ALASKA WEEK OF CODE December 4th – 8th

AK week of code

What is coding?

Simply put, ‘coding’ is giving instructions to computers to do something. It is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your internet browser, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website – they’re all made with code, by people who code.

Why learn coding?

Computer science informs almost every aspect of our lives, from communications to shopping to national security and government.  Coding is the basic foundation of computer science, and an area that every public school can benefit from teaching.  And the best thing is that ANYONE can learn to code.

Learn from the Experts

How to participate in The Alaska Week of Code

Our goal is simple: Introduce more Alaskan students to coding! Check out the following links for fast and easy ways to get you or your students coding today:

Going beyond The Alaska Week of Code

Register your school’s participation!  Let’s fill up the Alaska map!

Show your work!

Let us know on social media how your class, school, district is participating with the hashtags #AlaskaWeekOfCode and #aklearns.

2016 – 2017 Common Quarterly Writing Assessment/Narrative Q1


2016 Common Quarterly Narrative Writing Prompts, Rubrics, and Directions have been updated.

Quarter 1 Narrative Common Assessments

Please check to be sure you have the most recent rubrics and prompts.  Note: Some prompts have remained the same and others have changed. There are some grade levels that overlap – for example, Grade 6 teachers may choose the elementary prompt or the middle school prompt. Please choose the best prompt for your students and collaboration teams.

The Middle School ELA CQA Committee met, and since the AMP is no longer, the committee decided to reinstate the Narrative Writing Prompt for first Quarter! Please note this change.  The grade 7 and 8 grade Narrative Rubric has been added to the Quarter 1.

The ELA Writing Committee encourages all teachers to use the standard-reference rubrics throughout the school year, not just for the common assessments.

Click here for Quarter 1 Scoring Guides

If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Linton at ext. 8861


CQA K-8 Math Assessments discontinued


Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year!   After reviewing assessment calendars and requirements for students, the district instructional team decided that administering KPBSD Common Quarterly Math Assessments in grades K-8 were no longer a requirement.  We encourage teachers to work at the school level to develop common assessments that meet the needs of your students and your PLC goals.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Linton at x8861.

Common Quarterly Math Assessment Memo

New Mandatory Training Process


Welcome to the 2016-17 school year!  The following message was sent via district email to every employee on July 12, 2016.  As issues arise and are addressed, any important updates will be added and communicated via this Instructional Blog.


Effective July 1st, 2016, Catalog/Canvas will be the mandatory training management system used by all KPBSD employees.   Last Spring, all employees should have viewed the Catalog Training Video for KPBSD Employees or the Catalog Training Video for Certified Employees and worked through the practice activities.  Both videos are accessible on the KPBSD Shared Drive < Districtwide Staff Shared < Catalog Training Videos.

At the start of your new work year, you’ll need to enroll in the applicable Mandatory Training Bundle and work through your trainings.  Feel free to review either of the above videos as needed to help you through this process.  Time will be provided at your site to work through these required trainings in time for completion by Sept. 1, just as the time has been provided for whole group training in the past.  The attached PDF, Enrolling into a Mandatory Training Bundle provides the specific steps to get yourself enrolled.

The following training bundle options are available:

KPBSD Mandatory Training Bundles

Aide and Tutor District Secretary Pool Staff
Certified Teacher (Kenai and Seward area schools including Moose Pass & Hope) Finance Staff Principal
Certified Teacher (Soldotna/Nikiski area schools including Ninilchik, Tustumena & Cooper Landing) Food Service Pupil Transportation
Certified Teacher (Homer area schools) Guidance Counselor Purchasing
Certified Teacher (Vocational) Homeless Liaison School Psychologist
Coordinators Human Resources School Secretary
Custodian Information Services Superintendent
Director (Instructional) Nursing Staff Theater Staff
Director (Instructional Support) Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapist Warehouse Staff

If you encounter issues that your principal or PD Site Facilitator are not able to help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact Michelle Thomason for assistance via email or at ext. 2366.  While we anticipate a few bumps during this first year of implementation, we expect this process will become streamlined and easier with each successive year, saving the time administrators spent preparing each of these trainings, the time secretaries spent recording these trainings, and the time district office spent monitoring the completion of trainings for each group of employees.  Thanks in advance for your patience and perseverance; we look forward to your feedback being provided through your administrator to help improve this system!

Christine Ermold, Ed.D., Director, Human Resources & Professional Development

5/20/16 Notes

The E.I. Committee met on 5/20/16.  During the meeting, the committee:

  • Analyzed data and survey results from the 2015-16 E.I. process survey.
  • Reviewed feedback from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) regarding the E.I. evaluation system.
  • Reviewed and refined the 2015-16 E.I. process forms.
  • Planned and developed training resources for the 2016-17 E.I. process.

