Students in the Anchorage School District have three more weeks of summer vacation. For district leaders and teachers, summer came to an end with the annual Leadership and Learning Summit.

"We're geared up and technically, today is the first day," Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop said. "Summer is over; we go back to school, but our kids still have a little bit of time."

In the weeks leading up to the students' first day of school on August 20, district principals and leaders are using the time to prepare students for the future.

"I've really learned that the way the world is going now, that it's really [about] being innovative and technology is playing a huge part," teacher Maegan Villarreal said. "We need to step forward and not be so afraid of it."

Technology and getting students up to speed with the 21st century is the primary focus of the Leadership and Learning Summit.

"What are the skill sets our students need for their future?" Dr. Bishop asked. "They look different than the last 20 years. We really talked about design and innovation to ensure our kids have those skills."

Those skills include coding, writing correctly and developing critical thinking skills. 

"This summit brings us all together as a district," teacher Kim Meck said. "It shows what we can do as a community, a city and a state for our kids. I've learned that we have a really big job ahead of us. We have people that are very willing and capable of embracing all the technology. The energy is very positive and powerful."

Learning new technology will be a challenge for principals, teachers and administration-- a challenge Dr. Bishop is asking her leaders to embrace. 

"When you consider the 48,000 students and 6,000 adults across the school threshold every day," Dr. Bishop said. "that's one-sixth of our city and a lot of people. As humans, we will have good days and bad days. We just want to have the best mindset possible. The growth mindset that we can handle anything."

The summit was filled with guest speakers, including keynote speaker Doug Fisher, a renowned educator and speaker, school board president Starr Marsett and Governor Bill Walker.  

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