Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

04/14/2015 03:30 PM Senate EDUCATION

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
          SB 84-LANG. IMMERSION SCHOOLS/TEACHER CERTS.                                                                      
4:14:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration of SB 84.                                                                            
JACQUELYN  BOYER,  Intern,  Senator  Donny  Olson,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, sponsor  of SB 84, presented  information related to                                                               
SB 84. She read from following sponsor statement:                                                                               
     As a  father, I  know firsthand  that children  are not                                                                    
     only my  future, but Alaska's  future. For  that future                                                                    
     to be sound, we need  to encourage our children to seek                                                                    
     a further  understanding of the world  around them: how                                                                    
     it  operates, different  viewpoints, and  how diversity                                                                    
     makes  us stronger.  Having students  not only  learn a                                                                    
     second language  but be immersed  in a  second language                                                                    
     creates a greater capacity for growth.                                                                                     
     Some schools  in Alaska have already  started immersion                                                                    
     programs. Spanish immersion is  offered at Fronteras in                                                                    
     the  Mat-Su and  German at  Rilke Schule  in Anchorage.                                                                    
     Japanese, Russian,  and Spanish immersion  programs are                                                                    
     also  available  in   the  Anchorage  School  District.                                                                    
     Schools in  rural Alaska,  such as  Ayaprun Elitnaurvik                                                                    
     in Bethel  and Nikaitchuat  Ilisagvait in  Kotzebue are                                                                    
     using  immersion  education  to  revitalize  endangered                                                                    
     Alaskan Native languages.                                                                                                  
     SB  84 creates  a  designation  for language  immersion                                                                    
     charter  schools, which  have the  specific mission  to                                                                    
     produce  bilingual  students,  preserve  or  revitalize                                                                    
     endangered languages, or  provide a learning experience                                                                    
     consistent  with  a  foreign  culture.  These  language                                                                    
     immersion  schools have  high  statutory standards  for                                                                    
     both the  teachers and  the school  structure. Teachers                                                                    
     will  be  well  qualified   individuals  who  are  both                                                                    
     capable  instructors  and  fluent in  the  language  of                                                                    
     instruction.  These schools  are  unique  in that  they                                                                    
     will have  an academic  policy committee  that includes                                                                    
     not   just  teachers,   employees,  and   parents,  but                                                                    
     language and cultural experts.                                                                                             
     Some   of   Alaska's   languages  have   few   speakers                                                                    
     remaining,  often  only  elders. For  these  languages,                                                                    
     local governments  best know  who in  their communities                                                                    
     are  good with  children  and fluent  in the  language.                                                                    
     This  bill   allows  the   state  to   approve  teacher                                                                    
     certificates issued  by local tribes to  teach in local                                                                    
     language  immersion charter  schools. Lastly,  the bill                                                                    
     allows children  being taught  in a  different language                                                                    
     to  test in  that language,  if high  quality benchmark                                                                    
     tests exist.                                                                                                               
     More  language  immersion  programs would  be  a  great                                                                    
     asset   to  Alaska,   both   helping  keep   indigenous                                                                    
     languages alive and  fostering greater understanding of                                                                    
     foreign languages and cultures.                                                                                            
She noted the fiscal note does not reflect that the bill                                                                        
requires testing in the language available.                                                                                     
4:18:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY thanked Ms. Boyer.                                                                                               
SENATOR GARDNER  noted that  charter schools  are home  grown and                                                               
they operate  under a charter  in their district, and  are exempt                                                               
from some  requirements. She said  the alternative school  is set                                                               
up  by the  district. She  asked why  the immersion  school is  a                                                               
charter  school  and not  an  alternative  school. She  suggested                                                               
having the immersion school set up by the district.                                                                             
4:20:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  added  that  charter   schools  usually  have  a                                                               
He asked if the bill is limited to native languages.                                                                            
MS. BOYER said it was for all languages.                                                                                        
4:21:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY opened public testimony.                                                                                         
4:21:39 PM                                                                                                                    
DEENA PARAMO,  Superintendent, Mat-Su School  District, testified                                                               