A summary of the committee’s decisions and findings is as follows:

  • Responses to the annual E.I. process survey reflected a 39.5% response rate.
  • More than 90% of respondents indicated they received valuable, sufficient feedback, and indicated that evaluators spent sufficient time in classrooms.
  • New evaluation forms for Counselors were reviewed and approved.
  • Updates to the other E.I. process forms were discussed and approved.  Based on regulatory changes, the sections for reporting on measures of student growth and the overall rating information were eliminated from the forms and processes.  DEED’s review of the E.I. evaluation system revealed that there must be a greater focus on professional goal setting and growth for teachers in relationship to their professional evaluation.  As a result, the topic of identifying a professional goal and calibrating on what achievement of the goal will involve and “look like” was added into the E.I. process.
  • The committee reflected upon the need to refocus training and PD back on the Danielson Framework rubrics to further support the process as a tool for supporting growth in addition to achieving a professional evaluation of practice.
  • The Rediker software pilot will continue in 2016-17 to allow further refinements to the forms and software.
  • Teachscape calibration will continue to be required for new-to-district administrators.  Site calibration visits will also be required for all administrators next year.

The Committee will meet again on September 27, 2016. Questions regarding the information above may be directed to any member of the E.I. Committee or to Christine Ermold, the facilitator of the committee.

Effective Instruction Committee Information: SGMs

The Effective Instruction (EI) Committee met on January 28, 2016 to review the progress of the SGM pilot and discuss the implications of possible regulatory changes related to the December 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Questions regarding the following information may be directed to the facilitator of the EI Committee, Dr. Christine Ermold, or any member of the committee.  Principals have been asked to share the following information with their faculty and organize questions at their site into a single document to help direct the flow of communication through the site administrator.

  • Background: Pending the outcome of the March 2016 State Board of Education & Early Development meeting, 4 AAC 19.010(k) Purpose and Scope of Evaluations may be repealed.  This would remove the state requirement for all educators to pilot a measure of student learning data as part of the evaluation system. As stated in the 1.25.16 State Board packet Agenda Item 3A memo, “It will be necessary for the State Board of Education & Early Development to determine whether or not to maintain the use of student achievement data as part of the educator evaluation process, as well as to maintain or revise other elements of the evaluation process currently required by regulation.  The department recommends a full discussion of possible regulatory revisions as part of … a future board meeting.”
  • Issue: Should the KPBSD continue the pilot of SGM for the 2015-16 school year if the regulatory requirement to do so is repealed?
  • Discussion: Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching and her related research is the foundation upon which the KPBSD Effective Instruction System was built.  The consideration of evidence of student learning is woven throughout the Framework, and the basis for the current Student Growth Map (SGM) can be explicitly found in Components 1F: Designing Student Assessments and   3D: Using Assessment in Instruction.  Evidence of a teacher’s impact on student growth and learning is one piece of the broader picture of teacher effectiveness that the KPBSD values.  The KPBSD Board of Education is required to review and approve any changes to the certified employee evaluation system.  The current evaluation system was presented and approved by the Board on 7/6/15.  Additionally:
    • The original regulation required the use of the state’s approved test as one of multiple measures considered in a teacher’s evaluation.  The future of the state’s assessment, the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) is uncertain.  It was anticipated that eventually, educators would build one of the two to four SGMs off of AMP data.
    • The current format of SGMs has resulted in additional record keeping that has been beneficial for some teachers, redundant for some teachers, and unsuccessful for some teachers.
    • Conversations around the data presented in the SGM has proven to result in a positive change in practice for many principals and teachers.
    • In circumstances that the SGMs were reported to be too difficult or too cumbersome, it appears likely that educators’ developing skill levels with SGMs, and the challenge of determining what amount of growth is appropriate for various students with various measures were the source of the challenges.
    • Additional information is needed from KPBSD teachers after completing the current pilot to determine how best to proceed with including evidence of student learning in the KPBSD’s E.I. Evaluation System.
  • Decision: The E.I. Committee recognizes that KPBSD’s current SGM process has both benefits and drawbacks, and in an effort to continually refine and improve the KPBSD’s E.I. Evaluation System, the SGM pilot will continue this school year regardless of the State Board of Education & Early Development’s decision in March 2016.
    • In an effort to ease the burden of additional meetings and paperwork preparation, and to promote authentic conversations around student data with colleagues, all educators piloting an SGM who are being evaluated on the Standard Evaluation Plan in 15-16 may conduct their mid and end-of-SGM reviews within their collaborative teams.  The completed SGM form does not get submitted to district office; it should be kept onsite by the principal.
    • Only educators piloting an SGM under the Alternate Protocol for Tenured Teachers in 15-16 will continue to review their SGM data with their administrators and submit their final form to district office.
      • Please note that it was the intent of the committee that the reviews of SGM progress should occur during already existing meetings.  Therefore, the reviews with tenured teachers on the Alternate Protocol should occur during regularly occurring calibration meetings or informal observation discussions whenever possible.
  • Future Action: The E.I. Committee will meet again this winter to refine the E.I. Survey that is sent to all certified teachers each spring.  Data from the survey will be used along with any regulatory changes and guidance to make changes to the E.I. Evaluation System for the 16-17 school year and beyond.

