Expect the Best ASD's 2017 Report to the Community

Message from the Anchorage School Board

The Anchorage School Board provides key work for the District, including setting the vision, forming policies, and sustaining accountability with the Superintendent and Administration. Anchorage is a unified yet diverse city, home to almost 300,000 residents. With multiple schools of great diversity, Anchorage School District now has more than 53 percent of its student population who are from minority ethnicities.

How students and adults in ASD interact with one another, building strong relationships, is at the heart of the hope of success for students. Students need and want to know that teachers, principals, and other support staff care about them—care about their learning, yes, but also care about them on a personal level.

ASD is committed to the success of students—public education is a cornerstone of Alaska’s future. Bringing new initiatives, new academic programs, and a renewed focus on student achievement, Destination 2020 sets a compass of learning. The goals in performance, graduation, attendance, recommendation, safety, and efficiency mean that ASD aims at increasing student success, ensuring a safe environment for students and staff, and working together with the Municipality of Anchorage and all community stakeholders.

Tam Agosti-Gisler, Anchorage School Board President

Message from the Superintendent

The work of public education is exciting and noble, yet at times may be complex and bumpy. If asked, “What’s the purpose of public education,” we would be hard-pressed to find consensus among any group, large or small. Providing a solid academic experience that provides true, real-world learning every student in every school on every day is a big target and one that ASD takes seriously. Our mission, Educating All Students for Success in Life, is that big target before us in each decision made, each program launched, and each initiative implemented. The task of helping students plan, work toward, and achieve personal success is at the heart of ASD’s mission. Success in school and life for our students is our target.

ASD employees in all roles perform integral functions and meet the challenges of modern education with great dedication and personal responsibility. Facing uncertain fiscal realities with flexibility makes ASD nimble and able to shift resources to meet the needs of students and schools.

ASD is a high-performing District operating under these three ideals:

  • High quality education
  • Positive customer experiences
  • Transparent accountability

A life-long educator, I know the stakes are high in public education. I love the challenge and take the adventure of learning to heart. ASD offers our students and families the best education in Alaska. Let’s keep our bar high—taking small actions each day that bring big results to the lives of our students.

Dr. Deena Bishop, Anchorage School District Superintendent


Closing the achievement gap by implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to improve learning through:

  • Increasing achievement for advanced students who are at benchmark or above in reading and math
  • Accelerating learning for students in areas of greatest need

Shining a light using the data dashboard to make data-informed instructional decisions:

  • Adopting a new English Language Arts curriculum for elementary schools for the first time in more than a decade
  • Providing instructional coaches who bring evidence-based teaching practices into the classroom by working with teachers

National Blue Ribbon School

Northern Lights ABC School named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. One of 342 schools throughout the nation and the only school in Alaska this year to be recognized, Northern Lights ABC was singled out as an exemplary high-performing school.

Graduate Finds Success Thanks to High School CTE Program

Bartlett High School class of 2016 graduate Alexis Syren credits her high school Career and Technical Education classes at Bartlett’s Medical Academy and the King Career Center’s Certified Nurse Aid program with helping her jumpstart her career and post-secondary education. Syren always knew she wanted to work in the medical field, but says her medical and science courses in high school are really paying off now. She is employed by Providence as a certified nursing assistant and is taking a full course load at the University of Alaska Anchorage toward a nursing degree. Some of the techniques her fellow college classmates are learning-she learned in high school. Syren plans to live, work, and play in Anchorage after she graduates college. She offers words of wisdom to current high school students, “Don’t be afraid to take a class that scares you, because you never know where it might lead you.”

Closing the Achievement Gap

Graduation rate increases over five-year period among underserved populations.

ASD's Four-Year Graduation Rate

ASD’s graduation rate has increased more than 16 percent in 10 years!

One of the most important things a student can do to achieve academic success is to attend school every day. There is a direct relationship between students who attend school regularly and higher proficiency levels. We are focusing on strengthening our climate and culture so that students want to attend and miss it when they are gone.

The Anchorage community recognizes the importance of attendance and is stepping up to help us reach our attendance goals.

Partnering with schools – United Way of Anchorage has formed Community PLUS Schools, a collaboration which provides tailored out-of-class supports to students.

Recognition for consistent attendance – A few days here and there might not sound like a lot, but students can fall behind even if they miss just a couple of days. BP is giving $100 gift cards to high school students who maintain perfect attendance during designated 10-day periods.

Partnering with parents, we are focusing on positive customer experiences and sustained quality. It’s our goal that 90 percent of parents will recommend their child’s school to others.

“Lake Otis Elementary School is a wonderful neighborhood school that supports families as we navigate the journey in raising our children together as a community. At Lake Otis, there are resources and opportunities available for all children at different academic levels to advance and remediate. A strong social-emotional learning curriculum is implemented throughout the school so that students feel welcomed and know that the staff cares about them. My children look forward to going to school. They also participate in fun before- and after-school activities. As I walk through the building, there is a calm and positive atmosphere modeled by the teachers and staff. We are glad to be at Lake Otis!” Alison Kwan, parent

Student and staff safety is our top priority. We are continuing the ALICE safety program to better prepare staff and students for a violent intruder situation.

Alert – Sound an alarm using plain and specific language

Lockdown – Move to a secure location and barricade the room

Inform – Share the intruder’s location and direction as often as possible using any means

Counter – A last resort to distract the intruder with noise and movement

Evacuate – This is always the best first choice, if it is safe to do so

Each school performs 16 required regular and routine drills throughout a school year

  • Fire/Evacuation
  • Earthquake
  • Violent Intruder/Active Shooter
  • Stay Put

Operating with maximum efficiency at all levels is our way of providing transparent accountability to our community.

  • Opening Vera Whole Health Clinic, an employer-sponsored clinic to provide employees with high-quality medical care while limiting employee and District costs
  • Increasing shared services with the Municipality of Anchorage for workers’ compensation claim adjustments, facility maintenance, and heavy equipment maintenance
  • Replacing instructional technology to modernize classrooms
  • Improvements in business processes for finance, payroll, and purchasing focusing on high value

Thank You, Voters

Gladys Wood and Turnagain elementary schools recently received renewals, paid for through 2014 and 2015 bonds. Bond construction continues at West High School and Romig Middle School affording structural upgrades to repair earthquake damage, five additional classrooms, and improved flexibility in common areas. At Bartlett High School, there is a new centralized cafeteria and kitchen.

Roof replacements and heating/ventilation improvements funded through the April 2017 bond:

  • Decreases maintenance calls for leaks
  • Improves safety for maintenance workers
  • Increases air quality
  • Reduces energy consumption
  • Enhances the service life of buildings

Photo credit: Ken Graham Photography.com

The Anchorage School District…

* “Anchorage public schools lead nation in diversity,” Alaska Dispatch News, 23 May 2015.


languages spoken at home. The top languages, other than English are: Spanish, Hmong, Filipino, Samoan, and Korean.


Alaska Middle College School

for juniors and seniors for dual-enrollment

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5530 E. Northern Lights Blvd. | Anchorage, AK 99504-3135 | (907) 742-4000

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