• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 59s

The changing landscape of ASD: Part 1

By Alexis Fernandez 7:04 AM February 26, 2014

Minorities now make up more than 50 percent of the student population.

ANCHORAGE - English, Spanish, Yup’ik, Hmong, Somali, Nepalese and Pidgin.

That’s only a fraction of the languages spoken across the Anchorage School District, making it one of the most diverse in the country, according to U.S. Department of Education.

Since the inception of Alaska’s statehood, the faces of our cities and schools have been changing steadily, with families arriving from all over the world.

To see and hear diversity at its best, you don’t have to travel far. Just walk the halls of Bartlett High School, where you’ll find students from all different backgrounds in one place.

Tina Bernoski, one of the counselors who oversees the English Language Learners Program, sees the change firsthand.

“That minority is becoming the majority, and so it’s great, it’s fabulous, I love it,” Bernoski said.

She says the Hmong, Samoan and South Sudanese communities have grown significantly, and it’s become a different landscape.

Bartlett is now one of the most diverse high schools in the country.

Nearly one third of its 1,500 students speak a second language at home. Across the school district, 93 languages are spoken.

The top two: Spanish and Hmong.

Minorities now make up more than 50 percent of the student population. But with that comes new challenges.

“The magnitude of issues — it’s not just about breaking up, which is a serious issue for many of these kids — but they saw a parent be killed in front of them, they’re homeless, there are drug issues, they’re pregnant, they have no food on the table,” Bernoski said.

Because of this, she said counselors are becoming crucial.

“They’re doing the best they can, sometimes don’t know how to do it, and we just need to help them find that better life,” she said.

So when did families start moving to Alaska and why?

It’s a question Virgene Hanna tries to answer each year. She helps publish a yearly data book called Kids Count about Alaska’s youth. Hanna said a wide range of people started migrating in 2008 when the country hit a recession.

“Economic opportunity — Alaska has jobs and people are coming, they want economic opportunity for themselves and their families,” Hanna said.

She believes it’s a change we should embrace.

“Different people bring different assets and different perspectives, and it broadens our society,” Hanna said.

It’s Alaska’s next generation.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Troopers: Missing woman found dead in Southwest Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 21:43

    The body of a 30-year-old missing woman was found Wednesday morning after she didn’t show up for work in the Aleutian village of Akutan, authorities say. Tuesday afternoon, the Akutan Village Public Safety Officer notified Alaska State Troopers that 30-year-old Yuliana Zazueca of Bakersfield, California, was missing and did not show up for her shift at […]

  • News

    Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island

    by Associated Press on May 28, 20:32

      TOKYO – A volcano is erupting on a small island in southern Japan, and authorities have ordered residents to evacuate the island. Mount Shindake erupted in spectacular fashion about 10 a.m. local time Friday, spewing towering black-gray clouds into the sky. No injuries have been reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reports that pyroclastic […]

  • News

    New partnership works to create pit bull ambassadors

    by Bonney Bowman on May 28, 20:21

    A new partnership is working to change how people see pit bulls, making local dogs ambassadors for their breed. New owner Crystal Hermosura and her 7-month-old pit bull Kenai have started working on basic obedience skills. “She loves ball,” Hermosura said. “We’re still working on drop it though. Dropping it is still kind of hard […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 28

    by KTVA Weather on May 28, 20:09

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer.   Southeast Decreasing clouds with patch fog in the morning as the ridge of high pressure continues to bring quiet and stable weather.   Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny with patchy morning fog except for northern areas like fort yukon where there will be some clouds and a chance […]

  • News

    Bethel police ask for help ID’ing man in video related to Sunday stabbing

    by Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio on May 28, 17:55

      This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission. BETHEL – Bethel Police are asking for the public’s help identifying and locating a person of interest in the homicide of Eunice Whitman. Whitman was found stabbed to death early Sunday morning along a boardwalk in a Bethel park. Police Thursday released a video […]

  • On-Air

    Alaska Fishing Report for May 28, 2015

    by Carlos Faura on May 28, 17:04

    Alaska is famous for many things. And fishing is definitely one of them. In this week’s Fishing Report, Tony Weaver and I went to Little Campbell Lake in Kincaid Park looking for action.  It didn’t take long to find it.   Anchorage King fishing on Ship Creek is open from the mouth up to the […]

  • News

    Canada plans to allow overnight travel at Stewart crossing

    by Associated Press on May 28, 15:38

    The border between Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, British Columbia, will open to overnight travelers as part of a pilot program planned by the Canada Border Services Agency. The agency released some details Thursday on plans recently outlined to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and local officials. Travelers would use a telephone reporting system to gain entry […]

  • Crime

    East Anchorage trailer park shooting victim dies in hospital

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 15:22

    A 39-year-old man shot in an East Anchorage trailer park on May 11 has died, according to police. The shooting is now being investigated as a homicide. The Anchorage Police Department was first notified at 7:04 p.m. on May 11 of a disturbance between multiple people in a trailer park on the 700 block of Muldoon […]