Elementary Standards Referenced Reporting Committee

The SRR Committee met on 1/14/16 and saw that while there is still a need to support the growth of our teachers in their ability to understand and use SRR to the fullest benefit of our students, overall, the results show dramatic changes in teacher knowledge and practices.  As has been typical, approximately 33% of elementary teachers responded to the survey.  Among other celebrations, committee members noted that for the first time in our district, almost 95% of responding teachers indicated they “know how to help students use standards-referenced rubrics and scores to advance their learning.”  This reflects huge growth over the last three years, and the committee sincerely appreciates the time and effort everyone has dedicated to learning how to use this approach successfully.  This information, along with a copy of each site’s survey results, were sent to principals in late January, 2016.

Additional important points the Committee wanted to convey to all teachers include:

  • The Standards Referenced Reporting Committee carefully reviewed the survey results from the December 2015 survey, and extends their appreciation to everyone who took the time to respond.
  • With a response rate of 33%, the committee noted that while a quarter of teachers supported adding the science standards to the report card, 20% or less supported adding social studies, health, or fine arts standards.
  • Comments from survey respondents indicated there is still a need for strengthening understanding and use of standards based grading practices across elementary schools in the district, but that overall, teachers indicated they are both confident and skilled in the use of standards and standards referenced reporting.
  • In light of the input provided through the survey, the limited professional development resources likely available with declining budgets, and the other topics demanding the attention of teachers and parents, the committee decided not to add any other standards to the elementary report card or make further modifications to the report card.  We are working on adding the NGSS standards into PowerTeacher so that teachers can attach them to assignments if they wish (but they will not show up on the report card.)  We are also working on adding a summary of science units by grade that teachers could attach as a quarterly comment to the report card, if they wish.
  • The committee did want to make sure that all elementary teachers were aware that a change in the language on the report card (and on all tools in the ‘S’ drive) was implemented near the start of this school year in response to teacher feedback.  Specifically, the language of the 0-4 scale was edited to indicate the score applies to the “expected” or “taught” parts of the standard, rather than “all” of the standard to resolve concerns of teachers that use of the word “all” caused confusion.

The district is also currently developing summary statements of each elementary science unit that will be loaded into PowerTeacher as an option for teachers to use when adding comments on the report card.  Also, as a result of requests from high school science teachers, the Next Generation Science Standards will also be loaded into PowerTeacher so teachers can link standards to assignments or record observations of the standards, if they wish.  It is important that elementary teachers note that the NGSS standards will not show up on the report card, though.  Questions regarding this information may be directed to a site principal, an Effective Instruction coach, or Christine Ermold, Ed.D., Director of Elementary Education and Professional Development.


2015 Quarter 1, Common Quarterly Writing Assessment Prompts and Directions

Please click HERE to view the 2015 Common Quarterly Writing Assessment Prompts, Directions and K-6 Scoring Guides.

Our common writing assessments have changed to an on-demand performance task so that our students can have experiences similar to those they will encounter on the State AMP Assessment.


This information will also be posted to the KPBSD Common Assessment Webpage at:

Please email Melissa Linton if you have questions or need assistance.


Assessment Literacy Course Opportunity

The KPBSD Curriculum and Assessment Department is offering certified teachers the opportunity to participate in a 3 credit graduate course to enhance professional practice in the area of assessment design.  Teachers will learn how the assessment experts from AAI (our AMP developers) create high-quality, standards-based, common assessments.  Teachers are encouraged to work in teams to build our bank of common assessments.  All content areas are invited and teachers should seek approval from their school administrator before applying.

Click HERE for more information or contact Melissa Linton at extension x8861 or email


Think Central – Journey’s Update

Think Central

Think Central ran a content update to their online materials recently, and as a result, some online resources have been moved. For example, the Critical Thinking and Thinking Beyond resources have been moved to the Leveled Reader Teachers Guide.

If you find other variances in the online material, please notify Melissa Linton at

Thank you!