• Quality Teacher Evaluation in Alaska: Voices from the Field

      Laster, Martin (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-10-01)
      This brief focuses on the results of research regarding teacher evaluation policy and practice among a pilot group of Alaska Superintendents. The results of this report are intended to guide policy makers on creating and supporting policies which enable school leaders to effectively evaluate and support classroom teachers, helping to elicit the best from teachers on behalf of Alaska students. As Darling‐Hammond (1999) states, “Despite conventional wisdom that school inputs make little difference in student learning, a growing body of research suggests that schools can make a difference, and a substantial portion of that difference is attributable to teachers.” It is critical that we identify how to enable teachers to increase desired performance for every student.
    • Quality Teacher Evaluation in Alaska: Voices from the Field

      Laster, Martin (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 10/1/2013)
    • Retention and Turnover of Teachers in Alaska: Why it Matters

      Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2/21/2019)
    • Salary & Benefits Schedule and Teacher Tenure Study

      Hirshberg, Diane; Berman, Matthew; DeFeo, Dayna Jean; Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-11-13)
      House Bill 278, passed by the legislature in spring 2014, instructed the Department of Administration to “present to the legislature a written proposal for a salary and benefits schedule for school districts, including an evaluation of, and recommendations for, teacher tenure” (Sec. 52). In order to meet this mandate, the Alaska Department of Administration contracted with the UAA Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) to produce the following deliverables:  Develop geographic cost differentials for different school districts  Develop base salary and benefit schedules for teachers and principals  Describe superintendent duties, compensation, and responsibilities in Alaska districts  Prepare a list of different benefit options school districts offer their employees and their associated costs  Provide recommendations regarding teacher tenure policy  Describe similarities and differences between the certified and classified labor markets in Alaska Each section of this report responds to a specific task or responsibility from this list.
    • Salary & Benefits Schedule and Teacher Tenure Study

      Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; DeFeo, Dayna (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-11-01)
    • Thirty Years Later: The Long-Term Effect of Boarding Schools on Alaska Natives and Their Communities

      Sharp, Suzanne; Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2005-09-01)
      In 2004 and 2005 we gathered information on how boarding school and boarding home experiences affected individual Alaska Natives, their families, and communities. From the early 1900s to the 1970s Alaska Natives were taken from rural communities that lacked either primary or secondary schools and sent to boarding schools run by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), by private churches or, later, by Alaska’s state government. Some were also sent to boarding homes to attend school in urban places. We interviewed 61 Alaska Native adults who attended boarding schools or participated in the urban boarding home program from the late 1940s through the early 1980s, as well as one child of boarding-school graduates. Their experiences, some of which are shared in this report, reveal a glimpse of both the positive and negative effects of past boarding schools. Many of those we interviewed spoke with ambivalence about their boarding school experience, finding both good and bad elements. Some of the good experiences included going to schools that had high expectations of the students; educators and other school personnel who developed personal relationships with students; individualized support for students who were struggling; and discipline and structure that was supportive, not punitive. For many of those we interviewed, boarding school offered an opportunity to learn about the world beyond village boundaries and to develop lasting friendships. But these good experiences came at a cost. The cost for some was abuse; interviewees reported physical and sexual abuse at the Wrangell Institute. At that school, children were forbidden to speak their native languages and were even beaten for speaking them. The goal of many educators at the time of mandatory boarding schools was to assimilate people of different cultures and ethnicities into the dominant culture. This cost many students not only the loss of their language, but also their culture and identity. These practices had lasting effects on individual students, their families, and communities. Those we interviewed told of finding it difficult to return home and be accepted. They felt that by being sent to boarding school they had missed out on learning important traditional skills and had a harder time raising their own children. For communities, the loss of children to boarding schools created a tremendous void, one that interviewees said was filled by alcohol and a breakdown in society. Drugs, alcohol, and suicide are some of the effects interviewees spoke of as coming from boarding home experiences and the loss of cultural identity and family. In 1976, the State of Alaska agreed to build schools in rural communities having eight (later ten) or more school-age children. When these schools were built, it was no longer necessary to send Native children to boarding schools. However, there is now an ongoing policy debate over the cost and quality of these local schools and whether Native children might be better off attending schools outside their communities. We hope that policymakers consider Alaska Natives’ past experiences with boarding schools reported here and learn from them. A journal article based on this research can be found in the Journal of American Indian Education Vol. 47, No. 3 (2008), pp. 5-30 (26 pages)
    • What drives the cost of education in Alaska?

      DeFeo, Dayna (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2019-04-15)
    • Whitepaper reports to the Municipality of Anchorage - Education

      Cueva, Katie; DeFeo, Dayna (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-05-05)
    • Why Aren't They Teaching? A study of why some University of Alaska teacher education graduates aren't in classrooms

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; Shaw, Donna Gail (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-01-01)
      Alaska Statute 14.40.190(b), passed as Senate Bill 241 in 2008, requires the University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents to submit a report each regular session titled Alaska’s University for Alaska’s Schools that “describes the efforts of the university to attract, train, and retain qualified public school teachers.” In 2012 this report documented that approximately 50% of UA initial teacher preparation graduates did not teach in Alaska public schools after completing their programs. Unfortunately, the data available could not tell us the reasons why so many graduates were not employed as teachers. In response to legislators’ questions about this, the three UA Education deans (with support from the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research) made a commitment to conduct a 2012 research project to understand why graduates of UA initial teacher preparation programs did or did not teach in Alaska public schools after completing their programs. This project was conducted in response to that commitment.
    • Will they stay, or will they go? Teacher perceptions of working conditions in rural Alaska

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; Kasemodel, Craig (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-06-01)
      Teacher turnover in rural Alaska schools has been a significant problem for decades. Why do we care? National research indicates a strong correlation between high turnover and poor student outcomes (Ronfeldt, Loeb and Wyckoff, 2012), and we see this in Alaska. Out of the 25 rural districts with high teacher turnover rates, ten graduated fewer than 60% of their students between 2008 and 2012, and 5 graduated fewer than half their students.
    • Will they stay, or will they go? Teacher perceptions of working conditions in rural Alaska

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; Kasemodel, Craig (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/1/2014)