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Episode 79: New Directions for Alaska Education

By KTVA Alaska 5:00 PM October 30, 2016

From the North Slope to southeast Alaska, we once again bring you some “only in Alaska” stories — with a look at how communities have navigated change in creative ways starting with their children.

Some of the highlights of this Sunday’s show:

  • Tenakee Springs School: KTVA’s Liz Raines and photographer Will Mader take you to this old Southeast logging community — which recently lost its school, because it fell below the 10 student minimum required to receive state funding. We learn how Tenakee has converted its school into a community learning center to assist families who are now home schooling their children.
  • Ilisagvik College Recognition: A look at why Wallet Hub ranked the North Slope’s Ilisagvik College as one of the top community colleges in the nation.
  • Inupiaq Bilingual Preschool: Words matter — at least they did in a recent election, in which people narrowly voted to change their community’s name from Barrow to Utqiaġvik. Their hope: to strengthen the Inupiaq language and culture. Photographer Will Mader and I spent a morning at a bilingual preschool, another such effort to keep the language alive, where children enthusiastically sing and speak Inupiaq every day.
  • Featured guests: Evon Peter and Lance Twitchell, two longtime leaders in the indigenous education movement. Peter is vice chancellor for rural community and Native education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Twitchell is a Native language professor at the University of Alaska’s Southeast campus in Juneau. Both led the charge at this year’s Alaska Federation of Natives convention to “indigenize” education in Rural Alaska.

It’s exciting to bring you distinctly Alaska conversations and get to the heart of who we are.

We face challenges unique to our history, geography and diverse cultures — our state’s modern frontier, especially when it comes to helping our children navigate and succeed in unchartered territory.

It’s fascinating to look at the problems and some of the homegrown solutions — fodder for future discussions.

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