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Murkowski Showcasing Education Innovation at AFN Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski announced today that she will be holding a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at this week’s AFN convention to explore success stories being seen in classrooms statewide.  Teachers, school systems, and Native organizations are trying bold new culturally-relevant approaches in building stronger foundations of knowledge for Alaska Native children. Murkowski’s hearing will be live-streamed on the Internet and available for all Alaskans to watch as the event happens.

“So much of what we hear about education is doom and gloom, and we rightfully focus on the shortcomings to fix them – but we need to acknowledge that there are teachers, communities, Native organizations and school boards accomplishing great things right now by thinking outside the box,” said Senator Murkowski.  “It’s important to showcase these success stories, as an opportunity to get conversations started and inspire others to take a fresh look at education.”

Senator Murkowski has invited several Alaskans involved in education to come and share their successes:

  • Rosita Worl, President of Sealaska Heritage Institute;
  • Chris Simon, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development;
  • Peggy Cowan, Superintendent of the North Slope Borough School District;
  • Sonta Hamilton Roach, a teacher at Innoko River School in Shageluk;
  • Doreen Brown, Anchorage School District Supervisor of Title VII Indian Education;
  • Carl Rose, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska School Boards;
  • Each guest has also been invited to share concrete examples from students.

The hearing will feature discussions on the increased cooperation between schools and Native organizations, changes being made possible by school boards within their districts, and the uniquely-Alaskan curriculum being used by the North Slope Borough School District, like:

  • Substituting stories of local Elders for lessons in language arts textbooks;
  • Middle school science labs on density where students measure the difference when putting whale meat or whale fat in a beaker of water;
  • An algebra one lesson using a formula for a body going up and down on a blanket toss;
  • An algebra two lesson using the arched trajectory of a harpoon.

WHAT:          U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Field Hearing

Roundtable Discussion: BEST – Building Educational Success Together

WHEN:          Friday, October 19, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:        The K'enakatnu (Knik) Executive Boardroom - Second Level

Dena’ina Center, Anchorage, AK

WATCH:       There will be a link to watch the hearing live at http://Murkowski.Senate.Gov

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