Posts Tagged ‘Native and Tribal populations’

Getting to Know….Alaska

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more. 

State Name: Alaska

State CTE Director: Deborah Riddle

Before becoming the State CTE Director for Alaska, Deborah Riddle was a teacher. She taught math, Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) and robotics in rural Montana. During her time as a teacher, she worked closely with high school teachers to create alignment between middle school and high school. After receiving an administrative certificate to become a principal, she decided to move back home to Alaska. Deborah became a School Improvement Title I Specialist before beginning her work in Career Technical Education (CTE).

About Alaska:

At the state level, CTE in Alaska is supported by a small but mighty team of five. The work of the state CTE office in Alaska is guided by the state’s commitment to address the education challenges in the state. A few years ago, the State Department of Education brought together a group of over 100 stakeholders, including legislators, educators and business and industry, to examine the educational challenges the state faces. From that gathering, Alaska’s Education Challenge was born. The initiative focuses on three commitments related to enabling student success, promoting the safety and wellbeing of students, and cultivating responsible and reflective learning.

Core to Alaska’s work is promoting access and equity for each learner. Alaska has a robust Native and rural population that can face unique challenges when trying to access high-quality CTE programs. Alaska has leveraged approaches such as virtual learning to meet the needs of learners. Additionally, Alaska has taken a culturally responsive approach to addressing equity and access issues for Native populations.

In the past, Native learners were removed from their communities and sent to boarding schools that failed to serve them equitably. This was done in part because of the lack of opportunities available in Native learners’ communities. Recognizing the importance of allowing Native learners the option to continue to reside in their communities for the majority of their time, Alaska created short-term residencies. During the short-term residencies, Native learners are able to travel to urban areas for short periods of time to participate in programs that require equipment not available in their communities and that allows them to earn credit or certifications. The short-term residencies allow learners to interact with business and industry and gain critical workplace skills.

Looking forward, Alaska plans to continue to focus on advancing equity and access in CTE and ensuring that each learner is on a path to obtain a high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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