Expect the Best ASD's 2019 Report to the Community

Message from the Anchorage School Board

I’m very fond of the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In that respect, it takes an entire community to educate our children to be successful in their lives.

As the president of the Anchorage School Board, nothing is more important to me than ensuring all our children have access to the best possible education. That includes well-resourced, trusted, and trained educators, functional and safe facilities, and a clear direction for the Administration. With the closing of our Destination 2020 goals, it is critical that we set new, clearly defined objectives for the District to work towards.

This fall, we have partnered with our community—educators, parents, business and faith-based leaders, and civic stakeholders—to gain the most complete understanding of what Anchorage needs from its public schools.

Thank you to our community for your insight and responsiveness to our strategic process. Through surveys and community forums, we have collected valuable feedback and data to assist us in shaping new goals for the District. Now we must form a new path to meet our mission of Educating All Students for Success in Life.

I know I speak for the entire Anchorage School Board when I say that we are eager to get to work and excited for the opportunity to help guide the future of the Anchorage School District.


Starr Marsett, Anchorage School Board President

Message from the Superintendent

Education is inherently emotional. You have likely heard the saying, “If you have a child’s heart…you have a child’s mind.” In line with this approach, we train our educators to focus on the person behind the child. Such a focus allows educators to understand students’ academic and social challenges, and it also enables us to see their full potential.

This school of thought comes from a report titled From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope by The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. The Aspen Institute focuses on the many aspects of education required to deepen the success of our young people.

The research indicates that to be successful in life, children need to learn self-agency, critical thinking, social awareness, and people skills. These are the same employability skills organizations seek from new members of the work force. To reach these positive, pragmatic outcomes that benefit our kids as well as the community, our classrooms must mirror the research that works.

Specifically, ASD is committed to coupling high-quality, rigorous instruction with the cognitive, emotional (me skills), and social (we skills) needed to be productive, healthy, happy, contributing members of our community — not simply consumers in our world.

It is with pleasure that I serve the children and their families as well as our employees and the greater community as the Superintendent of Anchorage School District…the best job ever.


Dr. Deena Bishop, Anchorage School District Superintendent


National Blue Ribbon Schools

O’Malley and Aurora elementary schools were named 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education as exemplary high-performing schools. Aurora and O’Malley are among the 312 public schools throughout the nation to be recognized.

Preschool Programs

In ASD, we believe that early education matters. We actively apply for competitive grants to increase preschool opportunities for incoming students. In 2018-19, our preschool programs were awarded two Alaska State Grants and a Federal Entitlement Grant totaling more than $775,000, an increase of nearly $200,000 from 2017-18.

Yup’ik Immersion Program

College Gate Elementary School completed its first year of Yup’ik Immersion in 2018-19, with a total of 27 students. Our data shows that students who are enrolled in a language immersion program have a graduation rate of 94%.

Alaska Middle College School

The AMCS class of 2019 earned a total of 4,461 college credits at zero or little cost to families.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

ASD is committed to increasing CTE opportunities for students. Last year, East, Service, and Bartlett high schools introduced the CTE programs of biomedical, computer science, and a medical academy.

King Tech High School

  • During the 2018-19 school year, King Tech became a full-time high school for students pursuing career technical education and hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Eight KTHS graduates accepted apprenticeships through the Direct Entry Apprenticeship Program, and 105 students participated in CTE internships.
  • KTHS received accreditation by three regional accreditation agencies.
  • KTHS has the first approved high school Veterinary Assistant Program in Alaska.

The District Comparison

Percentage of students achieving Advanced and Proficient scores on 2019 PEAKS Assessments

ASD’s marked increase in the graduation rate for 2018-19 is a testament to our students’ hard work and dedication, our educators’ unrelenting pledge to their students, and the community’s staunch commitment to educating all of its children for success in life.

Graduate Spotlight

2016 Eagle River High School graduate Brandon Fast

Brandon Fast, a 2016 Eagle River High School (ERHS) graduate, is currently a senior at The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. With an acceptance rate of about 10%, West Point has one of the most competitive application processes in the country.Applicants must demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, and extracurricular activities.

