We are Building an Education Network

by: Missy Fraze, Past-President

Let’s all celebrate together!! February is CTE Month and we have so much to celebrate in our state!

2020 proved to be quite the year for educators across Alaska. Who would have thought we would spend nearly a year teaching and learning from home? As we usher in a new year, we know that 2021 will not mean a return to ‘normal’. And that may not be a bad thing! We’ve explored a lot of new learning technologies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our education partners across the state have stepped in to help continue providing educational opportunities in Career & Technical Education. Alaska EXCEL quickly adapted to the challenges of travel restrictions and rural internet challenges to develop packets for use offline. Alaska Resource Education jumped in to offer STEM camps and classes in Alaska’s natural resources that included hands-on kits that were mailed directly to schools and families. Another big opportunity available to ALL students across Alaska is the JA Inspire Career Fair. This online career event is designed to provide students the opportunity to find employment and learn about career opportunities in their region. More information is on page 4!

As we continue to move through this pandemic, I challenge you to build your education network. Find your teaching peers across Alaska who teach in the same content area and share best practices. Identify your secondary and post-secondary partners to build strong bridges for students as they transition out of high school. Find employers in your region and learn what skills they need in their workforce so you can help students find careers. Together, we can build a strong Alaska workforce and come back from this pandemic stronger than before.

Alaska ACTE is committed to helping our members because we believe we are the network that aligns education and industry to build a strong Alaska workforce!


By: Ronnie Hawley, Northern Region Rep

North Slope Borough School District Illisagvik College

Partnerships Make a Strong CTE Program

North Slope Borough School District continues to leverage its network to expand access to CTE programming. Working with their long-standing partner, Illisagvik College, they have offered First Aid/CPR, Introduction to Construction Trades and Electrical Maintenance Level 1 to students in NSBSD.

In addition, NSBSD works with ANSEP and Alaska EXCEL programs to provide STEM and CTE programming to students. Alaska EXCEL and ASRC Energy came together to host an informational session for high school students interested in the Nutaaq program.

This year many students are enrolled in the Smart Girls Rock STEM program that is facilitated by Alaska Resource Education.

Career Planning Remains Key

Updates to the AKCSI student courses and planning infrastructure has improved PLCP documents that are more accurate and informative for students and families. Dr. Julie Williams taught a Career Planning and Exploration course from September to December, In addition, Paxton-Patterson career exploration modules will begin on a site specific basis following staff training this year.

CTE in the schools is strong

In addition to partnership programs, NSBSD is still investing in CTE programs in the schools. Barrow High School teacher, Mr. Ruotsalainen, teaches a metals course and a CAD course. Mr. Hawley instructed students in the NCCER Core and will begin exploration in welding, carpentry, and small engines during 2nd semester.

Project Lead the Way training will begin this semester and students as early as elementary school will have access to STEM classes in Biomedical, Computer Science and Engineering.

Not to be upstaged by construction, Mr. Samuelu and Mr. Calderwood have created an “Arts Action Committee” to create materials for districtwide virtual winter productions. They are also involved with an innovative project creating podcasts with students. Their ‘Shed the Music’ to learn more about building character strengths.


By: Tyler Gilligan, Southcentral Region Rep

Alaska ACTE’s Southcentral Region comprises schools, colleges, and training programs in Anchorage, Mat-Su, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak. Below are highlights from a two programs.

Prince William Sound College (UAA)


C received an NSF grant titled “Alaska Tech Learners”, which pays for teachers and students to complete college courses in web engineering and mobile applications development. The Tech Learner courses qualify participants to earn an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Web Engineering and in the future will include OEC courses in Digital Communications/Social Media, Mobile Applications, and Networking. The Tech Learners project has been working with school districts to use a “shared teaching model” where students receive support and instruction from their local teacher while earning college credit by submitting their work to PWSC faculty. All course work for teachers and students is paid for by the NSF grant.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

The KPBSD school district encompasses three geographic regions: Central, Southern and Eastern Kenai Peninsula. Last fall, in each of these regions, COVID cases increased and reached the RED high-risk operating- level. Students and staff immediately had to shift from face-to-face learning to the remote learning model. In response, a CTE proposal was submitted to the district for specific schools and programs within the district to continue in-person training. The target programs identified involve extensive hands-on training that includes welding, construction, and automotive. These courses provide students with a hands-on curriculum that includes a wide range of activities intended to provide skills to meet the labor market. Each of the participating schools had to adhere to a detailed mitigation plan and safety guidelines, symptom-free protocols screening, and PPE mandates for each session. To limit the number of students and potential contact tracing, a schedule allowed students to stay in the same cohort group for each session.

For the welding, construction, and automotive programs, each CTE program utilizes the Canvas’s learning management system. The blended-learning delivery platform provides support through the Miller Education and Training Welding program, NEPRIS, OSHA, and Snap-On student excellence program.
As KPBSD slowly rolls back the restrictions based on the COVID risk levels, the CTE programs will continue to adapt and provide quality career and technical education opportunities for all students. KPBSD would like to wish everyone a safe, happy, and healthy New Year.


There is a lot happening across Alaska. Here is a breakdown of things to look for!

  • Professional Development Opportunities
    Building & Strengthening CTE Teacher/Counselor Foundation and Knowledge of CTE Pedagogy course is now available through Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Three UAF 500 Level credits. Course fee = FREE!! Contact Joni Simpson joni.simpson@k12northstar.org for more info.
    Flexible Learning & Education eXperiences (FLEX) program is available to teachers statewide. This program will provide teachers with choice in learning through personalized training, externship or technical training. Contact Missy Fraze, fraze_missy@asdk12.org, for more information. Three UAA 500 Level credits. Course fee = FREE!!
    AK CTE Learn – flexible online courses designed for CTE teacher, administrators and counselors. Membership discounts!! Click here to learn more.

Networking & Professional Development Events

  • AlaskaCAN Conference centers on two attainment factors: Credentials of Value and Building K- 16 Educational Pathways. The event is Feb 24 – 26. Visit the event page for more info: https://sites.google.com/serrc.org/alaskacan-conference/home
  • 2021 DEED Perkins Spring Workshop Feb 9 – 12. This event will be virtual. Get it on your calendar now and register to participate. If you have questions, please reach out to any member of the DEED/CTE team.