Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/18/2009 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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08:02:21 AM Start
08:02:49 AM Confirmation Hearing(s)|| Professional Teaching Practices Commission
08:34:58 AM State Board of Education
09:28:47 AM Discussion: the Galena City School District's Early Learning Center – Sidney C. Huntington School
09:48:55 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
State Board of Education, Professional
Teaching Practices Commission
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 18, 2009                                                                                         
                           8:02 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz, Vice Chair                                                                                 
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Robert L. "Bob" Buch                                                                                             
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                    
Cindy Lou Aillaud, Delta Junction                                                                                               
Jill M. Exe, Kaktovik                                                                                                           
Linda Lee Gillam Black, Anchorage                                                                                               
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
State Board of Education                                                                                                      
Janel Keplinger, Kodiak                                                                                                         
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
Linda Lee Gillam Black, Anchorage                                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
DISCUSSION:  THE GALENA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT'S EARLY LEARNING                                                                   
CENTER - SIDNEY C. HUNTINGTON SCHOOL                                                                                            
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 58                                                                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to  a  student  loan  repayment  program  for                                                               
specified occupations or fields in  which a shortage of qualified                                                               
employees exists."                                                                                                              
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
CINDY LOU AILLAUD, Appointee                                                                                                    
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                      
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   as  the  appointee   to  the                                                             
Professional Teaching Practices Commission.                                                                                     
JILL M. EXE, Appointee                                                                                                          
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                      
Kaktovik, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   as  the  appointee   to  the                                                             
Professional Teaching Practices Commission.                                                                                     
JANEL KEPLINGER, Appointee                                                                                                      
State Board of Education                                                                                                        
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee  to the  State                                                             
Board of Education.                                                                                                             
CHRIS REITAN, Principal                                                                                                         
Sidney C. Huntington School                                                                                                     
Galena, Alaska;                                                                                                                 
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals                                                                               
Galena, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented  an overview  of  the Sidney  C.                                                             
Huntington School and responded to questions.                                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:02:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PAUL  SEATON called the House  Education Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 8:02  a.m.   Representatives Seaton,  Buch,                                                               
Gardner, Munoz,  and Keller  were present at  the call  to order.                                                               
Representative Edgmon arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                   
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                      
^Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                   
8:02:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
confirmation  hearings for  the  Professional Teaching  Practices                                                               
The committee took an at-ease from 8:03 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.                                                                       
8:05:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CINDY  LOU AILLAUD,  Appointee,  Professional Teaching  Practices                                                               
Commission,  related  that  she  has  found  her  work  with  the                                                               
Professional   Teaching   Practices    Commission   (PTPC)   very                                                               
rewarding.  She opined that she  is a good representative for the                                                               
teachers  in the  state  of Alaska.    Ms. Aillaud  characterized                                                               
herself  as a  very fair,  honest, and  trustworthy advocate  for                                                               
teachers and students in this state.                                                                                            
8:07:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER began  by  thanking Ms.  Aillaud for  her                                                               
willingness to continue  serving on the PTPC.   She then inquired                                                               
as to whether Ms. Aillaud saw  any area in which the interests of                                                               
students and teachers aren't fully aligned.                                                                                     
MS. AILLAUD answered that the  interests of students and teachers                                                               
aren't always fully  aligned.  Therefore, one purpose  of PTPC is                                                               
to be careful  that the teachers in the state  hold the students'                                                               
interests as the number one priority.                                                                                           
8:08:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  inquired as to whether  the PTPC deals with  the No                                                               