After graduating from West Point in the spring of 2020 with a degree in economics, Brandon will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. He plans to join the Armor Branch and would like to be an M1 Abrams Tank Commander after completing the Armors Basic Officers Leader’s Course.

From the academic skills he acquired in Advanced Placement courses to his participation in the JROTC program, Brandon said that he felt well-prepared for West Point. “I would like to give a huge shout out to Luke Almon, my junior year English teacher,” Fast said, recalling a key to his success. “His writing program, and the ERHS writing program in general, really prepared me for collegiate level writing.”

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Recognizing the importance for students to celebrate their tribal identity or cultural heritage, ASD adopted a new policy to allow graduates to adorn their customary graduation cap and gown with traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of cultural significance.

ASD actively works with families to accomplish the 90% recommendation goal for every school. Having a positive and safe learning environment that allows for equitable student, parent, and educator interactions is one area that guides us toward achievement.

Clark Middle School eighth-grade student, Mariah, and her sister, Markerita Afuvai

“I never had any doubts about Clark Middle School. They helped Mariah expand her vision beyond just middle school and high school. They have helped her look toward the future and toward college. They’re preparing students beyond high school. They have great academics and amazing programs like the Clark MS Informers, which have helped Mariah become a better public speaker. The staff of teachers and the principal are amazing too. I love Clark and was really looking forward to Mariah attending Clark Middle School.” —Markerita Afuvai

We want each of our students to be an attendance H.E.R.O. – Here. Everyday. Ready. On-time! Studies show that a student’s attendance in school is a prominent indicator of post high school success. There is a direct correlation between students who attend school regularly and higher academic achievement while in school. When chronic absenteeism begins at a young age, it can lead to poor academic performance in the following years. With the help of our families and community, we can all be a part of the solution to increase school attendance.

A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn with their peers. Attending school every day has the added benefit of creating valuable peer relationships as well as positive relationships with adults. Students who regularly attend school develop necessary behavior, social, and emotional skills in conjunction with their academic learning.

Our goal at ASD is that 100% of students and staff feel safe in their school. To achieve this, it takes a focused partnership between ASD, parents, guardians, and our community.

For our part as educators, administrators, and staff at ASD, we pledge to take the lead.

  • We pledge to continue refining and improving security procedures districtwide.
  • We pledge to regularly conduct emergency action drills such as lock down, stay put, active intruder (A.L.I.C.E), and evacuation.
  • We pledge to proactively identify at-risk behaviors among our students and intervene with the appropriate procedures and resources.
  • We pledge to empower students of all ages to come forward if they see any unsafe or threatening actions or behaviors.
  • We pledge to continue talking with our students about the importance of making responsible choices, while illustrating how making the wrong choices can lead to serious and life-changing consequences.

We ask parents to talk with their children about safety and security within their school and to reiterate the importance of making responsible, deliberate decisions at school, at home, and in the community. Maintaining a safe and effective place to learn for each of our students must be a combined effort by everyone involved: educators, parents, and students.

During the 2018-19 school year, ASD identified and implemented efficiency strategies to minimize cost and redundancy:

  • Implemented ASD Green Schools, providing a low-cost, low-time platform that enables schools to achieve and meet sustainability goals while educating students on the importance of recycling, waste reduction, and sustainability.
  • Leveraged FEMA and State funds to rebuild and repair earthquake-damaged facilities throughout the District.
  • Initiated a Service Desk Ticketing System to improve response times to information technology needs across the District.
  • Re-introduced reusable food trays and dishes at 21 schools to minimize waste and
  • disposal cost.
  • Consolidated JBER schools and relocated PAIDEIA Correspondence School and the Crossroads Program to maximize the quality of educational opportunities while reducing annual costs.

The Anchorage School District…

Thank You Voters for supporting essential building repairs and upgrades across the District:

  • Multi-site roof improvements (Kincaid, Northern Lights ABC, Kasuun, and Muldoon elementary schools)
  • Multi-site roof replacement (Birchwood, Willow Crest, Rogers Park, Ptarmigan elementary schools, and King Tech High School.)
  • HVAC Upgrades (Rogers Park and Willow Crest elementary schools)

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