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Recent Submissions

  • How much does Alaska spend on K-12 education? Research Summary

    DeFeo, Dayna Jean; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2019-09-30)
    Education funding in Alaska, as in most states, is one of the largest allocations in the state operating budget. In 2017, Alaska’s K-12 per-pupil spending was $17,838, which is 46% higher than the national average. However, a lot of things in Alaska are expensive relative to national averages: healthcare, food, and energy, to name just a few. In this paper we adjusted Alaska’s data from the US Census Bureau 2017 Annual Survey of School System Finances to state and national cost indices, and find that Alaska’s per-pupil expenditures are on par with national averages. As many drivers of Alaska’s education costs extend beyond education policy, we caution against cuts that leave districts with few choices but to diminish the teacher workforce by eliminating positions or hiring lower quality teachers with less competitive salaries.
  • The Economic Potential of Alaska’s Mining Industry

    Loeffler, Bob; Watson, Brett (2022-03-08)
  • Negotiated Success: Contractual Benefits that Enhance Recruitment and Retention

    Amor, Hella Bel Hadj; Corey, Staci; Jean DeFeo, Dana (Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, 2023-05)
    This report summarizes monetary and non-monetary items used in Collectively Bargained Agreements (CBAs) to enhance retention and recruitment of educators in and outside of Alaska. This report is one of a series commissioned by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to support a stakeholder-informed action plan to address the state’s recurring critical challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers. To approach this task, we narrowed our focus to a review of provisions contained within CBAs in Alaska and a sample of districts in the nation, reviewed relevant literature, and collected stakeholder feedback to further inform the report content and organization. We restrict our analysis to the information contained in CBAs, which are negotiated at the district level, with the noted limitation that CBAs are not exhaustive of all educator benefits (e.g., retirement is an important benefit that is managed at the statewide level). The report details benefits in five broad categories and 15 subcategories, which are bookmarked in this abstract for easy access: coming and staying (signing bonus, longevity/retention bonus); benefits – health and wellbeing (healthcare, sick leave, other leave); benefits – moving and living (travel and relocation, housing and utilities, childcare); knowledge and growth (transferable experience, education and certification, professional development); and work life (contract length and workday, extra duties, hard-to-staff areas, performance pay). Overall, we find that benefits and compensation vary significantly across districts in Alaska, and even more substantially across districts in the national sample, reflecting the diversity in the sample in terms of state, region, size, and location.
  • Are Alaska teacher salaries competitive?

    Berman, Matthew; DeFeo, Dayna Jean (Institute of Social and Economic Research, 2024-02)
    This paper explores how Alaska teacher salaries compare to the national average, between 1969 and 2021, adjusted for cost of living differences. It examines trends in salaries of Alaska and US teachers adjusted for inflation, and how the salary differentials have changed over time. The analysis reveals that Alaska teacher salaries have been lower than competitive levels for the past several decades, although the emerging national teacher shortage has increased the challenge that less competitive salaries pose for recruiting and retaining Alaska teachers. The paper discusses the implications of this trend, with attention to hiring and retaining teachers in Alaska schools.
  • Formerly used defense sites on Unalaska Island, Alaska: Mapping a legacy of environmental pollution

    Jordan‐Ward, Renee; Hippel, Frank A; Schmidt, Jennifer (John Wiley and Sons, 2024-02-14)
    Unalaska Island, Alaska, served as a US military base during World War II. The military installed bases on Unalaska and nearby islands, many of which were built adjacent to Unangan communities. The military used toxic compounds in its operations and left a legacy of pollution that may pose health risks to residents and local wildlife. The goals of this study were to identify hotspots of contamination remaining at Unalaska formerly used defense (FUD) sites, evaluate the risk posed by arsenic, and examine “no US Department of Defense action indicated” (NDAI) status determinations for FUD sites near communities. We compiled soil chemistry data from remediation reports prepared by the US Army Corps of Engineers at 18 FUD sites on and near Unalaska. Nine had past and/or active remediation projects and on-site sampling data. Eight sites did not have sampling data and were characterized as NDAI. One site was listed as closed. For the nine sites with sampling data, we compiled data for 22 contaminants of concern (COC) and compared concentrations to soil cleanup levels for human health (18 AAC 75.341). We mapped contaminant concentrations exceeding these levels to identify hotspots of contamination. We found that concentrations of some of the 22 COC exceeded Alaska cleanup levels despite remediation efforts, including diesel range organics, arsenic, and lead. The highest COC concentrations were at the FUD site adjacent to the City of Unalaska. A quantitative risk assessment for arsenic found that the risk of exposure through drinking water is low. We highlight concerns with NDAI designations and current remedial practices at remote FUD sites located adjacent to communities. Our data suggest the need for further remediation and monitoring efforts on Unalaska for certain contaminants and research to examine potential threats to human and animal health associated with these sites.
  • Engagement with mHealth Alcohol Interventions: User Perspectives on an App or Chatbot-Delivered Program to Reduce Drinking

