Recognizing Excellence in Teaching: 2021 Award Recipients Announced

Education Committee October Update 

During the month of October, the Alaska Black Caucus Education Committee continued to  strategize ways to conduct youth outreach and condemn the acts of bullying occurring during the  Municipality of Anchorage Assembly meetings. The top priorities continue to be the enforcement of the  Anti-Racism & Instructional Equity Policies, recruitment & retainment of Teachers of Color,  reinforcement of equity in curriculum & opportunity. All the while, the committee fights to hold the  health & safety of our students, parents, and community above all. These goals were accomplished  through communication with youth in the ASD, testifying at Municipality of Anchorage Assembly  meetings, and encouraging the voices of our community to be present at Anchorage School District  Board meetings.  

Several members of the Education Committee had the wonderful opportunity to participate in both the Bettye Davis 2021 Youth Leadership Summit and the Bettye Davis African American COVID-19 Summit. The ABC Education Committee awarded Ms. Rhiana Gay the 2021 Black Teacher of Excellence Award and Ms Angela Hunter the 2021 Black Teaching Assistant of Excellence Award. These awards recognized the extraordinary presence and mentorship that these two individuals provide in the field of  education.  

The Bettye Davis 2021 Youth Leadership Summit especially strengthened the tie the Education  Committee has with the Anchorage School Board, with our members working alongside the talented Margo Bellamy. There is a need, especially with the recent increase in ASD racial bullying and  administration mismanagement, to advance the Committee goal of ensuring a safe educational setting  for all children. The Education Committee continues to push the needle on forging bonds with community organizations and youth leaders so that we can fight to hold the administration accountable.  The subcommittees of the Education Committee also played a unique role in these events and will be  further described below. 

On the same thread of creating new ways to empower the community, several of the Education Committee members worked on reaching out to find mentors for students in the ASD. As this goal is continued into the month of November, there is hope that increased sustainability in interpersonal  interactions can be created. On October 3rd, the Education Committee hosted the Community Conversations Event: Student and Parent Voices Addressing Racism. Viewers had the amazing  opportunity to hear from families in the ASD, beginning to brainstorm ways to support and empower  BIPOC families in our local community. Panelists shared their lived experiences on what it was like to be a teenager during the first year of the historic COVID-19 pandemic. 

Continuing forward, the Education Committee and subcommittees will look for further ways to  have youth come to speak at Community Conversations events and ASD School Board meetings,  elevating their voices and building a sense of confidence. November holds great promise for exciting growth on both an organizational and local scale! 

Research and Planning Subcommittee 

The Research and Planning Subcommittee embarked on several ongoing commitments this  October, especially centered around youth development. To prepare for the Bettye Davis 2021 Youth Leadership Summit, committee members helped community youth and their families prepare reflection pieces on life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, subcommittee meetings have been centered around giving platforms for students from Begich Middle School, Bettye Davis East High School, and Colony High School. The Research and Planning Subcommittee has been diligent in reaching out to Anchorage-based families and students and will continue to conduct further outreach in the coming  months. 

BIPOC Parent Voices Subcommittee 

The BIPOC Parent Voices Subcommittee continues to work towards a goal of sharing the lived  experiences of BIPOC families and students in the ASD, taking an individual coaching approach to  communication. Tools and other resources are given to interested community members, so that they  can mold themselves, with subcommittee support, into strong advocates who can enact a powerful  impact on administration. This subcommittee will be collaborating with other local organizations, such  as United Way of Anchorage. Guest speakers will be invited to biweekly meetings to run workshops on  how to form an impactful testimony, striving for tangible change on both an administrative and personal  level.