Child  Left   Behind  (NCLB)   requirements  and   other  testing                                                               
MS. AILLAUD  replied yes, adding  that there are clear  rules for                                                               
administering  tests.    When  the rules  for  the  tests  aren't                                                               
followed,  the  PTPC  is  alerted  so that  it  can  address  the                                                               
situation.   She  highlighted the  importance  of protecting  the                                                               
students.  She then noted  that problems have arisen with various                                                               
tests, particularly with the NCLB tests.                                                                                        
8:10:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked if the  PTPC addresses criticisms and concerns                                                               
regarding how  information from the  annual standards  testing is                                                               
used by the profession in terms of teaching practices.                                                                          
MS.  AILLAUD  related that  the  PTPC  works with  districts  and                                                               
superintendents  to  assure  that  the   ethics  of  teaching  is                                                               
followed.   "And testing, of course,  is one of our  big issues,"                                                               
she remarked.   She  suggested that at  some point  more specific                                                               
language may need  to be adopted into the  [teachers'] moral code                                                               
of ethics.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR SEATON  commented that  he would  appreciate review  of the                                                               
possibility  of   more  individualized  student   information  to                                                               
utilize in considering effective teaching methods.                                                                              
MS. AILLAUD interjected that she will do so.                                                                                    
8:12:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  inquired  as   to  the  reach  of  PTPC's                                                               
jurisdiction.    He recalled  that  in  the past,  teachers  were                                                               
expected to have the values of  the community and local area.  He                                                               
asked if the PTPC has to  deal with situations in which a teacher                                                               
doesn't share the values and beliefs of the community.                                                                          
MS. AILLAUD pointed out that  every case is unique, and therefore                                                               
all evidence must be considered  in order to make a well-informed                                                               
decision.   She then  highlighted that  every teacher  receives a                                                               
moral code of  ethics, which encourages all teachers  to follow a                                                               
professional standard  to deliver education because  the priority                                                               
is  to  assist  students  in  learning  and  becoming  productive                                                               
members of society.  Although the  hope is that every teacher has                                                               
that as a goal, some teachers differ, she remarked.                                                                             
8:14:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  inquired  as  to whether  a  teacher  who                                                               
breaks the  moral code of  ethics outside of the  classroom would                                                               
be handled.                                                                                                                     
MS. AILLAUD  explained that first  such a case would  be reviewed                                                               
by the commissioner to determine  whether a case exists for PTPC.                                                               
The  committee   can  then  decide  whether   the  commissioner's                                                               
decision is appropriate or whether steps  to a hearing need to be                                                               
8:17:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  pointed  out  that  the  nominee  has  a                                                               
special   education  endorsement,   but  is   currently  teaching                                                               
physical education.   Therefore,  she asked if  Ms. Aillaud  is a                                                               
teacher who  has "taken off  the [special  education] endorsement                                                               
from  your  teaching certificate."    She  further asked  if  Ms.                                                               
Aillaud  has  any  suggestions  for  state  policies  that  would                                                               
encourage teachers to attain a special education endorsement.                                                                   
MS.  AILLAUD   specified  that  she   has  the   following  three                                                               
endorsements on her certificate:   elementary education, physical                                                               
education, and  special education.   She  explained that  she has                                                               
recently  retired from  her physical  education position  and has                                                               
been  traveling  throughout the  U.S.  to  present author  visits                                                               
regarding  her book  Recess  at  20 Below.    However, her  local                                                             
school district  called her in  February because the  high school                                                               
special education teacher resigned.   Therefore, she is currently                                                               
holding  a  high  school  special   education  position  for  the                                                               
remainder  of the  year.   Ms. Aillaud  opined that  talking with                                                               
teachers throughout  the state  has been  a great  opportunity to                                                               
discuss  issues impacting  various schools  and the  state, which                                                               
she has been  able to bring to PTPC.   With regard to suggestions                                                               
to encourage teachers to enter  the special education profession,                                                               
Ms.  Aillaud pointed  out that  it's a  national problem  with no                                                               
easy solution.                                                                                                                  
8:20:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ inquired  as  to how  the  PTPC deals  with                                                               
