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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Lessons Taught, Lessons Learned Vol. I


It is with great pleasure that we present this compilation of writing by rural Alaskan teachers. These writings were developed by teachers who attended the first Rural Alaska Instructional Improvement Academy, which was held on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus from May 25 to June 5, 1987.

The Academy was sponsored by the Alaska Department of Education (Chapter I, Chapter II Block Grants, Educational Equity, Bilingual Education, Title II Math/Science); the University of Alaska Fairbanks; NEA-Alaska; the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and sixteen rural school districts (Alaska Gateway, Bering Strait, Galena, Iditarod, Kenai, Kuspuk, Lake and Peninsula, Lower Kuskokwim, Lower Yukon, North Slope, Northwest Arctic, St. Mary's, Tanana, Yukon flats, Yukon-Koyukuk, and Yupiit). Most of all we would like to express our appreciation to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Council of Chief State School Officers for a grant that provided a major part of the funding for the Academy and this publication. We would particularly like to thank Rebecca Yount, our project officer, for her support. We would also like to acknowledge Helen Barrett of the Fairbanks North Star School District for all that she did to help ensure the program's success.

We are pleased to report that the Rural Alaska Instructional Improvement Academy has become an annual event. The Academy received a national award from the National Rural Education Association as well.

We would like to thank a group of student artists from McQueen School in Kivalina, Northwest Artic School District, for sharing their artwork with us. You'll find their work interspersed in the pages of this publication. Their names and the titles of their pieces are listed on the final page of this document.


J. Kelly Tonsmeire, Editor 

Alaska Department of Education



J. Kelly Tonsmiere


Ray Barnhardt

Section I

Some Thoughts on Village Schooling
"Appropriate Schools in Rural Alaska"
Todd Bergman, New Stuyahok

"Learning Through Experience"
Judy Hoeldt, Kaltag

"The Medium Is The Message For Village Schools"
Steve Byrd, Wainwright

"Multiple Intelligences: A Community Learning Campaign"
Raymond Stein, Sitka

"Obstacles To A Community-Based Curriculum"
Jim Vait, Eek

"Building the Dream House"
Mary Moses-Marks, McGrath

"Community Participation in Rural Education"
George Olana, Shishmaref

"Secondary Education in Rural Alaska"
Pennee Reinhart, Kiana

"Reflections on Teaching in the Kuskokwim Delta"
Christine Anderson, Kasigluk

"Some Thoughts on Curriculum"
Marilyn Harmon, Kotzebue

Section II

Some Suggestions for the Curriculum
"Rabbit Snaring and Language Arts"
Judy Hoeldt, Kaltag

"A Senior Research Project for Rural High Schools"
Dave Ringle, St. Mary's

"Curriculum Projects for the Pacific Region,"
Roberta Hogue Davis, College

"Resources for Exploring Japan's Cultural Heritage"
Raymond Stein, Sitka

"Alaskans Experience Japanese Culture Through Music"
Rosemary Branham, Kenai

Section III

Some Alternative Perspectives
"The Axe Handle Academy: A Proposal for a Bioregional, Thematic Humanities Education"
Ron and Suzanne Scollon

"Culture, Community and the Curriculum"
Ray Barnhardt

"The Development of an Integrated Bilingual and Cross-Cultural Curriculum in an Arctic School District"
Helen Roberts

"Weaving Curriculum Webs: The Structure of Nonlinear Curriculum"
Rebecca Corwin, George E. Hem and Diane Levin

Artists' Credits



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, educational institution, and provider is a part of the University of Alaska system. Learn more about UA's notice of nondiscrimination.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 14, 2006