Location Recommendations?

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Location Recommendations?

Postby dkmullins » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:56 pm

My wife and I have been talking this evening about the whole "location, location, location" after the live chat today (Thanks John for getting that put together, it was time well spent!).
I have been teaching middle school math/science for the last 6 years (I am K-8 certified) and she is just finishing up her student teaching with a K-8 certificate with a literacy/reading specialist endorsement.
We are both VERY excited about starting this next phase of our lives, but we are buried with the task of even knowing where to start, thus this post.

So what are we looking for? Well, we like the older elementary kids (4+) and middle school. We originally were only looking at the Anchorage type areas, but the little digging we have successfully done has helped us realize that we are a little more open than we thought! Based on the chat today, the idea of living in a "regional hub" has been added to our plate. Honestly, the biggest reason is neither of us are big into cooking, we'd much rather support the local community by eating out! :P Neither of us are into severe cold weather (In Idaho, anything below -10 would be considered a death wish haha) so we are avoiding the northern areas. We keep looking at maps and district web sites, but it doesn't seem to be doing the trick in helping us narrow our search.

Any help or advice would be amazing! If you need more details, please let us know. We just want to find a good new home where we can make a difference in the lives of the students!
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Re: Location Recommendations?

Postby BermudaKristi » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:26 am

Hi! I think it's really a personal decision that requires a lot of research:) I personally started with a table of all the districts and the included the things I found most important to me (bringing my pups and their well being is honestly the top priority in my table). I scoured the details of the negotiated agreements, googled a lot on the locations I didn't know about, read blogs (both good and bad- but you have to read with a filter of what/how it could be different for you). Once, I had the areas I am heavily applying to- I read the school board past meeting minutes and agendas (seriously for the past years!)- those meetings really helped me to understand the priorities and values of each different district. So, that helped to see which districts I felt I should apply to!

Besides location (you can look into climate and such)- and each village has it's wiki page to find the basics of details, I would recommend to NOT look at salary first and make it your base. You can really miss out on some amazing areas (and those little contract details that can make/break you) in your research :) But, even with all the research, when I arrive in Anchorage for fair next month I'm still open to other little area gems I may have missed!

That's just my suggestions! I've lived in Alaska, so that influenced my decisions as well :) I'm just finally returning home!
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Re: Location Recommendations?

Postby Transplant2AK » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:47 pm

My wife and I have been looking at Alaska for about four years, but we only just started applying as a teaching couple for the first time this year. We're sort of in the opposite camp as you, where we would really like to work in a small village in a K-12 setting. We're into "roughing it" so some of the more remote districts are really appealing to us.

We aren't experts on the process, but we have been primarily applying to districts that have openings which would fit both of our professional backgrounds. Beyond that, researching individual districts can provide quite a bit of information. A lot of the districts in Alaska have a significant online presence, both on their websites, on individual teacher blogs, other forums, and even Alaska DOE reports. If you find a district that has the sort of position(s) you're interested in, start Googling them and you might be surprised about how much information you can find. From there, you've just got to figure out if the information was compelling or not.

Best of luck!
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