targeted  campaigns to  discredit  a  teacher and  if  so, is  it                                                               
something that occurs often.                                                                                                    
MS.  AILLAUD  said  that  such  situations  have  certainly  been                                                               
brought before the  PTPC, but she said  she wouldn't characterize                                                               
it as  something that  occurs often.   She reiterated  that every                                                               
case  is unique  and the  facts of  each case  must be  reviewed.                                                               
Although a hearing affords each  side to present their case, it's                                                               
unfortunate for an  educator to have to be put  through this type                                                               
of stress.                                                                                                                      
8:24:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  moved to advance the  confirmation of Cindy                                                               
Lou Aillaud to the joint session  of the House and the Senate for                                                               
confirmation to  the Professional Teaching  Practices Commission.                                                               
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
8:26:01 AM                                                                                                                    
JILL   M.  EXE,   Appointee,   Professional  Teaching   Practices                                                               
Commission, said that she is eager  to participate in the PTPC as                                                               
it's  a continuation  of  her current  position  at the  district                                                               
level as a  grievance chair person.  The combined  efforts of the                                                               
PTPC  and  the committee's  interest  in  improving education  in                                                               
Alaska are important.  In  response to Representative Keller, Ms.                                                               
Exe  relayed that  although this  is  her first  year teacher  in                                                               
Kaktovik, she has worked in  the North Slope Borough District for                                                               
16 years.   She  further relayed  that she  moved from  Barrow to                                                               
8:29:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  noted that  Ms. Exe has  an English  as a                                                               
Second  Language (ESL)  endorsement, and  then asked  whether she                                                               
has cause to use such an endorsement in Alaska.                                                                                 
MS.  EXE  explained  that  the  district  in  which  Kaktovik  is                                                               
situated has a number of  English Language Learners (ELL) because                                                               
the Native  language is spoken in  the home.  In  fact, there are                                                               
seven  students in  Kaktovik that  will  be receiving  additional                                                               
support and there is an ELL  coordinator.  In further response to                                                               
Representative Gardner,  Ms. Exe said  that she has heard  of the                                                               
Parents  as Teachers  program, but  doesn't  have any  experience                                                               
with it.                                                                                                                        
8:30:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON restated  his previous  question regarding  testing                                                               
and teachers  using individual testing  scores to  better educate                                                               
MS. EXE  opined that  the coming together  of nine  teachers from                                                               
across the  state to  discuss education  in general  could foster                                                               
professional  development in  the districts  in which  they work.                                                               
However, she wasn't sure if the  actual advocacy on the PTPC fits                                                               
into the  equation.  Still, teachers,  as professional educators,                                                               
can advocate what they know needs to occur.                                                                                     
8:33:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER moved  to advance the name of  Jill Exe to                                                               
the joint  session of the  House and the Senate  for confirmation                                                               
to the  Professional Teaching Practices Commission.   There being                                                               
no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
^State Board Of Education                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEATON  then  turned  the  committee's  attention  to  the                                                               
confirmation hearing for the State Board of Education.                                                                          
8:34:58 AM                                                                                                                    
JANEL KEPLINGER,  Appointee, State  Board of Education,  began by                                                               
relating  that she  has had  a passion  for education  since high                                                               
school.   She further related that  she has been in  the field of                                                               
education for 27  years and has served on  many committees within                                                               
the school  district and  her school.   Ms. Keplinger  stated her                                                               
interest  in  broader  service  to  the state  in  the  field  of                                                               
8:35:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER inquired as  to Ms. Keplinger's perspective                                                               
on school choice  and how it relates to what  is available in the                                                               
MS. KEPLINGER  opined that it's  important for parents to  have a                                                               
choice, but it  is also imperative that they be  informed in that                                                               
choice beyond hearsay.                                                                                                          
8:37:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  pointed out  that  Ms.  Keplinger has  a                                                               
Master's of  Art in special  education, and asked her  to address                                                               
the need for special education teachers in this state.                                                                          
