Alaska: Working in Education in Alaska

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Alaska
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In Alaska, each of the state's 53 school districts hires its own staff. The majority of jobs for new educators in Alaska are in the bush. Working as a teacher or administrator in the vast majority of Alaska that is not connected to the road system – the area called the bush – carries unique opportunities and challenges. Many teachers and principals have made very rewarding careers working in the bush. Educators in most rural and many urban Alaskan schools with low-income populations, like much of the bush, are eligible for various loan forgiveness incentives.

In 2005-2006, the current per-pupil expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in Alaska was $11,476, compared to $9,154 for the United States as a whole, according to the Digest of Educational Statistics.

Educational Managers

An Administrative Certificate requires the following:

  • At least three years of experience as a certified teacher;
  • Completion of an approved teacher education program in school administration;
  • Master's degree or higher from a regionally-accredited institution; and
  • A recommendation from that institution.

A principal or assistant principal must also have the Principal Endorsement on the Alaska Administrative Certificate. Administrative experience is either required or preferred, depending on the position and district.

The mean annual wage for elementary and secondary administrators in Alaska was $86,060 in May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Educational Technology in Alaska

Many schools in rural Alaska are using educational technology to apply "place-based education" ideas to the classroom. Educators and students create their own news and broadcasts, podcasts, and blogs. These not only teach students how to use technology, they also give candidates for teacher and administrator jobs a glimpse of working life in the bush.

Curriculum and Instruction in Alaska Schools

Forty-one percent of schools in Alaska did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as defined by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act; the vast majority of these schools are in rural areas. As a result many districts are focusing on increased accountability, and instructional materials paid for by certain state funds must now meet guidelines for suitable products. These mandated instructional packages have tightly scripted lessons and highly structured curriculum products.

Teacher's Aides

Alaska has statewide Paraprofessional Performance Standards with three levels: entry, intermediate, and advanced.

To encourage the development of more "home grown" teachers with a deep understanding of the cultural heritage of Alaska's Native students, the Department of Education encourages teacher's aides to transition to teaching positions. Instructional aides nominated by their school districts may be certified to teach if they have at least three years of successful employment as an instructional aide, have expertise in the local Alaska Native culture, and are enrolled in a bachelor's level teacher preparation program. This program affords schools better stability through local hiring, allows individuals opportunity to advance professionally, and supports Native culture.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for the 4,170 teacher assistants in Alaska in May 2008 was $33,370.

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