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Great Public Schools Criteria for Alaska

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Alaska.

Readiness to Learn

Full-day Kindergarten:

Alaska does not have a program that directly addresses the needs of pre-schools kids. What the state has is a federally funded nutrition assistance program that provides healthy meals and snacks to 2.5 million young children each day in day care settings. This nutrition program is administered through Alaska's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).


Alaska does not reward nor sanction districts on the basis of performance.

The state does not reward, but it sanctions schools on the basis of performance. State sanctions require that schools create and implement a plan for improvement. School sanctions based on performance started in August 2002. Districts must create a restructuring plan for any Alaskan schools that fail to meet the state's AYP requirements for five consecutive years. Failure by the school to make AYP again would enable the district to implement the restructuring plan at the beginning of the school year following the creation of the plan. This policy was enacted because of NCLB and is directly related to NCLB's AYP timeline.
[4 AAC 06.870]

Parental Involvement

Any school in the state of Alaska that does not make adequate yearly progress is required to develop and submit to its district a school improvement plan that includes strategies to promote effective parental involvement in the school (Alaska Admin. Code tit. 4 § 06.845). Enacted 2003.  School districts are required to submit district improvement plans to the state department of education as well as to develop plans that include strategies to promote effective parental involvement in the school
(Alaska Admin. Code tit. 4 § 06.850). Enacted 2003.

Also, districts must annually file with the department of education, and make available to the public, a report that establishes district goals and priorities for improving education in the district. The report must include a plan for achieving district goals and priorities and a means of measuring the achievement of district goals and priorities. Districts must make efforts to encourage students, parents, teachers and other members of the community to participate in the preparation of the report. The report must include a description – including quantitative and qualitative measures – of student, community, business and parental involvement in student learning
(Alaska Stat. § 14.03.120). Enacted 1990. Amended 2004.

Recruitment and Retention

Alaska has state policies supporting the Teacher Education Loan Program that provides incentives to rural high schools graduates who intend to pursue teaching careers in rural elementary and secondary schools in the state.  Also, there are policies that support hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, alternative teacher preparation programs as well as programs for minority teacher recruitment.

State-supported Recruitment Initiatives: The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development does not hire or provide a placement service but allows all hiring to be done at the local school district level.

Statewide Teacher Recruitment Policies - Financial Incentives:  Alaska offers loan and loan forgiveness programs as well as housing support for teacher candidates.

For Hard-to-Staff Schools or Subject Areas: Regional school boards may provide rental housing to teachers or contract with local individuals to lease housing for teachers. Also, regional school boards are required to provide teachers with information relating to the cost and availability of housing in rural area where they are assigned and assist them in locating housing.
 AS § 14.08.101 (9) - Powers.
 AS § 14.08.111 (10) - Duties.

For Minority Teachers: Alaska offers a Teacher Education Loan Program that encourages rural high school graduates to return to rural high schools as teachers. 
AS § 14.43.600

For Paraprofessional/Teaching Assistants to Become Certified Teachers: A Limited Type I certificate is available for instructional aides and is designed to assist them in completing requirements for teacher's certification. 
4 AAC 12.375.
EED Teacher Certification

Out-of-Field Teaching Policies: The state department is required to provide the legislature with an annual report listing the number of teachers who are teaching outside of their certification areas. 
AS § 14.03.078

Classroom Discipline Policies: School personnel responsible for students is not liable for civil damage resulting from an act of omission arising out of enforcement of an approved school disciplinary and safety program and arising out of and in the course of employment unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct.
AS §14.33.140

Use of Time in School Day: Each governing body shall allow its teachers a daily duty-free mealtime of at least 30 minutes during the middle of the teacher's workday.
 AS § 14.20.097

Requirements for Tenure: A teacher reacquires tenure rights in a district when the teacher possesses a valid teacher certificate and receives, in the third year of any three-year period of continuous employment with the district, an evaluation stating that the teacher’s performance meets the district performance standards.
AS § 14.20.150 
4 AAC 18.900

Rights of Tenure: A teacher who has acquired tenure rights has the right to employment within the district during continuous service and may agree to a new contract at any time. A teacher, including a teacher who has acquired tenure rights, may be dismissed at any time for incompetence, immorality, and substantial noncompliance with the school laws of the state, the regulations or bylaws of the department, the bylaws of the district, or the written rules of the superintendent. 
AS § 14.20.155, .160, .165, .170 and .175

State Retirement Policies: Certified full or part-time elementary or secondary teachers, certified school nurses or persons certified in a position requiring a teaching certificate as a condition of employment in a public school of the state or I the department of Education and Early Development are eligible for membership in the Teachers' Retirement System.
 AS §§ 14.25.050, .055, .060 through .065, .143, .150, and .220 - Teacher's Retirement.
TRS Retirement and Benefits  

Statewide Pension Policies: If a member meets retirement eligibility based on age and was first hired in a TRS-covered position before July 1, 1990, that member can retire with an early reduced benefit at age 50.  If a member were first hired in a TRS-covered position after June 30, 1990, that member can retire with an early reduced benefit at age 55. The benefit amount depends on the option elected at retirement.
AS § 14.25 - Teacher's Retirement.  
TRS Questions and Answers - Teacher's Retirement System.

Teacher Recognition Programs and Policies: The Alaska Teacher of the Year and the Milken Family Foundation Program awards are available. 
EED Teacher Recognition Programs

Sabbatical Policies: A teacher who has rendered active service for seven or more years in a district is eligible for sabbatical leave.  Sabbatical leave may be taken for educational purposes only, and not for more than one school year.
 AS § 14.20.280

Teacher Exchange Opportunities: The exchange of teachers is for a period of one year only, and all teachers must have taught successfully for a period of five years in the state, the last three years of which must be in the position they are holding at the time of their application for exchange. Exchange teaching in another state or in a territory or in a foreign country will be acceptable as Alaska experience for not exceed a one-year's experience credit, provided that the experience is in a public school and provided that the teacher has gone directly from an Alaska position to the exchange position.
 4 AAC 30.010

License Reciprocity with Other States: Alaska accepts teachers licensed in other states to teach in the state if they have received at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education; if they hold a valid teacher certificate issued by another state; if they have submitted fingerprints to be used for a criminal history background check; and if they have paid the required fee.
 AS § 14.20.015

Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: The department issues preliminary teacher certificates to out-of-state teachers who have received at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, who hold a valid teacher certificate issued by another state, who have submitted fingerprints to be used for a criminal history background check, and who have paid the required fee. 
AS § 14.20.015