MS.   KEPLINGER   characterized   [filling]   special   education                                                               
[positions] as  a tremendous challenge.   She indicated  the need                                                               
to get university students involved  with special education early                                                               
on to stimulate an interest  and encourage them to participate in                                                               
special  education classrooms.   She  even suggested  encouraging                                                               
interest in  special education in  high school.   It's important,                                                               
she  opined,  for young  people  to  see  that needs  of  special                                                               
education students aren't that different  than those of any child                                                               
in the state's educational system.                                                                                              
8:40:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  inquired as to  how the Parents  as Teachers                                                               
program is utilized in Kodiak.                                                                                                  
MS.  KEPLINGER said  she isn't  familiar with  the aforementioned                                                               
program in terms  of how it's utilized in Kodiak,  but noted that                                                               
she has  read about it.   She  related excitement with  regard to                                                               
the  philosophy of  the Parents  as Teachers  program, and  added                                                               
that early  education makes a difference  for students long-term.                                                               
Furthermore,  the  program  creates a  partnership  [between  the                                                               
parents  and  the  teachers/school]  and  causes  the  parent  to                                                               
realize  the importance  of education.   She  surmised that  this                                                               
program  would  be  important  in   rural  areas.    Furthermore,                                                               
parental involvement,  she opined, is  one of the  key indicators                                                               
of a student's success in school.                                                                                               
8:42:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KEPLINGER,  in  further  response  to  Representative  Buch,                                                               
related  that  the  Kodiak  community is  very  involved  in  its                                                               
schools  and the  schools  make much  effort  to engage  parents.                                                               
However, as parents  it can be intimidating to  enter the school.                                                               
Ms.  Keplinger further  related that  Kodiak schools  hold family                                                               
nights  for reading  and math  in  which the  students bring  the                                                               
parents.     She   also  highlighted   the  use   of  student-led                                                               
conferences that  help parents  relax and  see the  importance of                                                               
8:44:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH  inquired  as  to how  many  students  speak                                                               
English as a second language.   In the Anchorage School District,                                                               
he recalled, 93 different languages are spoken.                                                                                 
MS. KEPLINGER  estimated that perhaps  50-60 percent  of Kodiak's                                                               
students  are English  Language  Learners.   She noted,  however,                                                               
that Kodiak has a diverse population.                                                                                           
8:45:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER inquired  as  to how  Ms. Keplinger  would                                                               
address the high drop-out rate, were funds of no concern.                                                                       
MS. KEPLINGER responded  that she would spend a lot  of time with                                                               
kids,  parents,  and  teachers.    She  recalled  her  own  three                                                               
children's  time in  high school,  which she  characterized as  a                                                               
very different  experience for each.   Therefore,  direct contact                                                               
with  the  students   is  imperative  in  order   to  assess  the                                                               
effectiveness  and appropriateness  of  each student's  education                                                               
because   traditional  education   settings   don't  meet   every                                                               
student's  needs.   Every student  requires support  in different                                                               
ways,  she  remarked.   She  recommended  the use  of  vocational                                                               
education for  those students who  aren't finding success  in the                                                               
traditional high school setting.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  said  that  he  was  impressed  with  Ms.                                                               
Keplinger's  answer as  it dovetails  with what  some alternative                                                               
school students related at an earlier hearing on this topic.                                                                    
8:48:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON noted  that the committee has  had discussions about                                                               
making  the  high   school  diploma/graduation  certificate  more                                                               
relevant.   He  noted  the  problem of  the  high school  diploma                                                               
merely  reflecting  seat  time   and  minimum  competency.    The                                                               
committee has  discussed utilizing an assessment  of achievement.                                                               
At this  point, the committee  is reviewing the  WorkKeys system.                                                               
He  inquired  as to  Ms.  Keplinger's  thoughts about  graduating                                                               
students having an achievement assessment on their diploma.                                                                     
MS. KEPLINGER  said that  she has reviewed  the concerns  in this                                                               
area.    The  WorkKeys  appears   to  be  a  meaningful  program,                                                               
particularly  for the  students who  aren't having  success in  a                                                               
traditional  setting.   Furthermore,  WorkKeys  also assists  the                                                               
