programs that can offer the best support for these students.
    • Strengths-based analysis of student success in online courses

      Gering, Carol; Sheppard, Dani'; Morotti, Allan; Adams, Barbara; Renes, Susan (2017-08)
      The purpose of this research was to increase understanding of post-secondary student success in online courses by evaluating a contextually rich combination of personal, circumstantial, and course variables. A strengths-based perspective framed the investigation. Mixed-method data were collected and analyzed sequentially in three phases: two phases of quantitative collection and analysis were followed by qualitative interviews and comprehensive analysis. The study first used logistic regression to analyze existing data on more than 27,000 student enrollments, spanning a time period of four academic years. The second phase of research enhanced the modeling focused on a subset of the total population; students from a single semester were invited to complete an assessment of non-cognitive attributes and personal perceptions. Between the two phases, 28 discreet variables were analyzed. Results suggest that different combinations of variables may be effective in predicting success among students with varying levels of educational experience. This research produced preliminary predictive models for student success at each level of class standing. The study concluded with qualitative interviews designed to explain quantitative results more fully. Aligned with a strengths-based perspective, 12 successful students were asked to elaborate on factors impacting their success. Themes that emerged from the interviews were congruent with quantitative findings, providing practical examples of student and instructor actions that contribute to online student success.
    • A study of Arkansas' implementation of an elementary art program

      Harris, Angela; Reyes, Maria; Hornig, Joan; Hogan, Maureen (2007-05)
      The purpose of this case study was to describe how Arkansas was able to mandate and implement their elementary art education program, as well as the possibility of using Arkansas' program as a model for implementing art education at the elementary level in schools in other states. Based on what I discovered through interviews and publicly available documents, Arkansas' program was mandated and designed in such a manner that other states could modify the process used to create an elementary art program to fit their own individual needs. The findings from this study of the elementary art program in Arkansas could have an impact on art education nationwide. The possibility that other states could follow this lead would be a positive step towards improving art education for all students.
    • A study of increased instructional time and the relationship with the mathematical achievement of intermediate elementary students

      Lower, Elizabeth Anne (2005-08)
      The purpose of this study was to determine whether two different approaches to increased instructional time led to a statistically significant increase in math achievement of fifth grade students. The null hypothesis stated that there would not be a statistically significant difference at the .05 level of significance between the math scores of the fifth grade students at schools A and B, as measured by standardized test scores. Data consisted of standardized test scores of annual statewide assessments. The test results were collected and analyzed using SPSS software. The null hypothesis could not be rejected. The results indicated that the largest gains were made by the lowest achieving students. Additionally, in both schools, the students who had scored in the highest quartile on the pre-test were not able to maintain their quartile ranking, and slipped into lower quartile rankings after the different time treatments were applied.
    • A study of the influence of media-based books on independent reading choices

      Fisk, Heidi Marie; Burmeister, Richard; Caldwell, Patricia; Kardash, Diane (2011-05)
      The purpose of the study was to discover if children's media programming influences the independent reading choices of students. With this purpose in mind, my research was designed to answer the following question: Did children's viewing exposure to the characters, setting, and story format in media-based books provide them with the essential scaffolding necessary to motivate them to read more independently? This project involved approximately 13 fourth grade students, male and female. All of the students have been asked to choose a book to read, fill out a summary sheet for the book, and participate in a reading conference. The researcher has observed the students during the independent reading times, recorded oral retells of the books and conducted interviews with the participants. The results of the study confirmed that students are indeed motivated to read media-based books more independently. It is recommended by the results of this research to offer media-based books for students' independent reading book selection.
    • "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.
    • The Influence Of Positive Mother-Child Verbal Interactions On Adolescent Mothers' Literacy

      Baron, Heather-Lee M.; Rickey, Melissa; Melvin, Mary Jo; Reyes, Maria Elena; Rickard, Anthony (2010)
      The purpose of this six-month qualitative microethnographic case study was to determine what influence a family literacy program based on positive mother-child verbal interactions would have on the participating adolescent mothers' literacy skills. The design of the program was founded on the Hart and Risley study (1995) and their findings regarding the five categories of significant family experiences that enhance children's vocabulary: language diversity, feedback tone, symbolic emphasis, guidance style, and responsiveness. These experiences stress the importance of affirmative interactions between children and their parents. The three adolescent mothers who participated in the study were single, white, of low socioeconomic status, and enrolled as high school seniors in the same school district in rural northwestern Pennsylvania. One participant was 11 weeks pregnant with a boy, one participant was parenting an 11-month old girl, and one participant was 18 weeks pregnant with a boy and parenting a one-year-old boy. The study found that the girls who participated in this program showed a growth of one grade level in their expository text reading levels. The results also suggest a relationship between the participants' attitude and motivation scores and their participation level in the study. Finally, the researcher believes that external/environmental factors may also have influenced the participants' participation level and the overall results.
    • 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.