    Sedotto, Robyn N. M; Edwards, Alexandra E.; Dulin, Partick L.; King, Diane K. (MDPI, 2024-01-02)
    Research suggests participant engagement is a key mediator of mHealth alcohol interventions’ effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption among users. Understanding the features that promote engagement is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of mHealth-delivered alcohol interventions. The purpose of this study was to identify facilitators and barriers to mHealth alcohol intervention utilization among hazardous-drinking participants who were randomized to use either an app (Step Away) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot-based intervention for reducing drinking (the Step Away chatbot). We conducted semi-structured interviews from December 2019 to January 2020 with 20 participants who used the app or chatbot for three months, identifying common facilitators and barriers to use. Participants of both interventions reported that tracking their drinking, receiving feedback about their drinking, feeling held accountable, notifications about high-risk drinking times, and reminders to track their drinking promoted continued engagement. Positivity, personalization, gaining insight into their drinking, and daily tips were stronger facilitator themes among bot users, indicating these may be strengths of the AI chatbot-based intervention when compared to a user-directed app. While tracking drinking was a theme among both groups, it was more salient among app users, potentially due to the option to quickly track drinks in the app that was not present with the conversational chatbot. Notification glitches, technology glitches, and difficulty with tracking drinking data were usage barriers for both groups. Lengthy setup processes were a stronger barrier for app users. Repetitiveness of the bot conversation, receipt of non-tailored daily tips, and inability to self-navigate to desired content were reported as barriers by bot users. To maximize engagement with AI interventions, future developers should include tracking to reinforce behavior change self-monitoring and be mindful of repetitive conversations, lengthy setup, and pathways that limit self-directed navigation.
  • Behavioral Health Research and Services FAS Evaluation #38

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2007-02-07)
  • Behavioral Health Research and Services FAS Evaluation #37

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2006-08-31)
  • Alaska Multidisciplinary FASD Teams Chart Review Data

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2005-11-30)
  • Behavioral Health Research and Services FAS Evaluation #32

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2005-06-30)
  • Matrix Analysis Update of the FASD Teams in the State of Alaska

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2005-06-30)
  • Behavioral Health Research and Services FAS Evaluation #28

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2005-02)
  • Behavioral Health Research and Services FAS Evaluation #27

    Edwards, Alexandra (Behavioral Health Research and Services, 2004-09)
  • Fiscal Year 2003 Quarter Two and Three Summary Report of the Alaska Multidisciplinary FASD Diagnostic Team Data

    Edwards, Alexandra (Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services, 2003-08)
  • Matrix Analysis of Satisfaction Measures Used by the FASD Diagnostic Teams in the State of Alaska

    Edwards, Alexandra (Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services, 2003-08-25)
  • Matrix Analysis of Assessment Tools Used by the FASD Diagnostic Teams in the State of Alaska

    Edwards, Alexandra (Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services, 2003-08-25)
  • Matrix Analysis of the Charting Methods Used by the FASD Diagnostic Teams in the State of Alaska

    Edwards, Alexandra (Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services, 2003-08-25)
  • Fiscal Year 2003 Quarter One Summary Report of the Alaska Multidisciplinary FAS Diagnostic Team Data

    Edwards, Alexandra (Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services, 2003-02)
  • Summary Report of the Alaska Multidisciplinary FAS Diagnostic Team Data

    Edwards, Alexandra (ACSES, 2002-09)
    This report presents a thorough analysis of the diagnostic data reported by the Alaska Multidisciplinary FAS Diagnostic Teams. Included is a summary of the teams’ data from 1999 through June 2002. The primary purpose of this report is to provide feedback to teams regarding their productivity and outcomes, with an emphasis placed on providing information that will be useful to individual teams, the State Office of FAS, and ultimately the citizens of Alaska. As of the writing of this report, six fully functional diagnostic teams are conducting FASD diagnoses in the state of Alaska, six additional teams are in developmental stages, and two teams have been disbanded. Using the DHSS Office of FAS Diagnostic Team Data Collection Reports, eight of these 14 diagnostic teams submitted 314 completed datasheets. Of these 314 datasheets, two did not include a 4-digit diagnosis and nine were duplicates, leaving a total of 303 usable datasheets. The teams that submitted datasheets and their corresponding number of assessments are as follows: Barrow (one), Bethel (80; one without diagnosis), Bristol Bay (4), Copper Center (18), Fairbanks (11), Kenai/Soldotna (86), Providence Alaska Medical Center (13), and Southcentral Foundation (92; one without diagnosis). Of the 303 individuals for whom diagnoses were submitted, 32 (10.6%) were diagnosed with FAS or atypical FAS.

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