employer in the  hiring process.  A portfolio,  versus a diploma,                                                               
would be  more meaningful for  students as they enter  college or                                                               
the work force.  She characterized  WorkKeys as a great idea that                                                               
would motivate kids.                                                                                                            
8:52:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON then  turned  to the  High  School Qualifying  Exam                                                               
(HSQE) and related  that the committee has been  reviewing how to                                                               
make it  meaningful.  Thus  far the idea  is for the  district to                                                               
provide tuition for vocational  education and/or distance courses                                                               
at  education facilities  throughout the  nation upon  passage of                                                               
all  three sections  of the  HSQE.   The HSQE,  he related,  is a                                                               
requirement for graduation,  but doesn't mean that  a student who                                                               
passes the  HSQE is  proficient in  all the  areas a  high school                                                               
student should be.                                                                                                              
MS. KEPLINGER remarked that at one  point the HSQE was needed for                                                               
accountability.     "Assessment   is   important,"  she   opined.                                                               
However,  there   are  different  levels  of   assessment.    Ms.                                                               
Keplinger said that it may be  difficult to use the HSQE to drive                                                               
instruction.    Still, the  HSQE  has  created opportunities  for                                                               
teachers  to   have  particular  discussions.     She  noted  her                                                               
agreement  that  passage  of  the   HSQE  has  been  represented,                                                               
especially in the  student body, as being done  with high school.                                                               
The  aforementioned  needs  to  be  changed,  she  opined.    The                                                               
WorkKeys program includes an assessment  piece for sixth, eighth,                                                               
and eleventh grade students.   To fit another assessment into the                                                               
schedule will  be challenging, she  pointed out.   She questioned                                                               
how  that will  drive every  day instruction.   She  relayed that                                                               
several  educators   who  have  taken  the   WorkKeys  test  have                                                               
suggested   using  the   assessment   portion   of  WorkKeys   in                                                               
conjunction  with the  HSQE or  possibly  melding the  two.   The                                                               
aforementioned  would   be  much  more  effective,   she  opined,                                                               
especially since  the WorkKeys test provides  immediate feedback.                                                               
In further  response to Chair  Seaton, Ms. Keplinger  related her                                                               
belief  that  allowing dual  credits  for  vocational or  college                                                               
classes for those students who pass the HSQE would be effective.                                                                
8:58:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON recalled  testimony  from the  Avant-Garde                                                               
Learning  Foundation which  is conducting  an alignment  study to                                                               
help create  a dialogue between  educators, citizens,  and policy                                                               
makers.  The organization, he related, is interested in data-                                                                   
driven  discussions that  move beyond  educational decisions  not                                                               
based  in fact.   He  asked  if a  gap  exists such  that a  non-                                                               
governmental entity needs  to come forward to  [determine how] to                                                               
better serve the educational needs of the state.                                                                                
MS. KEPLINGER  related her hope  that a separate  entity wouldn't                                                               
be  required   to  stimulate  this  cooperation   and  discussion                                                               
regarding education  in the  state.  She  expressed the  need for                                                               
legislators  and teachers  to come  together to  have discussions                                                               
regarding educational concerns.   Ms. Keplinger opined that there                                                               
can be  a lot of data  that an outside agency  could organize for                                                               
better  understanding.   She said  she is  not familiar  with the                                                               
company, but assumed it would explain  the data and ways in which                                                               
it  could better  be used.    She expressed  hope that  [Alaska's                                                               
education  community] would  come together  to discuss  issues as                                                               
such  would be  a more  valuable discussion  than having  another                                                               
entity do so.                                                                                                                   
9:04:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON highlighted  that  Alaska has  one  of the  highest                                                               
drop-out rates  in the  nation, and  therefore it's  important to                                                               
address the facts and not diminish the need.                                                                                    
9:05:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH  asked  if   Ms.  Keplinger's  children  had                                                               
challenges in school.                                                                                                           
MS. KEPLINGER related that her two  boys and one girl had extreme                                                               
difficulty learning to  read.  Dyslexia has played  a major role,                                                               
and as  a parent  it is a  difficult realm to  work within.   She                                                               
described  how  one of  her  children  learned  how to  hide  his                                                               