in support  of SB 84. She  said, as a district  who highly values                                                               
choice  in  educational  programs  and delivery,  the  bill  will                                                               
provide for  specific certification  and recognition  of teachers                                                               
at  language  immersion charter  schools.  It  will allow  school                                                               
districts  the  flexibility  they need  to  hire  non-traditional                                                               
teachers  and  the  ability  to  retain  staff  in  the  time  of                                                               
shortage. She suggested that an  effective date for transitioning                                                               
to the new  certificate would allow ample time  to communicate to                                                               
employees for which the certificate applies.                                                                                    
4:23:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS   asked  Ms.  Paramo   if  she  can   hire  non-                                                               
certificated teachers now.                                                                                                      
MS. PARAMO said  they can hire Type M certificates  now in career                                                               
and technical areas.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  STEVENS noted  that they  are similar  to contracts  for                                                               
certificated teachers.                                                                                                          
MS. PARAMO yes, but there is no tenure.                                                                                         
4:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER SCHMIDT, Principal,  Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter                                                               
School, Mat-Su  School District, testified  in support of  SB 84.                                                               
She  concurred  with  the previous  speaker.  She  described  the                                                               
difficulty with hiring  non-certificated personnel for Fronteras.                                                               
The  bill would  alleviate  that  issue. She  spoke  in favor  of                                                               
having standardized  testing in the target  language, as provided                                                               
in Section 8.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GARDNER referenced  Section 8 and asked if  there are any                                                               
comparable tests that exist other than in English.                                                                              
MS.  SCHMIDT  replied  not   for  high-stakes  testing.  Progress                                                               
monitoring is done in Spanish up to third grade.                                                                                
PEGGY   COWAN,  Superintendent,   North   Slope  Borough   School                                                               
District,  testified  in support  of  SB  84, with  changes.  She                                                               
recommended that  Section 4, lines  19 - 22, contains  a valuable                                                               
clause and  they don't  want it removed.  She explained  how it's                                                               
used in  her district. The provision  repeats on page 4,  line 31                                                               
and  page 6,  line 11.  She referred  to page  5, line  27, which                                                               
requires teachers to  be fluent in their  indigenous language and                                                               
suggested allowing  teachers that  are working  on fluency  to be                                                               
hired.  She  also suggested  that  the  districts be  allowed  to                                                               
develop  their own  tests,  which is  different  than what's  set                                                               
forth on page 7.                                                                                                                
4:34:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER asked  what she  means by  "developing your  own                                                               
MS. COWAN replied  that it's a recommendation  from their Inupiat                                                               
education  director. The  bill doesn't  prohibit  it, but  they'd                                                               
like to develop their own language tests.                                                                                       
SENATOR  GARDNER asked  if she's  just talking  about a  separate                                                               
test for cultural understanding.                                                                                                
MS. COWAN replied they want to test on their own criteria.                                                                      
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  suggested she  send  the  recommendation to  the                                                               
MS. COWAN agreed.                                                                                                               
4:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
LANCE TWITCHELL,  representing himself,  testified in  support of                                                               
SB 84. He said  he is a professor of Native  languages at UAS. He                                                               
thanked the sponsor  and others for working  on this legislation.                                                               
He opined that immersion schools  would help take native cultures                                                               
out  of  language and  cultural  loss  and revitalize  indigenous                                                               
languages. He  shared statistics  related to  indigenous cultures                                                               
and  stressed the  importance of  native languages  and immersion                                                               
charter  schools. He  spoke of  a number  of ways  to fund  these                                                               
4:42:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced he would hold SB 84 in committee.                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1. SB 37 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
2. SB 37 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
3. CS for SB 37 - Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
4. CS for SB 37 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
5. CS for SB 37 - Explanation of Changes.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
6. CS for SB 37 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
1. SB 84 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
2. SB 84 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
3. SB 84 Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
4. SB 84 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
5. SB 84 Support Letter.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
6. SB 84 Research.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
7. SB 84 supporting documents- Navajo Nation.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
8. SB 84 Utah Immersion Prog.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 84
SB 102 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 Fiscal Note School Finance.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 Fiscal Note Teaching Learning.pdf SEDC 4/14/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 102