• 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

    Memorial Day a weekend-long affair for Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 19:41

    For members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club, Memorial Day isn’t just a Monday off from work; it’s a weekend-long celebration to remember the fallen. On Sunday, hundreds of bikers from around the state met at Mary’s McKinley View Lodge then road the Parks Highway to the Alaska Veterans Memorial. They’ve been doing the Byers […]

  • Sports

    Sports writer loses job over tweet on Japanese Indy winner

    by Associated Press on May 29, 16:52

    DENVER (AP) – A veteran sports writer is no longer working with The Denver Post after he posted on Twitter that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” Terry Frei sent the tweet after Takuma Sato on Sunday became the first Japanese driver to win the race. […]

  • News

    First cruise ship of the summer docks at Port of Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 16:42

    The first cruise ship to dock at the Port of Anchorage this summer pulled into town early Monday morning. Nearly 1,400 passengers disembarked from Holland America’s ‘Amsterdam’ to check out the sights before an 11 p.m. call to be back on the ship. Julie Saupe, president of Visit Anchorage, said the cruise industry in the […]

  • News

    Volunteers place markers in Anchorage cemetery to honor fallen soldiers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 15:43

    Wenda Sudduth and others from American Legion Post 1 found the going not so easy at Anchorage’s Memorial Park Cemetery. They went on a quest Sunday to pay tribute some of our nation’s most honored dead. They placed religious markers at the grave sites of those who served in the nation’s military. “I come from a […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Denali name should remain

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:58

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the name for America’s tallest mountain should remain Denali. The News-Miner reports that he spoke at the Fairbanks International Airport late Saturday on his way to a Memorial Day ceremony in Denali State Park. The peak was once called Mount McKinley, named after President William McKinley. […]

  • Police: Tiger Woods arrested in Florida for DUI

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:52

    JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods says an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine led to his arrest on a DUI charge in Florida. Woods spent nearly four hours in the Palm Beach County Jail after being arrested early Monday on suspicion of DUI. The 14-time major champion says in a statement that alcohol wasn’t involved. […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Zinke focuses on energy, parks during Alaska visit

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 10:29

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in Alaska for his first visit to the state since his confirmation to the position in March. His first public appearance included a ride to the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial on the George Parks Highway with the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club for their 29th annual Memorial Run. “I think it’s important on […]

  • News

    North Korea launches short-range ballistic missile, U.S. military says

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:06

    North Korea on Sunday launched a short-range ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the launch. This is the ninth missile test North Korea has […]