difficulty, but through  the help of teachers  and the vocational                                                               
options was successful.  She  indicated that her experiences with                                                               
her children will help her in  her position on the State Board of                                                               
9:08:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KEPLINGER,  in  further  response  to  Representative  Buch,                                                               
opined that in  elementary school much time  is spent determining                                                               
what type of learner the student  is and relaying to the students                                                               
that not  every student  is the same.   Doing  the aforementioned                                                               
provides  students  with  the ability  to  appreciate  their  own                                                               
strengths  and weaknesses  as well  as to  be more  empathetic to                                                               
other students.  The aforementioned  is carried through to middle                                                               
school, where professionals speak  to the students about careers,                                                               
and  provide shadowing  opportunities.   Ms. Keplinger  indicated                                                               
that   Kodiak   seems   to  be   turning   back   to   vocational                                                               
opportunities.    She  then related  how  the  program  Community                                                               
Experience Career Education  helped her realize she  wanted to be                                                               
an educator.                                                                                                                    
9:12:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  recalled  previous testimony  that  Alaska  Native                                                               
children  enter school  with visual  and auditory  learning skill                                                               
sets.   If  the schools  don't build  on those  skill sets,  then                                                               
Alaska Native  students are alienated  and may contribute  to the                                                               
high  Alaska Native  drop-out rate.   Chair  Seaton characterized                                                               
the aforementioned  as very meaningful.   He asked  Ms. Keplinger                                                               
would view  that as  reality and  that the schools  need to  do a                                                               
better job  working with  the skill  sets Alaska  Native students                                                               
MS.  KEPLINGER  remarked  that  [accommodating  various  learning                                                               
skill sets] for  all children is important,  but particularly for                                                               
Alaska Native  children.  The  classroom situation may  be easier                                                               
in a small  village in which all the students  are Alaska Native.                                                               
However, most classrooms  are very diverse in terms  of the skill                                                               
sets of the students as well  as the cultural sets.  Awareness is                                                               
the first  step, and each  teacher can  learn how to  honor every                                                               
student.    She  mentioned  the  need for  teachers  to  work  in                                                               
experiences  for  students that  are  outside  of the  classroom,                                                               
which  provide students  with a  different  environment in  which                                                               
they may "shine."                                                                                                               
CHAIR SEATON related  the committee's concern with  the fact that                                                               
there  is a  higher drop-out  rate of  Alaska Native  students as                                                               
compared  to   the  rest   of  the   student  population.     The                                                               
aforementioned, he  opined, hasn't been  taken into account  on a                                                               
statewide  basis.   He further  opined that  new teachers  in the                                                               
Bush don't have any idea of  the skill sets students bring to the                                                               
9:18:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  if Ms.  Keplinger  would  suggest                                                               
anything at the state level that would help Dyslexic students.                                                                  
MS.  KEPLINGER   opined  that  reading   teachers  have   made  a                                                               
tremendous difference.   She highlighted that each  student is an                                                               
individual and  his/her needs should  be reviewed.   Furthermore,                                                               
working as collaborative teams [with  a reading teacher] provides                                                               
[teachers]  the  ability to  know  [the  learning level]  of  the                                                               
students and  his/her progress.   Such  teaching also  allows the                                                               
[reading teacher] to  relate the strategies that  would benefit a                                                               
particular student.   Being able  to have [Dyslexic  students] in                                                               
small  groups   makes  a   tremendous  difference,   she  stated.                                                               
Moreover,  early  intervention  is  the key  in  helping  address                                                               
issues such as Dyslexia.                                                                                                        
9:23:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH reminded  everyone that  there's a  cost for                                                               
every kind  of intervention.   The  state has  limited resources,                                                               
and therefore it will take help  from folks such as Ms. Keplinger                                                               
to make intervention choices.   Also, vocational education may be                                                               
the only  way to reach some  students not to mention  that three-                                                               
quarters of  [Alaskan] students  hold jobs  that don't  require a                                                               
college  education.   Therefore, he  encouraged Ms.  Keplinger to                                                               
keep the aforementioned in mind.                                                                                                
9:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON reiterated  his understanding  that many  districts                                                               
and teachers in the state  aren't fully utilizing data the annual                                                               
