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Festival of Ideas 2012

Implementing a New Digital Literacy Initiative District-Wide
Jason Fastenau, Director of Technology and Tracie Weisz, Teacher - AGSD

This is a newly created technology class first taught during the 2010-2011 school year with 6th-8th grade students at Tok School locally, and Tanacross School via videoconferencing. All students in the middle school were provided an iPad II, which they are able to take home with them as part of a one-to-one mobile computer-learning environment. This is part of an initiative to move toward utilizing technological solutions, such as digital textbooks to replace traditional paper resources, and creating a more engaging learning environment. Currently, for the first time, the math curriculum in middle school is taught via a digital textbook.  More >>

Leading a School of Readers
Josh Gill, Site Administrator – LKSD

This emerging best practice was designed to address two specific issues: 1) Bring greater coherence to a reading program that was disjointed, fragmented, and piece-meal and 2) Utilize the RTI model to really focus instructional efforts on struggling students. The actions and strategies activated to successfully implement this emerging best practice are also detailed in an article – Leading a School of Readers – that was written by Rhonda Barton and published in Education Northwest Magazine in Fall/Winter 2011. Good schools are fueled by high performing teams of individuals working together using the research-base to inform their actions and strategies.  More >>

Using and Supporting Online Lesson Planning Tools
Scott McManus, Assistant Superintendent – AGSD

This year AGSD migrated away from using an electronic lesson plan template to using an online program called ClassBright, which is a curriculum and resource management program that incorporates a lesson planning system. Within the system, teachers develop their lesson plans based on local curricular objective and Alaska GLE’s. As they develop their plans, relevant material resources that the district has available can be searched and entered into the plan with a click, at the same time as a message to the Resource Center Manager is sent requesting when those materials are needed. A lesson plan data bank is also created for others to use, when teaching the same curricular objective or GLE. More >>

Creating a Framework to Sharpen Our Focus
Gary Baldwin, Superintendent; Dan Walker and Carlton Kuhns, Assistant Superintendents – LKSD

LKSD is continuing to build on work with the Principals’ PLC Initiative started in 2010 – 2011.  As a district we were trying to break-out beyond pockets of excellence to raise expectations and performance across the district.  We were also trying to respond to problems identified by our site administrators:  lack of clarity about direction and vision; fidelity of implementation efforts; and addressing initiative burn-out – we were trying to do too much.  Our intention was to collectively build a framework that would respond to these three problems as well as help us integrate these efforts using the local expertise we had built-up over the years.  We did this by promoting coherence around three specific areas:
SIOP – Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol; School Climate – Positive Behavior Supports – Every child can learn; and
; and a complete look at our academic program with a focus on RTI.  More >>

Creating Alaskan-based Cases to Strengthen the Curriculum for Aspiring Principals
Susan Garton, UAA; Rick Rau, SWRSD; and Robin Jones, SWRSD

Alaskan-based case studies provide relevant curriculum for the RAPPS aspiring principals. Since there are few published case studies from Alaska, the graduate students in the RAPPS program have been writing cases which reflect unique challenges of RAPPS districts. Two RAPPS aspiring principals will be on hand to share an original case about the Alaska Performance Scholarship.

Implementing Literacy Blocks at Tok School
Dawn Buffum, District-Wide Instructional Coach - AGSD

This emerging promising practice highlights the incorporation of literacy blocks at Tok School into the language arts and reading programs over a multi-year plan. Students in grades 1st-5th are flexibility grouped, within grade level, according to reading proficiency and provided instruction through a 4 block format on a daily basis. The literacy blocks include guided reading, self-selected reading, working with words and writing. Students in need of RTI are also pulled from non-core academic programs at scheduled times throughout the week. Since implementing this model, SBA Language Arts proficiency levels at Tok School have risen from 66% to 73%.  More >>