Page 1

Alaska ICE News Jan./Feb. 2012 Volume 7, Issue 1 Alaska ICE is the Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement, a statewide initiative of the Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB). Community Engagement is the intentional action of groups and individuals working together to create healthy environments that support the growth and education of children and youth.

Apply for a Youth-led Service Project In 2012, Alaska ICE is offering $500 cash awards for projects that involve youth-adult partnerships that plan and carry out communitybased service activities. Have an idea for a project in your community? If so, apply. If not, contact us for ideas. For an application, go to or contact Bridget Smith at (907) 463-1660.

Helping Kids Succeed Alaskan-Style!

Research-based music program provides brain training for students Compiled from conversations with Lorrie Heagy, Glacier Valley Elementary music teacher and Abreu Fellow 2010 AASB has supported Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) at Glacier Valley Elementary School (GVES) since late 2010. AASB supports the work of JAMM because it addresses goals aligned with AASB priorities: • Investing in early learning and school readiness skills, • Developing social-emotional learning, • Improving school climate and student and family con- nections to school, • Engaging communities and parents, and • Providing access to quality programs for all children. Even though JAMM is a highly unusual program among public schools, it is firmly grounded in research recognized by the scientific community, dispelling the notion that music is an “extra” or just fluff. Instead, music serves as a foundation for developing school readiness skills, social-emotional learning and working memory.

A video overview of the JAMM program can be seen here: The quote below provides an example of why GVES provides violin instruction for all of its kindergartners and 1st graders. According to the August 2011 Scientific American article, “How to Build a Better Learner,” playing an instrument is “the best brain training” you can give children to help with “language comprehension and promote cognitive skills: attention, working memory and self-regulation.”

> Continued on Page 2

School climate data valuable to districts On the subject of educating our children and youth, the bottom line is continuous school improvement. A shared goal for all 53 school districts around the state, school improvement – in the form of academic improvement, fewer behavioral issues, better prepared graduates, and other positive results is crucial to progress and overall success. One research-based answer to achieving these outcomes: school climate. AASB’s School Climate and Connectedness Survey (SCCS) is in its sixth year and districts from across the state are accumulating and using the data to their benefit, finding bright spots and identifying areas in need of improvement. To date, over 90% (47) of Alaska’s 53 districts have taken the survey at least once. How can the survey benefit your district? Here are some examples from a few participating districts. AASB staff have led consensus workshops with school staff and community members in many districts, facilitating probing conversations of significant issues that lead to action steps.

A district in southeast chose peer climate as a focus for the year, making an action plan where all staff members would make themselves present in the school hallways between classes to greet students and spot any potential problems. This ‘picket fence’ model improved the overall climate in district schools. In one southcentral district student engagement and bullying were chosen as priority areas. Staff worked closely with students in both efforts that included writing

> Continued on Page 2

Alaska ICE News

Page 2 of 2

JAMM program - continued from page 1 Kindergarten Benchmark Progress

Tune in to KTD radio Kids These Days shows focus on a statewide audience and can be found on seven stations around Alaska. KHNS Haines/Skagway/Klukwan Wed. @ 10am KCUK Chevak Friday @3:15pm KTOO Juneau Sat. @ 3pm KDLG Dillingham Wed. @ 10am KMXT Kodiak Sunday @ 9am KSKA Anchorage Tues. @ 2 & 7pm KRUA Anchorage Thursday @ 12pm Work / Family Balance (Jan. 30) Juvenile Justice in AK (Feb. 6) Early Infant Development (Feb. 20) Let us share the good news from your community with others! Send photos, stories, or event-listings to include in our newsletter and on our website.

Glacier Valley

District Avg.

Heagy credits GVES and the Juneau community for providing music - “the best brain training” - as a core part of their public education. Most GVES families could not afford violin lessons outside of school. JAMM’s in-school model provides access to ALL K-1 students at a fraction of the cost. Expanding JAMM Sustainably

Visiting Abreu Fellows collected testimony from JAMM students, parents and staff. ( on JAMM’s in-school model. Visit Lorrie Heagy’s JAMM blog for research, videos, resources and program updates here:

JAMM is spreading. At the local level, Riverbend Elementary School, another Title I school in Juneau, plans to start a violin program for their kindergartners next year. And nationally, El Sistema Colorado is basing its first program at Garden Place Elementary School in Denver

School climate in districts - continued from page 1 assignments on staying in school, defining and surveying students on bullying, and follow-through from all parties. District staff in a western Alaska community produced and aired radio spots covering various topics of the SCCS such as community support, drug and alcohol use, and parent and community involvement to spread the message of caring for and supporting youth. In 2011, school climate surveys were completed by almost 22,500 students and 5,000 school staff members in 250 schools from 26 Alaska school districts. The online 2012 SCCS opened to 28 districts January 16 and runs through March 30. We are encouraged by

participants’ use of the data in annual school improvement efforts and eager to facilitate discussion and planning with districts and schools this coming year. Providing safe and supportive environments and promoting connections for our children and youth nurtures their growth and the SCCS is a proven method for fostering postive outcomes. The complete 2011 statewide SCCS results are now available online at We will summarize the findings in a future issue of ICE News. For more information, contact Lori Klein at (907) 4631660 or

ICE News - Jan/Feb 2012  

ICE newsletter

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you