assessments generate.  He expressed  the need for the State Board                                                               
of Education to review ways  in which to fully utilize assessment                                                               
scores to identify student [education] levels.                                                                                  
9:26:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to   advance  the  name  of  Janel                                                               
Keplinger to  the joint session of  the House and the  Senate for                                                               
confirmation to  the Professional Teaching  Practices Commission.                                                               
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
9:27:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that there  will be  a subcommittee  meeting                                                               
Friday at 7:30  a.m. with the State Board of  Education.  He then                                                               
noted that consideration  of the appointment of  Linda Lee Gillam                                                               
Black to the State Board of Education would be held over.                                                                       
^DISCUSSION:   THE GALENA CITY  SCHOOL DISTRICT'S  EARLY LEARNING                                                             
CENTER - SIDNEY C. HUNTINGTON SCHOOL                                                                                          
9:28:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
a  discussion of  the  Sidney C.  Huntington  School Galena  City                                                               
School District's Early Learning Center.                                                                                        
9:29:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  REITAN, Principal,  Sidney C.  Huntington School,  Galena,                                                               
Alaska; President-Elect,  Alaska Association of  Secondary School                                                               
Principals,  informed  the  committee  that four  years  ago  the                                                               
Galena City School  District wrote a Native  education grant that                                                               
was  modeled after  the Hoonah  program.   In  Galena there's  an                                                               
early learning center that is  a childcare and preschool facility                                                               
that  also houses  the Parents  as  Teachers program.   The  four                                                               
years under this program has  produced huge differences in regard                                                               
to  literacy  development,  parenting   skills,  and  comfort  of                                                               
parents  working with  the school  system.   The effort  is being                                                               
tracked  through   the  Kindergarten   profile  as  well   as  in                                                               
conjunction with the  Terra Nova test data.  He  noted that other                                                               
schools use  the Terra Nova  test in grades  5 and 6,  but Galena                                                               
has  chosen to  test  the early  grades in  an  effort to  obtain                                                               
another indicator.   He related that Galena  City School students                                                               
are  scoring above  the national  average, across  the board,  in                                                               
first and second grades.                                                                                                        
MR.  REITAN opined  that he  didn't see  how the  state can  move                                                               
forward  without more  efforts in  the early  learning area.   He                                                               
noted that Galena has attempted  to have a comprehensive approach                                                               
for  Galena children  from the  time they  are born  while taking                                                               
into consideration the entire spectrum  of vocational programs in                                                               
Galena.  He characterized [the  Parents as Teachers program] as a                                                               
missing  component.    He indicated  that  the  committee  should                                                               
review the research  on the Parents as Teachers  program from the                                                               
University of  Washington.   The key  for Galena  is to  hire the                                                               
appropriate  person  to  work  with the  families  in  the  home.                                                               
Sometimes  helping  families is  as  easy  as distributing  books                                                               
while for others it's  relating developmentally appropriate games                                                               
for the  child in order  to engender  success for children.   Mr.                                                               
Reitan  related that  there's  a stark  difference,  in terms  of                                                               
school ready skills, between students  who have experienced early                                                               
learning  or a  Parents as  Teachers program  and those  who have                                                               
9:33:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER inquired  as to  who was  the grantee  for                                                               
Galena's grant.                                                                                                                 
MR.  REITAN  answered that  Galena  received  a Native  education                                                               
grant  from  the  U.S.  Department  of  Education.    In  further                                                               
response to Representative Keller,  Mr. Reitan specified that the                                                               
grant was for  three years, but Galena was able  to extend it for                                                               
a fourth  year.  Just  recently, Galena City School  District has                                                               
submitted a  renewal for the  grant because without  those funds,                                                               
there would  be no  program.   Mr. Reitan  said that  he couldn't                                                               
speak to whether the U.S.  Department of Education has an ongoing                                                               
interest  in   supporting  the   Parents  as   Teachers  program.                                                               
However,  he did  relay his  belief that  the U.S.  Department of                                                               
Education does  have an interest in  research-based programs that                                                               
have proven they work.                                                                                                          
9:35:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  if  Galena will  produce a  formal                                                               
