• 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

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Game of Thrones’ to end after season 8, but 7th still ahead

    by Associated Press on Jul 30, 12:55

    HBO is confirming what “Game of Thrones” fans never wanted to hear: The fantasy-thriller phenomenon will be coming to an end after Season 8. Recently HBO renewed the series – adapted from George R.R. Martin’s novels – for a shortened seventh season consisting of seven episodes. The eighth season will bring the saga to a […]

  • News

    Invasive crawfish spread into Kodiak watershed

    by Associated Press on Jul 30, 11:52

    Tribal leaders in Kodiak are working to determine why crawfish, an invasive species, are spreading into the Buskin watershed. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports that the small crustaceans have been spotted in the Kodiak waters occasionally since the early 2000s, but now the Sun’aq Tribe says the problem is more widespread than previously believed. Sun’aq […]

  • Crime

    Police identify 18-year-old who died after being shot, left at hospital

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 30, 8:16

    Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 An afternoon release from police named the victim in Saturday’s early morning homicide as 18-year-old Elijah Zeller. Zeller was dropped off at an Anchorage hospital with a gunshot wound early Saturday morning and later died, according to the Anchorage Police Department. APD is treating the case as […]

  • Crime

    APD identifies woman killed in Wednesday night homicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 22:37

    Updated at 9:18 p.m. on Friday, July 29 The Anchorage Police Department identified the victim of a Wednesday night murder as 33-year-old Eva Edwardson. APD wrote in the statement that Edwardson and the suspect, Kelly Frederick, also 33, knew each other and had a relationship before the fatal stabbing. Edwardson’s next of kin have been […]

  • Lifestyle

    Still life meets real life, statue bearly makes it

    by Megan Edge on Jul 29, 21:29

    An Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) male brown bear, known as Joe Boxer, came across something kind of odd at his home along Turnagain Arm last weekend. It was another bear, but this one was covered with vibrant designs and painted berries. It wasn’t real. In late-June, 14 fiberglass bears, originally white, were brought to […]

  • News

    In the cockpit with the Blue Angels

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 19:43

    Watching from the ground, have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in the cockpit of one of the Blue Angels? KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman flew in the Number 7 plane with pilot Lt. Tyler Davies, for whom flying was a lifelong dream. “My dad took me to an air show when I […]

  • News

    Youth volunteers paint mural on Wasilla tunnel to cover graffiti

    by Shannon Ballard on Jul 29, 19:24

    For years the Newcomb Park tunnel, just south of the Parks Highway in Wasilla, has been the target of vandals. The city has tried to clean up the graffiti plagued walls numerous times, but nothing seems to keep people from leaving their mark. Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle says he’s taking a new, more colorful approach. […]

  • Lifestyle

    How to reverse the health risks of sitting all day

    by CBS News on Jul 29, 17:35

    Sitting too much can take a serious toll on your health, even raise your risk of early death. But if you’re stuck in your chair at a desk job all day, don’t despair — a new study suggests there is something you can do to reverse the damage. It comes down to fitting in an hour of […]