write  up  regarding  the  results of  the  Parents  as  Teachers                                                               
program in the Galena City School District.                                                                                     
MR.  REITAN said  such is  done every  year because  in order  to                                                               
access  the  funds,  evidence  of   the  status  of  meeting  the                                                               
objectives has  to be  provided.   He said that  he has  the last                                                               
three years'  worth of data that  has been submitted to  the U.S.                                                               
Department of  Education.   He explained  that in  Galena, Alaska                                                               
Native  students are  compared to  Caucasian students  statewide.                                                               
In  almost  every grade  level,  the  discrepancy between  Alaska                                                               
Native  students in  Galena [participating  in  the program]  and                                                               
Caucasian  students  is eliminated.    In  fact, Galena's  Alaska                                                               
Native   students,   as   indicated  by   the   Standards   Based                                                               
Assessments,  rank at  or above  the state  level as  compared to                                                               
Alaska's Caucasian  students.  The  next step is how  to continue                                                               
that  trend  as  students  progress  through  the  grade  levels,                                                               
because nationally and  statewide there is a bit of  a decline at                                                               
the  junior  high  school  and  high school  levels.    He  noted                                                               
discussions  he has  had with  Representative Buch  regarding the                                                               
need  for  vocational   education  as  well  as   lots  of  other                                                               
opportunities for students.                                                                                                     
9:39:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  inquired  as  to the  percentage  of  parents  who                                                               
participate in the Parents as Teachers program.                                                                                 
MR.  REITAN  answered that  about  75  percent of  parents,  with                                                               
children through age five participate.                                                                                          
9:39:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON recalled that Hoonah  reported that about 80 percent                                                               
of  parents  participate in  the  program.   Furthermore,  Hoonah                                                               
reports  that  almost all  the  students  who are  successful  in                                                               
school participated in the program.   Chair Seaton requested that                                                               
Mr.  Reitan provide  the committee  with the  four years  of data                                                               
that Galena has collected.   Chair Seaton then announced that the                                                               
commissioner  will speak  to the  committee  regarding the  early                                                               
education programs, including the Parents as Teachers program.                                                                  
MR. REITAN agreed to provide the information.                                                                                   
9:42:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON related his  observation that it has become                                                               
clear that the closest thing to  a silver bullet for education is                                                               
to focus on early education.                                                                                                    
9:43:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  REITAN interjected  that all  of the  current research  also                                                               
points to focusing  on the early childhood  experience versus the                                                               
drop-out age student.  However,  he acknowledged that focusing on                                                               
early education won't eliminate all  of the problems in secondary                                                               
education.    "I  believe with  a  conservative,  deliberate  and                                                               
sustainable effort,  it'll minimize  a lot of  them and  we'll be                                                               
seeing some huge differences in  regards to just what our schools                                                               
look like, K-12,  and the school system," he said.   He applauded                                                               
the committee for its efforts with education.                                                                                   
9:44:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  related  that  early  education  can  ensure  that                                                               
children  have  skill  sets  that will  enable  them.    However,                                                               
without  altering how  classrooms  operate,  the early  education                                                               
strides  won't  make  the difference  that's  necessary.    Chair                                                               
Seaton  opined  that   it's  imperative  to  focus   on  what  an                                                               
individual student  is good at  doing rather than what  he/she is                                                               
not doing.                                                                                                                      
9:46:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  characterized Galena  as a microcosm  of the                                                               
state,  and indicated  that the  state  may look  to places  like                                                               
Galena  for   answers  in  the   future.     Representative  Buch                                                               
recognized  the presence  of Mr.  Perkins, the  principal of  the                                                               
largest  junior high  school in  the  state, and  invited him  to                                                               
forward his information as well.                                                                                                
9:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that  the invitation  had  been extended  to                                                               
educators throughout the state.                                                                                                 
9:48:55 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:48 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Resume Janel Keplinger.pdf HEDC 3/18/2009 8:00:00 AM
Resume Cindy Lou Aillaud.pdf HEDC 3/18/2009 8:00:00 AM
Resume Jill Exe.pdf HEDC 3/18/2009 8:00:00 AM
Resume Linda Lee Gillam Black.pdf HEDC 3/18/2009 8:00:00 AM